The movie, Braveheart, reminds me of my husband.
There was a time, before Matt and I were married, when our relationship became the object of scrutiny (that’s the kindest way to say it, friends). The situation was messy, ridiculous, and unnecessary, but through it all I learned something immeasurably valuable about my future husband: He was willing to fight for me.
As an artsy soul, I can see the beauty in most any story, even when it conflicts with my Christian worldview. I have a certain affinity for star-cross’d lovers–stories of relationships either consumed by tragedy or thriving through it. Braveheart, Romeo and Juliet, Hamlet, Les Mis, The Count of Monte Cristo–all stories with insurmountable odds. Obstacles that the characters could neither control nor contain. In these five works, the characters chose to fight back. I can’t say it turned out well for all involved, but that’s literature mirroring life. That’s the risk you take when you’re willing to fight for what you love.
These stories stay with their audiences long after the books are closed and the credits roll. Something about them resonates with us. We can identify with the characters and their struggles. We know the ache of wanting something so much it nearly kills us. We wish we could save them from the utter hopelessness of their plight because the despair tugs at our very humanity. And then there’s the ever-scripted ideal that there are things in this world worth fighting for. Because we’ve been there, we understand the cry of the hero’s heart when his actions say, “I may die swinging this sword, but still I’ll fight!”
I’ve been disturbed by some of the things I’ve seen in literature and in the media of late, and I wonder just how much of real life these themes mirror. There seems to be a hopelessness leaking from the pages of books, from the screens of televisions. I see a new-found willingness to lay down weapons and surrender. I look around the battlefield of life where soldiers sit stunned by the obstacles before them, hurt by the things that have attacked them, and lonely in the emptiness that remains. I feel their willingness to be done with it all. I don’t condemn them. I understand. In some, I see a callousness–their faces set and determined to simply survive the hand they’ve been dealt. And, I’ll admit, that in some, very rare instances, survival alone is a victory indeed.
But the rest of us may need to be encouraged with a call to arms. There are things worth contending for, friends, and we must be ready: Christ and His church, the truth, our families, our homes, our livelihood. We need to understand just what will happen the minute we lay our sword aside. We need to see, in our mind’s eye, the enemy of our soul attacking with unrelenting tenacity. We must rally ourselves. We must arm ourselves for the task at hand. We must surround ourselves with warriors.
And this specifically, is why Braveheart reminds me of Matt. Because Matt’s a warrior. He’s willing to fight for what he believes in. I learned this firsthand before we were ever married. And, though I’ve been tempted to throw in the towel at times, with Matt’s hand in mine and our faces set on Christ, we haven’t given up yet. So today, I’ll let the Apostle Paul do the honors. Imagine him all decked out like William Wallace, riding a horse, his face painted blue. Hear the fire in his heart as he exhorts us:
Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. –Ephesians 6:10-17