“Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen.” – Winston Churchill
I’ve learned that being the bigger man almost always means being the smaller man.
Culture says that manliness = bravado. Never back down, never surrender. Win at all cost. Get even. Give them a piece of your mind. Have the last laugh.
But son, true strength is not shown in domination, destruction, power, or supremacy. I’m reminded of this in the movie 42 when Jackie Robinson asks Brach Rickey, “You want a player who doesn’t have the guts to fight back?” and Rickey responds, “No. I want a player who’s got the guts not to fight back.”
Though this kind of strength often looks like weakness, it contains the secret power of restoration, healing, and change. This kind of strength has the power to bury cycles of revenge that might otherwise go on forever.
When it comes to unproductive arguments and destructive competitions, this means raising the white flag. When it comes to foolish feuds at school, in the workplace, at church, and at home, this means apologizing in order to restore relationships. When it comes to battles of pride and ego, it means humbling yourself to step out of the ring.
When being the bigger man feels impossible, remember that true strength is having the power to call twelve legions of angels to your side, but instead staying quiet while the proud line up and spit in your face one at a time. Remember, too, that this kind of death contains resurrection power.
Live in this strength and you’ll know the power of Jesus, the biggest smallest man who ever lived.