Why I'm a Southpaw

How being a left-handed fighter helps me share the Gospel.

My preaching nickname is Willie Southpaw Soapbox, so I suppose it's time I gave everyone an explanation as to where that came from. It all started when I got into boxing when I came up with this simple alliteration. I like preaching on a soapbox and it wasn't too much of a stretch to learn to be a southpaw boxer, so the name stuck and so did the fighting style.

Southpaws, another word for a left-handed boxer, are the scourge of the fighting world. They're notorious for driving orthodox, or right-handed boxers, completely crazy. If you've seen the original Rocky movie you might remember the ice skating scene with Adrian where Rocky explains why fighters hate southpaws. George Foreman went on record in my recent interview with him to say he hated fighting them so much he demanded to never fight one professionally. (You can listen to the interview here.) What's the big deal though?

The orthodox stance is with the left foot out in the front and the jab is done with the left hand. The southpaw stance, however, is with the right foot in the front and the jab is done with the right hand. The result is instead of the usual circular dance that occurs in an orthodox fight you wind up with everything getting thrown off. Fighters don't like getting their timing thrown off because it makes them look bad, and nobody likes to look bad in a fight. Speaking from experience here's what I've observed over the years of sparring as a southpaw.

  • It's against the norm. Christians are supposed to be separate from the world, so for me it's been a fantastic way to remind myself to not be conformed to this world. Romans 12:2 "And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God." Instead of trying so hard to be "relevant" and "approachable" perhaps we should begin with being set apart for the Lord. The result will be the world going the opposite of wherever we're going and it will throw them off every time. We need to be able to throw the world off balance, it's to our advantage. So when the world says, "Get even, take them out no matter what!" we should be saying, "I care about your well-being."

  • It feels like you're fighting a mirror. Have you ever played in front of a mirror and pretended that your reflection was actually a different person mimicking your every move?

Well, imagine this happening at a much faster pace with punches being thrown instead. Trust me, it's not quite as much fun as I make it sound. My point is that mirrors do something very important, they force us to look at ourselves. Whether we want to look at ourselves honestly or not, the mirror will reveal to us the truth about our appearance. Our witnessing conversations and occasionally our Christian example will generally force people to examine themselves in light of the Word of God. No, it doesn't change anything about us, it just shows us what we need to do.

Now here's the thing. Just being a southpaw doesn't make me a better fighter in any way shape or form. In fact, if the orthodox opponent knows how to fight a southpaw it actually ends up being your disadvantage instead. What that means is in the literal boxing sense and in the spiritual Christian sense alike we are called to continue training and honing our skills. That way we'll be ready to fight and give a proper defense for the hope that's within us. Maybe you've heard me use these analogies if we're working together in the gym. Hopefully now you know where I'm coming from. If you're already a believer and we've talked about this, then perhaps you can pass this wisdom along to anyone you work with in the future.

If you're not a believer though, I would say it's high time you took a look in that spiritual mirror. Examine yourself in light of what God sees in you. Have you lied, stolen, held hatred in your heart? Those things are likely there whether you want to see them or not, so humble yourself before the Lord and allow Him to work in your life. Let Him work in your life because He did an awful lot to bring you to Heaven in the future. He sent His only Son Jesus Christ to die on the cross to pay the price for your sins, any and all of those things I mentioned already and plenty more I didn't mention. Don't put this off, just like how you don't know when the bell's going to ring, you don't know when the Lord's going to call you to stand before Him. Be ready!