Around the late 12th Century A.D a man called Balian of Ibelin set off on a quest to the Middle East to join as a Crusader in the Holy War. His journey would take him from his home in France, to Italy across the Mediterranean Sea all the way to the Holy Land and ultimately the city of Jerusalem. The coming days, months and years that would follow were brutal and merciless. War is hell and the casualties that followed proved that. Horrific atrocities were committed by both sides sadly in the name of God. Balian’s name would be remembered in history for rallying the Crusaders to a heroic defence of Jerusalem against Saladin and the Saracens. Though the Crusade of the 12th century fought between Christian & Muslim, Crusader & Saracen has long since faded into memory there are still conflicts that run deep to the core of our culture in the 21st century today as we speak. Whether Christian, Muslim, Jew, Buddhist, Atheist, New-Ager, Polytheist, Spiritualist or whatever your conviction is there are things we can learn from the knight called Balian.
In the 2003 movie Kingdom of Heaven directed by Ridley Scott, Balian is portrayed in one of the final scenes of the movie rallying the people of Jerusalem to one final stand against the looming attack to come by Saladin and the Saracens. The problem that Balian and the remaining men face is that there are no knights left to fight…only peasants and a few soldiers but not knights…so Balian decides that rank, title nor nobility matter at this point…and he delivers a monumental, stirring speech calling for every man to take up arms and fight for the people. I sincerely believe this call is being presented to all people, the men and women of our day, age and society…there could not be a more relevant commission in my opinion at this hour than this one.
Balian: “Be without fear in the face of your enemies…be brave and upright that God may love thee…speak the truth even if it leads to your death…safeguard the helpless…rise a knight.”
The key components, contents of this commission are what I want to break down and see what we can do to apply them to our lives today as we speak.
To be brutally honest the days we live in if you look at them without believing in something greater than yourself and living a virtuous life can look pretty dark, frightening, hopeless, fake, plastic and narcissistic. As I am writing this to you our present reality on the planet is: wars that are raging all across the earth, shootings almost every week in America, ISIS radicals are butchering, pillaging, raping and killing their own people, ebola and other lethal diseases are rampant, the cost of living is increasing all around the world, natural disasters are rocking the earth, celebrities and people are exalting and making names for themselves and selling out, doing whatever it takes to get to the top, dishonest politicians and corrupt leaders seek to control the government and the economies of the world’s major nations and the big one…social media is at an all time crazy high placing unrealistically high expectations on men and women to attain to this perfect status and to do whatever is necessary to get there lie, cheat, steal, sleep around and make unrighteous alliances with darkness. I would like to propose to you there is a better alternative, a greater plan and a higher way that we were designed for that brings fulfillment, light and a bond of unity between brothers and sisters that is so powerful it cannot be broken…it is called living the life without the fear of man…death or any circumstance.
“People living deeply have no fear of death.”
When fear is not a factor it is because we as individuals are living a life that goes beyond the surface…we are looking to a higher office, to a different dimension, an entirely new playing field. Personally when I love my friends it reminds me why I was created and that is to shine, be a beacon of energy, encouragement and point to something that defies the circumstances of what I see with my natural eyes. When I exude love to my buddies that very act demands that time stand still and witness my light being transferred into their spirit that dispels fears, insecurities and hopefully will be a good example to them that they may pass it on.
1 John 4:18
“There is no fear in love…perfect love drives out fear.”
Be…Brave & Upright
Conquering fear can only be done through possessing a courage that is accessed by uniting bravery and morals together as one living entity. In today’s culture this is a great challenge especially when social media, culture and society tells us the most important things are being somebody who is socially popular, relevant and agrees with the status quo, individually you must be sexually attractive, wealthy and have a lifestyle that everybody should be jealous over.
Am I saying that having friends, being popular, being sexy, having money and having a great life that people want is bad?
Answer: No…but what I am saying is what you do with that power and the social pressure that is put on people to reach unrealistic goals is what makes it unhealthy.
1 Samuel 16:7 “…People judge by outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.”
For those of you who have been following my journey I have been a model in the fashion industry for just over a year now and I have some experience of knowing what it feels like to be judged, weighed and critiqued by my outward appearance. This is the reality the bread and butter of the fashion world as you must possess the right look international scouts, agencies and people are looking for in you. However there is a phrase that comes into play and it is: “never judge a book by it’s cover.” and how true is this?
As models our bodies will eventually grow old and expire but our spirits will last forever. What is on the inside counts just as much as what is on the outside…what we do and how we conduct ourselves uprightly in our lives will determine how far we truly go in life. There is more to this quest we call existence than what meets the natural eye.
“Every action in our lives touches on some chord that will vibrate in eternity.”
– Edwin Hubbel Chapin
Speak the Truth & Safeguard the Helpless
This one is very self-explanatory we must speak what is true and what is right no matter what the cost. Lying, cheating and dishonesty unfortunately have become popular in our culture and are used as tools to advance further up the social ladders of success. Gone are the days when honesty, integrity and morals were the things that promoted you whether in your job, as a political figure, in the arts or entertainment industry etc. The crowd mentality in the world today is to oppose much of what is true and accept several ideologies which are false all in the name of peace and agreeing with the majority.
“All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident.”
However I believe what goes around comes around…if you sow truth you will reap it…we cannot judge by mere numbers alone by how many people are for or against something…ultimately one must be ruled by conscience and use our convictions to free others from the shackles of intimidation and the obstacles of life.
RISING to the Commission?
Taking all things into account of Balian’s commission we spoke about…
How do we apply this into our personal lives in the day and age we live in?
How do we rise and become vessels of integrity and hope to the world around us?
How do we have no fear in the face of our enemies, be brave & upright, speak the truth even if it leads to death (whether socially, physically or paying some sort of cost by speaking the truth), safeguard the helpless?
Answer: A good place to start and what I will leave you with as a commission to rise is this:
“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things.”
As a man thinks in his heart so is he…you are what you believe you will become.
Believe and RISE