[Intramuralist Note: Today features Guest Writer #6 in our annual summer series; the opinions expressed may or may not be held by me, but I value the writer’s expression and their commitment to respect…]
Warring Witches — casting curses on enemies. Will this be our demise?
I was talking with a friend about about conflicting political stances (… do we mention an example? … the lesbian group against the trans activists… freedom of religion vs. a person wanting service in a manner that infringes on the business owner’s values).
If we desire a loving response, is that not grace and mercy on both sides? How do we honor both the choice and convictions, for instance, of the Muslim and Christian bakers, the Brazilian wax shops, and those who desire services which are in conflict with the server’s conscience? (A Muslim business woman who religiously cannot touch a man and a trans person demanding service.)
On my mind are the historic Bible/Torah stories where the enemy troops would fall into confusion and end up routed, which always sounds so miraculous reading it — maybe it was! But I’m wondering now: could there be another reason?
Were they bumbling idiots, those confounded military strategists?
Even the smartest humans — as much as we think we’re working for any noble cause — we labor, limited by our own motives and understanding of what’s best. Our desires, even in our closest of social groups — such as even a marriage or family — inevitably come into conflict with others. So what is the standard?
We each want to be treated with love and mercy — yes? And we become offended when we see actions or attitudes contrary to our measure of love. So we want that to change! When others have an offense against another, is it right for the offended person to hate the perceived hater?
How much does that solve? How’s that working for us?! Hate against hate!
But what if there was a God that set a standard… of loving… even enemies? What would that look like?
We’ve heard the age-old question of “who is my neighbor” in response to the call to “love our neighbor.” But if we are to also “love our enemies,” have we asked the question, “Who is my enemy?”
… what does it look like to love them?
If we see that we are each other’s enemy, what is the standard that keeps us from fighting to the death? What do we do instead?
Friends, if our hearts are not submitted and surrendered to the Higher Source of truth and love, we might be working for a cause for a certain segment of society, but how do we labor in love and peace and hope and joy and self-control and gentleness to all?
Oh, so many questions! And more… where does mercy play in? … what is the standard for that? … if there is a Creator who generously offers love and mercy for all, how do we practice that in the midst of our disagreements? … are we listening for his instructions, or fighting amongst ourselves? … and… does that make us his people, or just prove we’re one of the enemy troops, confounded in fighting each other?
Oh, the profound words of Samuel from long ago: “For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft.”
Rebellion means using our power, created and given by God, for some purpose outside his intent.
What is His intent? How good are we at loving our enemies? Have we ever needed God’s mercy? And am I displaying that mercy to my enemies? (Again, who are my enemies?)
Or do we instead fall into that bunch of warring witches… wishing evil and casting curses upon others?