It is now some twenty years since the release of the movie Braveheart, which depicted the heroics of William Wallace in leading the Scottish to seek independence from the tyranny of English rule. In the famous battle of Stirling Bridge, Wallace is depicted as urging his stationary troops to raise their spears only in the last steps of a cavalry advance, with the devastating effect of surprising the English troops as their horses are stabbed and then fall. This illustrates an important principle for leaders who often feel as if they are under attack from people and circumstances.
When people are on the offensive against us and we seem to be threatened unjustly, it is far too easy to react with indignation and, in fact, to react too quickly. We end up risking the success of ‘battle’ that can come from responding only when we have to. Our battle is, of course, a spiritual fight and no Christian is ever in battle with people; God loves all people, irrespective of their faults.
Recognising that our reactions can be an emotional response ideally needs us to pre-empt this fact. In other words, we need to know ourselves and how it is that we can be baited to oppose people we feel are attacking us. We then need to “hold” and to resist the urge to act ungraciously, even when we might believe people deserve this or when we think we are defending ourselves against their first move.
When we do engage, it will be when it is necessary but in a carefully considered and strategic manner. This necessity may be early in the piece, but it is always when needed, always with tact and with grace and never with reactionary emotion.
“Hold, hold, hold!”