At then end of Shanghai Knights Chon Wang tells Roy O'Bannon that if he really loves Chon's sister, then he wouldn't stand in Roy's way. However, he warns, ""If you break her heart, I'll break your legs."
I find this interesting. I have one surviving sister who is a few years younger than me. So far she hasn't had any guys that were serious enough for me to feel the urge to say something like this.
(At least I assume she hasn't. A few guys in a row were dumped because they had one annoying trait. I assume that if she was really serious about a guy she'd try to work him out with him, or learn to live with it. [In a few cases I know she never even told her that whatever it was bothered her.] If I really care for a girl little annoyances don't tend to bother me so much. In fact, sometimes I suddenly find them to be cute and endearing traits. )
However, I have very little doubt that if a guy she really cared for were to break her heart that I'd have a very strong desire to explain my feelings on the matter with a baseball bat. I wouldn't, of course, and I'd feel horrible and spend a lot of time in prayer just for the thought. I'm pretty sure that the feeling would be pretty strong.
For those of you who aren't an older brother with younger sisters it's hard to describe just how deeply seeded the need to protect them is. It can override any number of other concerns.
The death of the older of my younger sisters was an accident, but it was one that could have been prevented. For years I was haunted by the feeling that it was my fault. I kept thinking, "She was my little sister; I should have been able to protect her." That I wasn't able to protect her because I failed to identify the problems seemed like a gross betrayal. Why was I even here if I couldn't protect my little sister? I didn't have an answer.
Eventually, I learned to let that go. (For the most part.) I've come to accept that not only am I not omniscient (Isn't that a cool word?) and it's senseless to try hold myself to that standard.
However that experience has taught me just how strongly that need to protect my remaining sister burns inside me.
One of the things I find interesting is that my sister is not the only girl I know capable of inspiring me to quote Jackie Chan to a guy she was serious about. I have a tendency to have very good female friends whose company and conversation I thoroughly enjoyed. (There's a pretty high correlation of this group with the group who are able to discern my mood from a two line e-mail about the weather after knowing me a month.) I have occasionally found that when one of these girls find someone they care about that I have a very strong urge to tell him to expect the condition of his body is contingent on the condition of her heart. (I have not, however, actually done this; that accounts for the fact that these girls are still my friends.)
Thinking about this has revealed two sides of myself that bear further thought. I've known some guys who refer to their closest friends, those they feel a special bond with, who will refer to this friend as their brother. I actually have a friend from high school who occasionally calls me his brother.
I've never understood this way of thinking. I've never had a friend who I thought of as a brother. To me, the title of friend is much more important than the title of friend. It's true that one of they most powerful and instinctive love of family is one of the most powerful forces in most people's lives. However, for me, the title of friend is one to be highly regarded and represents a powerful, though different, type of love as well. After all, I was born into my family; I chose my friends.
However, my realization that there are girls to whom I am not related to at all that could spark a desire inflict pain on all who hurt her has led me to realize something I'd never realized before; while there are no men who trigger emotional reactions similar to those I have with my family, there are a few women that I've come to think of, in some ways at least, as sisters.
This was quite a shock to me when I first realized it. In retrospect though, it would seem to explain a lot.
The other side of this coin is not nearly so pleasant. While the love and concern involved here are, I think, quite good things, the fact that I might feel the desire to inflict bodily harm, no matter what the reason, on someone is very disturbing. While I've never acted on such feelings, and doubt that I ever wood, the fact that those feelings exist is some what disturbing.
Anger, in and of itself, is not a bad thing. In fact, when channeled properly, anger can be very productive. Christ himself was angry when he drove the money changers from the temple. But He didn't lash out wildly. Instead He focused that anger to fix the problem.
The key here is to, "Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and give no opportunity to the devil." Unfortunately, that's much easier to say than to do. We tend to let our anger get out of control. That is very dangerous. Anger, if not kept in check, can spiral out of control.
It's now time for my obligatory Star Wars reference. In The Phantom Menace Yoda tells Anakin, "Fear is the path to the dark side. Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering." The fact that these words were uttered by a 3 foot tall frogling carrying a laser sword does not make them any less true. Anger can be productive, but it can also destroy you and those around you. For this reason, the knowledge that I am capable of such anger, no matter the justification, is a cause of great concern to me.
(Hmm. It's been a while since I pounded out one of these late-Friday-nite-been-thinking-way-too-hard posts.)