This week's devotional will have little to do with running or physical fitness, but rather will focus on relationships. Specifically, how we as believers should relate to those with whom we don't agree. As I scanned my Facebook page last night, I was saddened to see more of my friends engaging in judgmental, hurtful and even mean dialog about politics. It seems like the mud slinging that often accompanies the political process, has trickled down to the general population. Instead of finding a way to disagree with respect, I saw one example after another of people trading insults with each other. So it got me to thinking, how different this election season would be if the candidates and supporters determined that rather than throw offensive words back and forth they would kill one another with kindness.
The phrase "kill with kindness" dates back to the 5th century and references a proverb that says "kill them with kindness as fond apes do to their young." It is a picture of overwhelming another with excessive kindness. Apes will unwittingly kill their young by hugging them too aggressively. Shakespeare used the term in "The Taming of the Shrew" but in that case Petrucio plans to "kill with kindness" by depriving the difficult Kate of food or sleep until she becomes obedient. Neither example is much more attractive than our current state of politics!
As usual though, the Bible describes the proper way to respond to our enemies or those who have wronged us. In Luke 6:29 Jesus describes how we should react to someone who has wronged us. "If someone slaps you on one cheek, turn to them the other also. If someone takes your coat, do not withhold your shirt from them." And in Proverbs 25-21-22 it says, "If your enemy is hungry, give him food to eat; if he is thirsty, give him water to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head, and the LORD will reward you." Some have suggested that "heaping burning coals" referred to making the other person ashamed for their actions, but if that is our heart, it's really no different than mud slinging in an attempt to discredit another person. Selena Gomez released a song in 2015 entitled "Kill Em With Kindness" A portion of the lyrics said, "The world can be a nasty place, you know it, I know it, we don't have to fall from grace, put down the weapons you fight with and kill 'em with kindness." (How's that for literary whiplash? Shakespeare to the Bible to Selena Gomez!) I think Romans 12:10 says it best though - "Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another." Wow! How different my Facebook would look if we were all "giving preference to one another... in brotherly love."
Here is our challenge for this week and beyond. Before entering into a debate with someone, ask yourself "Am I more interested in being RIGHT or being RIGHTEOUS?" then choose to bless your enemy or the one with whom you disagree, with kindness.
The Calvary Running Team is a kind bunch and we'd love to have you join us. This week we will meet on Wednesday at noon at the Springfield entrance to Pre's Trail (park at the corner of Aspen and D streets), and on Sunday we will meet at Clearwater trail at 5 pm.
On Saturday, many of us will be joining for the Ram Run 5K or 10K at Alton Baker Park. If you haven't signed up, there is still time. Sign up online at eclectic edge racing and search for Ram Run. The cost is $20. When you sign up, enter Calvary Running Team as the team you are running with. We hope to see you there. Let's represent the CRT well!
I hope to see you out there this week.
Have a great week!