A hill worth dying on

Published 2:37 pm Sunday, February 11, 2024

What things are worth standing up for, fighting for, even dying for? Are they “things” at all?

Would you be willing to die for a person? A group of people? An ideal? A matter of ethics?

You may be a tenacious person, a fighter to the core. When other people are sheep or wolves, you are a shepherd — often putting yourself in the line of fire without a moment’s hesitation or thought otherwise. You do it to protect those who may be weaker, or defenseless.

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If you’re that type of person, I salute you. I respect you, and I appreciate you. You act on impulse, based on a strong person sense of (and identity in) protecting and standing up for others.

But if you had a few minutes to pause time and analyze each situation before you intervened, before it escalated — with it literally on pause — would you assess each and every situation as worthy of intervention? Perhaps so. I’m not doubting your integrity, intelligence or anything else — I’m just wondering if anything would change in your thinking. Or would you think that your intervention is perhaps not needed?

It’s a moot question, I understand. You don’t have those moments to pause. You can’t afford to take the time to ponder philosophically if it might be better or worse. If you did, it could cost someone a lot — up to and including their life.

But leading up to each of those moments, including this one, you have made decisions that make you the person you are, that person who does intervene without hesitation. You act because of who you are inside, and who you are is revealed (and determined) by your actions. You are the one who stands on the hill of your convictions and braces yourself for the battle, knowing here is a good place to die, if it comes to that.

You wouldn’t think highly of a person who has trained in any Armed Forces branch who hides himself during battle, afraid to take on the enemy, afraid even to stand with his fellow warriors. It’s one thing to be afraid and move ahead — that’s courage — but another entirely to run away and hide. His actions would reveal who he really is, not who he claims to be.

In the same way, the consistent actions of a faithful warrior prove him (or her) to be who they claim to be.

You may not be built for actual, physical warfare. That’s OK — not everyone was meant for that. But you will never live a life without some type of conflict or battle, without some opportunities for retreat, compromise, or charging full ahead into the fray.

Are you willing to face death for your beliefs? What about ridicule and criticism? What about loss of friends and other relationships?

Are you willing to face any of these things for the sake of someone else — your loved ones, an innocent person (or group) you don’t even know, or a person/group you suspect is very much “guilty”?

I’m not going to try to answer that for you, but I do want to ask you a question that I think you should at least spend a little bit of time thinking about:

What is your hill worth dying on?

News Editor Brett Campbell can be reached at brett.campbell@dailyleader.com.