Well, big shocker… the Van Wyk’s have more kittens. On top of the five from Slick, we came home from family camp at Silver Birch to four more kittens. Bubbles, their mother, seemed far more interested in us than her kittens when we returned, but since then has been diligently caring for her kittens.
Elyssa has already named two of them based on behavior. The lightest colored one is Oppugno, Latin for attack. The gray one is Pugno, Latin for fight back. What we have observed is Oppugno will vigilantly scratch with one paw while try to take Pugno’s position. Pugno is no pushover and claws back. It is a surprisingly vicious encounter for kittens that are only a couple days old.
These kittens illustrate much of what I see happening in our culture, on the news, over social media, and most painfully, in the Church. Now don’t get me wrong, there have been no brawls at church, but too many Christians have been using what I call “thought bombs.”
If you open Facebook, you will be inundated with these thought bombs. Trumpers blast Biden and vice versa. BLM supporters bomb the blue and vice versa. Non-maskers nuke maskers and vice versa. Many on both sides seem to believe they hold all the truth and must profess it at every turn.
I am reminded that Jesus, when caught in a very contentious moment with accusers and a woman caught in adultery (John 8), did not add fuel to the fire. He, much like Bubbles who simply ignores her fighting kittens, wrote in the sand. Maybe he was listing the sins of the accusers as some have hypothesized, or maybe he just drew a picture. Whatever he did, it de-escalated the tension. Eventually, he called each person to acknowledge their sin and do what is right. He calmed the tension and made the accusers hold their stones, i.e. thought bombs, and ponder whether stoning the women was the right thing to do.
In all fairness, Jesus was very blunt and confrontational on a some occasions when religious leaders were not changing their ways (See Matt. 21:12 & 23:13-39). So there is a time and place for calling people out, but we must beware that we will be judged more strictly (James 3:1) and we must be gentle, speaking the truth in love (Eph. 4:2, 15).
Initially with COVID, Facebook was inundated with positive gospel messages of hope. However, our culture has become divisive and mean. Christians, too often, have engaged in this war, launching thought bombs in the name of Jesus. I think God has been writing in the sand. To a degree, I’ve been writing in the sand, hoping the conflict simply goes away.
It’s not going away, but I have no desire to feed these fires. I’m going to write in the sand a bit longer, resist throwing thought bombs, reflect on my heart, and listen for God to speak truth.
If you wish to join me, I urge you to humbly reflect on Paul’s advice to the believers in Rome…
16 Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited.
17 Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. 18 If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. 19 Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. 20 On the contrary:
“If your enemy is hungry, feed him;
if he is thirsty, give him something to drink.
In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.”
21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. (Romans 12)
Oh Lord, forgive me for escalating tension, for thought bombing other believers, and for thinking I have all the truth. Help me to listen to those I disagree with, to hear their heart’s intention through the words, and to bring harmony and peace.
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