Tuesday, November 29, 2011

In the Lion's Den

It can be such a frustrating thing to realize that you’ve been unsuspecting food for roaring lions. Toothless though they may be, they take advantage when given the opportunity. And sometimes those opportunities come when people around you serve you up like lion chow. But if you’re smart, you’ll learn to enjoy the game.


It will never cease to amaze me how those wonderful folks who give us such adventure are such gifted masters of clandestine moves. They work like shadows and speak only in them. They prevail in darkness and convince themselves that what they do is justified. What they fail to realize is that what they do in secret must in time, come into the light. It’s just the way things work. We don’t need to outsmart them. We don’t need to be one step ahead of them. We don’t even need to watch our backs. We just need to remain upright and wait.
I’ve heard it said by the lion feeders themselves that “God don’t like ugly.” While their motives may be self-serving and destructive to others, in the long run, they’re the ones who are in for a difficult time. The hungry lions will realize that those who have been thrown to them have an impenetrable, protective force shield. And although they may have fallen, they will rise up with weapons that are too mighty for the lions. However, the lion feeders tend to linger in the lions’ dens, watching for their victims to be devoured. As they do, they become food for the very predators they offered others up to. It never fails. But this kind of lion is like…an Orca. They play with their food. They torment and torture them, throwing them around like baby sea lions before the actual meal.
And then there we go. Our hearts get the best of us, and we pray for our victimizers, knowing that they too need the deliverance we’ve experienced. But that’s who we are. And that’s why we are not lion-feeders. We must protect ourselves not from them, but from our own insecurities, offenses, resentments, bitterness, and unforgiveness. There will always be those who would seek to feed us to the predators for their own selfish gain. But our motives, attitudes, and hearts must remain upright. We can only deal with ourselves.
Luke 6:27 teaches that we must actually LOVE our enemies and do good to them that hate us. That word, “love” comes from Greek agapao. It is the same unconditional love with which God loves us in all our glorious imperfection, as in John 3:16. And it is the same “love” from Matthew 22:37 with which we are to love God.
Isn’t that practical? Love your enemies, your neighbor, and your God with the same kind of love. Yeesh. That shouldn’t take too much, should it? I don’t know about you, but I’d rather be frustrated and watch the vengeance come upon those who deserve it. Those are my angry feelings. But I’m never supposed to be angry AND sin. (In other words, anger isn’t sinning. It’s what you do with that anger that gets you into trouble.)
So I put my silly pride away. Again. I push past the offenses and resentments. AGAIN. I forgive everyone of everything. AGAIN! Okay? Again. Yes. And I say thank you to the One who was never offended by me in the worst of my days. The One who forgives me over and over, and continues to shower that agapao on me even when I least deserve it. And when I do thank Him, I can begin to see that poor soul who offers up innocents to lions in order to build up her own broken self esteem with His eyes and pray for her. Again.
Never be a lion feeder. And when you find yourself being offered as lion food, know that God’s got this! He’s in the den with you shutting the lions’ mouths. And as for our lion feeders, do the AGAIN thing, again. It destroys our flesh, but it’s all good and all God in the end.

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