Many of you are probably too young to remember Bruce Lee’s 1972 film, Fist of Fury. But I grew up watching all of Bruce Lee’s movies because he was an inspiration to all Asians living with prejudice in America. It was a childhood dream to beat up on anybody who picked on me. The infamous “nose flick” and motioning with the hands to come and fight were signature marks of Bruce Lee. It was truly a classic. I remember mimicking that move many times.
As I got older, I realized that you cannot simply beat up on people just because they are picking on you (please don’t get me wrong… I think we need to learn how to stick up for ourselves). But more than using the fist, the key was learning how to use your mind and your conflict resolution skills. One passage that would always bother me in the Bible was when Jesus said, “But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also” (Mt 5:39).
This verse haunts me and still bothers me. I just found out that a bully at Elliot’s school pushed him and hit him in the eye. As Christina was sharing this over the phone, I was going to get on the next flight to Ann Arbor and find this guy and his parents and I was going to… (man, it is hard being a Christian sometimes). I had a talk with Elliot. It was a difficult talk to say the least. But I reminded him of defending himself and also learning how to love people and to pray for those who hurt you.
Christina found out from another parent that this bully has been beating up on other kids in the class as well. But then she told me that he comes from a difficult home situation. I still could not excuse this kid but it helped me to see the importance of having good influences in your life. Slowly, my fist of fury turned into a fist of mercy and grace. I ended up praying for this kid and his family.
God used this incident to remind me of three lessons:
1) People will always hurt you, but the way you respond to them will either reveal Christ or your flesh.
2) People who end up hurting others are usually the ones that have been hurt before by someone else. It truly is a vicious cycle and it has to be broken.
3) Just as I was passionate about Elliot and not wanting anything to harm him, Christ is passionate about us. Especially, when we are getting a beating from Satan. God does not just idly stand by… He fights for us.