Monday, November 18, 2013

A Warrior's Code

A perfect description of chivalrous behavior is found in Malory’s Le Morte D’Arthur where Sir Ector describes Lancelot, who has just died, as “a man meek in the hall with women and as the sternest of knights in battle.”  He was both humble and fierce—and he knew when to be which.  Blending and integrating strength and honor, a warrior’s spirit with humility, was the Code that governed the Knight’s behavior on the battlefield and “in the hall with women.”

--From my book, Legendary Leadership

When I was in Junior High school, if two boys got into a fight, they’d be sent to Coach Reams who would lay down a mat, put 16 oz gloves on them and tell them to have at it. After around 3 minutes, the boys found it difficult to even raise their hands above their waists. And, wouldn’t you know it, after knocking each other around for a few minutes, they always became fast friends. This was how we handled “conflict resolution,” back in the day. Today, such boys would be force fed Adderall.

My dad, a Baptist minister, told me if some asinine imbecile (one of his favorite phrases) started bullying and taunting me, I was to wait for him after school, walk up to him and demand he back off. If he chose to keep at it, I was to hit him as hard as I could in the solar plexus, then a forearm to the nose—and he would stand with me, if I got into trouble. “Even if you get your butt kicked, you will keep your self-respect and earn the respect of others. If you start a fight, you’ll answer to me. If some guy starts a fight with you and you don’t fight back, you will also answer to me.” The second, “you’ll answer to me,” sounded more ominous than the prospect of being whacked upside the head in a fight. Dad was true to his word and always backed me up.  

Most of the guys I grew up with were budding young warriors who needed to be taught how to be “meek in the Hall.” Today, however, it seems to me that many “boys” need to learn how to be warriors. Even their “meekness” or “humility” is actually a mask hiding a plethora of fears: fear of inadequacy, fear of the politically-correct police and the opinion of others in general, fear of getting their noses bloodied, fear of failure, and fear of taking a stand, alone. I find myself constantly wanting to grab these “boys” by the shoulders and yell at them: MAN UP!  

Our nation is engaged in life-and-death battles over cultural issues that are evidences of deeper spiritual conflicts. Our enemies are fighting to win—that’s what true warriors do. These battles in the Arena of Ideas and Ideals are not going to be won by men and women who think meekness requires that they compromise their beliefs, principles, values, and honor, and surrender the Arena to the enemy. The US Marine motto “Semper Fidelis,” (Always Faithful) is the mindset that leads to victory, not “Please, like me.”

Meekness is a warrior’s spirit governed and informed by love for God and humility before Him. Moses was referred to as the meekest man on earth. Do you think an invertebrate could have led over one million Israelites (600,000 men) across the desert to the Promise Land, a 40-year journey? And never forget that “meek and mild” Jesus took up a whip and chased the moneychangers out of the Temple who were taking advantage of foreigners who had come to worship and, thereby, desecrating his Father’s house.   

CS Lewis wrote about the need for integrating a warrior’s spirit with meekness in his essay, The Necessity of Chivalry:

(The Arthurian Knight’s Code of Chivalry) It taught humility and forbearance to the great warrior because everyone knew by experience how much he usually needed that lesson. It demanded valor of the urbane and modest man because everyone knew that he was likely to be a milksop.

If we cannot produce Lancelots, humanity falls into two sections—those who can deal in blood and iron but cannot be “meek in hall,” and those who are “meek in hall” but useless in battle…. The man who combines both characters—the knight—is a work not of nature but of art; of that art which has human beings, instead of canvas or marble, for its medium.

“Warrior” is to be part of your life’s work of art. Evil in every form is to be resisted and engaged in battle, with victory, no matter how long it takes, the only acceptable outcome. Cruelty is not to be treated as a trifle. People in distress are to be defended and comforted. Bullies are to be confronted. Liberty, Justice, Truth, Goodness, and Beauty are to be defended and honored. And none of this is to be done with a view to self-aggrandizement. This is the Code of Chivalry of any God honoring and self-respecting person worthy of sitting at the King of the Universe’s Round Table. 

Copyright, Monte E Wilson, 2013

No comments:

Post a Comment