"That Mean Little Man"

Alvin O. Raney
Hatfield, Arkansas

It seems odd, -- and a bit incongruous that some of the harshest and bitterest words spoken and written come from the self-styled "Pacifists" of our times. I suppose that everyone who has ever taken a militant position for or against ANYTHING has found himself the target of that kooky kind of "Peacenik" who is so for Peace that he will fight you about it.

Some of these have, from time to time, favored even me with their attention. They have suggested, usually most un-peaceably, that I am a natural-born "meanie," pugnaciously inclined and always horsing for a fight. And they want to bash in my head because I am not "peaceful" like they are. They criticize me for criticizing Error. They attack me for attacking wrong. They despise me for despising Compromise. They fight me for fighting for Truth. "Peace, brother, Peace, -- or we'll tear you to pieces!" It makes a strange kind of logic, doesn't it?

Actually, they are wrong about me. I do not like to fight. By nature I am a gentle man. I love children, pat dogs, and help little old ladies across the streets. I am not even a particularly brave man. I am fearful of the din and clamor of war, and sickened by its carnage. I long fervently for peace on Earth and good will among men.

Yet, though the brutal consequences of warfare are terrifying, even more terrifying are the consequences of laying down the sword of Truth while the enemies of both God and man are pressing battles of utter extirpation against all that is Right and True. I fight only because I must fight: only because the alternative of giving aid and comfort to the Enemy is utterly intolerable. There is no such thing as neutrality here. And I fight as much in behalf of those who shake the fist of outrage at me, as for those who manfully stand in the battle line with me.

Is it really so hard to understand, my brethren? God or Satan, Truth and Error, Life and Death are mortal enemies, impossible of reconciliation. If all Evil is not destroyed, all Good inevitably must be! Every man in History accounted a hero by God or good men won his accolade as a FIGHTER for Right. I challenge you to find an exception.

Read again God's thrilling tribute to those mighty men of Faith who are immortalized in the eleventh chapter of Hebrews. Who among them was a "peacenik," a compromiser, a speaker of smooth things? If they had not faced and fought every false man and every false way a wicked world could spawn, none of us could have known the glory and power of regenerating Truth. Actually, every good thing we enjoy or hope for came to us from the Crucible of battle. This must be admitted.

So has it been with every refinement that has ever graced this crude and savage world. Always, it has been a gift from the bloodied hands of fighting men. The Son of God Him self, far from being the unresisting and placating softy some have supposed Him, fought battles beyond man's comprehension, and Himself became the first bloody casualty in the horrible Armageddon between Eternal Right and all that is Wrong.

I challenge you: -- what gift or blessing do you enjoy as the Rift of these criers of "Peace, peace!'' who prate so violently against the brave and the strong? The very gospel of your salvation is the fruit of blood, violence and martyrdom. Every evolution of civilization was born of the revolution of man against the tyranny of evil and ignorance. The detractors of such men are not fit to lick the mud of the battlefield from the boots of those who have fought for human decency and dignity throughout the ages of History. Their belittling criticisms are in very poor grace.

The dainty, effeminate weaklings who affect such scorn for their own benefactors willingly eat the good bread of political freedom, economic bounty, and even spiritual salvation, while despising the hard hands and iron spirits which earned these blessings for them. Here, surely, are the most un-gracious ingrates in the world! If ever the wise and brave cease their opposition to Error, Truth and Right will perish from this Earth. Because the ranks of the warriors of the Faith are always so thin and their numbers so small, I lay aside my own peaceful inclinations and stand proudly with those to whom "Cause" is greater than self. Nor do I offer any apologies to those timorous dissenters who neither understand nor appreciate the sacrifices made in their behalf.

Ah, yes, -- I hear the mockers ask: "Who do you make yourself to be, O little man? How dare you presume to count yourself among the heroes of God?" Well, there is a need for small heroes as well as for great ones. There are in our great cities noble statues to the valiant Generals and mighty Statesmen of our Country. This is right and proper, but the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier enshrines a hero too. No one even knows his name, but every perceptive citizen is gratefully aware of how much we owe him. If I cannot be one of the great heroes of our times, please God, help me to be one of the multitude of unknown little ones upon whom so much of that which fires the hopes and fills the prayers of humankind depends.

The greatest satisfaction of Paul the Apostle in the sunset of life was not "I have effected a good compromised!" but "I have fought a good fight!" Not ''I have kept the peace!" but "I have kept the Faith!'' This was the basis of the Apostle's expectation of the Crown of Life laid up for him. May God grant us all this consolation at the end of life!

April 1969