Infighting

Day 89

Prayer for the day

Father, you who raised Christ from the dead, raise us from our waking death, that in us, the world might see your life.

Scripture for the day

Judges 11-12, Luke 6:1-26

You only hurt the ones you love.

I’ve heard that phrase many times. It’s a lie, of course. We hurt people all the time, some of whom we hardly know. Yet at its core, the saying bears a hard truth to us: we people are not the kindest to one another, particularly when we know one another well.

When we’re close, the buttons we can push are much more painful. The ways to hurt are mor plentiful. We can be cruel to those we love, to those with whom we are close.

Jephthah is a tragic character because he experiences the pain from people close to him and he inflicts it. He is attacked by his own people, Israelites, from another tribe, people from whom he requested help and who denied it. He tried to do the right thing by them, he says, but they disregard him and try to kill him. Jephthah also makes a foolish vow which he then has to fulfill by literally killing the thing closest to him: his only child.

We can suffer a lot at the hands of those who should care most.

Luke paints a similar picture of Jesus in today’s reading. Jesus, one of the Israelites, a Jewish man and lover of God, is rejected by those who should be closest: the religious leaders. Not only that, but in his sayings at the end of the reading today, Jesus says that it is a blessing to be hurt for his sake. He says it’s how people have always treated the mouthpieces of God.

Often those closest to us are those who know us best, who have the hardest time receiving any truth from us. Often it’s the same with us.

What would happen if we looked at those closest to us as gifts and Holy Spirit vessels rather than pain receptacles? Would things change? What if we sought to bless those close to us?

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