I was very disturbed when I picked up the newspaper the other day with the picture of Tyson and Seldon in the ring. Tyson knocked out Seldon after just 109 seconds from when the fight began. According to the news, the people in the stadium were screaming, “Fixed! Fixed!” As Seldon exited, they accompanied him with resounding “Boos.” Poor Seldon. He was physically or technically knocked out, and the crowd, it seemed, was making sure that his ego was just as plastered.
It is disgusting to think that while there are so many groups fighting for human rights and there are thousands, maybe even hundreds of thousands, cases in the courts pending resolution for cases of violence of all forms yet, here we have millions of dollars invested in a sport that entails two grown, very fit and strong men trying to outdo each other and punching each other to death if need be. This fight is telecast all over the world. People actually pay good money; advertisers grab slots to this show just so they are assured of wide exposure for their products. So many people watch this phenomenon.
Imagine two men bang each other to a state of disability for all the world to see who is the strongest one, the one with greater stamina or guts, or anything else that will prove machismo. Isn’t that a little primitive? Or is it barbaric? Isn’t that so base?
For some peculiar reason, we seem to enjoy watching fights. Little boys are fascinated by how spiders try to trap each other to death with their intricate webs. Then bets are placed in small denominations. Then the little boys grow up to be big boys, and they shift to fighting cocks with big money at stake. Even the seemingly innocent game that is famous among children, which is: trying to target house lizards or “butiki” has for its objective showing who is the strongest and the best at the lizard’s expense. The object of the game is the child who throws the least number of paper pellets or pebbles at bull’s eye level wins. What did the lizard do to deserve this kind of treatment? Why must we make the lizard or anything else suffer so we can enjoy ourselves, laugh, or get rich in the process? Why must people often prove their strength or greatness at someone’s expense? Why must there be losers for others to emerge as winners?
Can’t we all be winners? In our conversations, can we not find the positive in people and talk about this rather Than discuss someone else’s mistakes, faults, and failures most of the time? Do we have to see someone hurt and suffer from such a stripped persona to prove that we are better, stronger, and correct? Must we insist on dragging down someone who is obviously already hurt from a mistake they committed? Why do we like to watch bloodshed? Why do we go and buy tickets to see a violent movie? Why can’t more movies with good moral values or significant human experiences that are devoid of sex and violence ever become box-office hits?
Everyday, we tell our arguing, hair-pulling children to stop fighting. Yet they see us watch violence in the movies we watch at home or in the movie houses. They see us glued to our IV screens when boxing bouts are on. They hear us enumerate the annoying things or the abuses of the neighbor again.
We might even be quick to say: “That is different!” Is it really? Does it not all boil down to the same thing: I must destroy to prove my worth, my strength?
Who still believes in strength lying in gentleness? What child will listen to you when you say to him: “Don’t hit back. Jesus never did. Do not own guns. Jesus never did.” How will the child laugh interiorly at anyone who said this? Nobody will want to take punches without punching back. And if we are smart, we must punch the opponent ’til he runs away or gives up. The hero is the one who stays standing and is hardly bruised after the fight. The fight’s winner and many others will cheer the winner on while the other party, the apparent loser, crawls out in shame With possibly an ego scarred for life. And a desire for vengeance that could even be more deadly.
Where, then, does the great fool Jesus Christ fit in? He was fool enough to take all the blows without complaint. He is the one who was spat at, stripped naked, scourged, and finally nailed to the cross so that we will see precisely how ugly sin is. Looking at Jesus on the cross is more than enough proof that violence is to be abhorred and shunned. All the way though, He had nothing but compassion for His persecutors. All the way till the end, He spoke gently of forgiveness and love. If He is really our hero, is it not His example that we are to follow? Is it not His gentle compassion that we have to emulate?
When will we stop getting in that boxing arena and pulling all the punches at a hurt opponent? All of us are hurt and hurting creatures precisely because of all the boxing bouts we have fought. When will we stop taking delight in someone else’s problem or misery and participate in it as we would be in a cockfight? When will we stop blaming others for sins in this world? When will we stop throwing the punches or just being there to cheer for the boxers?
There is but one solution: the evil has to die in us, in each of us. If each of us held our tongue when something wrong was said about another, then that punch would not be thrown. If we walk away when gossip begins, that is walking away from the cockfight. If we could do all this, then our children would believe us when we cry out, “Stop fighting!”
More and more people should be totally knocked out and floored by extreme kindness, patience, and tolerance. The good that we do should momentarily paralyze others with awe. When they get up from the floor, they can not help but exclaim, “I have never known a man so strong in his gentleness. If he can do it, so can I!”
I’ll bet on that!
Jesus Our Light