After watching the final movie of the Lord of the Rings trilogy, I was asked the question by one of my sons, “What was the most meaningful part of the three movies?” We were warming ourselves on a chilly night around our backyard fire pit. We had just enjoyed some hot coffee, s’mores, and I was relaxed. It didn’t take any time at all for me to answer. Where I was most touched, most impacted at the heart level through Tolkien’s masterful work was not the battles or heroics, but rather “the fellowship of the ring,” the friendships of the little band of Hobbits.
It was the ferocious love, the continual unending allegiance to a cause, and the devotion to friendship forged in battle. Even at the risk of their own lives each hobbit never strayed from something greater than friendship—a loyalty that seemed to echo the words of Christ, “Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.” (John 15:12-13) The word I would use is ally. The word ally means, “to enter into an alliance; a person…that is associated with another or others for some common cause or purpose.” (Websters) That describes what every man desperately needs.
Every man needs allies. Not just friends, but bloodstained allies—men who will fight in the battle of life with us. I’m referring to men who have entered the arena and felt the wounding of hurt, betrayal, and hardship. They are heart-to-heart, authentic, gut checked friends who won’t cut and run under pressure.
Most friendships or accountability groups we have in our churches and men’s groups are not bloodstained, they are not deep, and most of the time, they never get past the superficial. Allies are not men who just fly fish together, talk about Bible verses, but hide their porn. What I mean are men we can trust, be honest with, and fight heart battles alongside. I use the term bloodstained for a reason. They are men who identify honestly with each other’s personal battles and drop the religious crap at the door. These are men who will call out our sin, share their own, but then stick together in times of deep struggle.
In Gladiator as Maximus enters the Roman arena with his band of slaves, it’s the circle they form in the face of attacking chariots that saves their lives. Without the circle of shields and spears they are dead men. As they battle the speed of the attacking chariots, Maximus rallies his men to fight together and protect each other through the bravery and tenacity of fighting shoulder to shoulder. Is there not a better picture of bloodstained allies?
On the Road,
If you are passionate about building a fellowship of bloodstained allied, join us at The Wholeheart Advance, September 10-13th.
For more information on Pastor Steve Holt and The Road: