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The Eternal Struggle of Love
Have you ever wondered why love always feels like a battlefield? Why do fights and arguments arise unexpectedly and unintentionally? These questions often cross my mind, and I’m sure many others wrestle with them too. As I listen to one of my favorite songs, “Battlefield” by Jordin Sparks, I can’t help but appreciate her effort to address this perplexing issue [^1^]. While she possesses a sharp tongue, it’s clear she doesn’t revel in conflict. I find myself relating to her in this way, as I don’t enjoy quarrels either. However, I’m not someone you would want as an adversary, whether sane or insane. Yet, the reality is that some form of warfare has always been present in my life. Like many others, I long for a time when this struggle is no longer necessary, but I have yet to discover an alternative way to live.
The Origins of My Personal War
To pinpoint the period when it became evident that warfare would be my life’s destiny, I have to go back to the very beginning. As soon as I took my first breath in this world, two fronts of conflict opened up before me. One of those fronts was the civil war that accompanies individuals from broken families. I have witnessed this type of conflict far too frequently, not only as an unwilling participant but also as a saddened observer of others’ struggles. The second front emerged on the spiritual side. From an early age, it became apparent that I would be engaged in a battle against the forces of darkness. While the nature of this battle was uncertain, it was clear that I had no choice but to fight for my survival.
The Unending Fight
The fighting didn’t cease as I grew older. Being a timid, nervous, and anxious child—bookish, nerdy, and awkward to boot—I seemed like an easy target in the rural region of Central Florida where I was raised. It took several years, well into my teenage years, for those around me to realize that my timidity and awkwardness did not equate to a lack of determination. As I gained expertise in taking on multiple opponents simultaneously, even my not-so-bright neighbors slowly recognized that I was not an easy match. With this realization came a grudging respect, and over time, the battles shifted from physical confrontations to verbal exchanges. This verbal dueling has persisted long after it was no longer necessary for me to resort to physical altercations to defend my honor in the fiercely proud, Southern world of hotheads.
A Dark Period of Conflict
Seven years ago, one of the darkest and most unpleasant periods of my already dark and tumultuous life began while I was in the Milwaukee area for work. Due to unfortunate timing, I found myself caught in the middle of a sermon that sparked one of the most intense civil wars I have ever experienced. This particular conflict forced me to reflect deeply on my own character and my approach to disagreement and discord. For months on end, I engaged in fierce combat with fellow believers whom I considered my brethren. Although we shared the same beliefs, they were consumed by illusory fears and insecurities regarding power and honor. Admittedly, I didn’t handle myself as gracefully as I could have, and neither did they. There was no glory in the way we handled our disagreements. Recently, a photograph from that time appeared on social media, coinciding with the wedding of a young woman in Chile whom I knew during that tumultuous period. Reflecting upon these memories brings about a certain melancholy.
The True Nature of the Battle
Looking back on the countless conflicts that have defined my life, I’ve come to realize that my adversaries were not necessarily true enemies. My estranged relatives, though distant, share my qualities—they are people I occasionally celebrate and sometimes lament resembling. Similarly, my ignorant and opportunistic neighbors were not my enemies; they simply sought to prove their strength, mistakenly targeting me. Unfortunately, such misunderstandings occur in our fallen world. Even the brethren with whom I locked horns seven years ago were not my enemies. They, too, were believers, individuals whom I hope will seek repentance, reconciliation, and forgiveness from those they wronged through false accusations. It’s crucial to remember that even the dark forces that have tormented my life are not necessarily enemies. They, too, are fallen beings living in fear and misery, spreading that misery to others. They were either seduced, deceived, or bullied away from grace and now fear never being at peace with their Creator again.
Reconciliation is often at the forefront of my mind, especially during this time of the year. In 2 Corinthians 5:18-21, the apostle Paul fervently appeals to the brethren in Corinth for reconciliation. He reminds them that God, through Jesus Christ, reconciled us to Himself and bestowed upon us the ministry of reconciliation. As ambassadors for Christ, we implore you on His behalf to be reconciled with God. Jesus, who knew no sin, bore our sins and allowed us to become the righteousness of God through Him. Accepting God’s call signifies our desire to reconcile with Him, as we have been estranged due to our shared fallen nature and personal transgressions. Similarly, we find ourselves estranged from one another due to misunderstandings, wrongdoings, and our reactions to each other. However, through Jesus Christ, who paid the penalty for our sins and the sins of others, we can reconcile with one another. It is my hope that someday, with God’s grace, our lives will cease to resemble battlefields and instead become realms of peace, unity, and understanding. May we be fortunate enough to witness this peace and become ambassadors of peace in our own lives. As long as we live and breathe, hope remains for us all.
[^1^]: Learn more about Jordin Sparks’ “Battlefield” by visiting 5 WS.