I am probably the biggest Hunger Games fan out there. So forgive this cheesy (yet, in my opinion, awesome) metaphor.
Spoiler Alert: I will be talking about the new Mockingjay movie.. [although I promise I wont reveal anything you don’t already know]!
The opening scene to this movie was done very well. It begins with Katniss removing her neck brace. As it is being removed, you see that her injuries are severe; she is swollen and bruised. She was strangled by the one she loves most (Peeta), and is injured to the point where she can hardly talk.
Once she is finally able to recover her voice, the first thing she asks to do is see Peeta.
The point of this blog post, is that I want to put an emphasis on why Katniss responds this way.
Peeta had just tried to strangle her – to kill her.
Yet, she has no hate in her heart for Peeta – no anger. She doesn’t even need a second to bounce back and forgive him.
(granted, she eventually comes to peace with the fact that it was healthy to have space from him.. and it was also still very painful for her.. however she forgave him)
This kind of response is realistically almost unheard of – even for Christians. It is common for us to struggle with feelings of anger [and even hatred that we have to overcome] when we find ourselves wronged by others. Forgiveness is a battle that I see many of those around me struggling to obtain.
But this post reveals why forgiveness doesn’t have to be such a hard task.. This is why it should come easy..
This is why it came easy for Katniss all throughout the Hunger Games: She walks in the knowledge of who the real enemy is.
If you are a Hunger Games fan, you know that all throughout the games she was wronged by many people. However, no matter who wronged her – whether it was someone close to her or someone she didn’t know at all – she was able to not retaliate, not fight back, and not hold anger in her heart towards them. All because she knew that there was only one enemy. She didn’t let herself forget this truth. She knew who the battle was against and she knew that anyone wronging her was the enemy trying to get to her.
As Christians, we should follow this example as we walk in the knowledge of who the real enemy is.
“For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.” -Ephesians 6:12
Let me tell you something I’ve come to be 100% sure about. Everything, and I mean, everything, is spiritual warfare.
“Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour.” – 1 Peter 5:8
Where God loves unity – Satan loves division.
Where God wants to see us succeed – Satan wants to see us fail.
What God intended to give us joy – Satan will try to use to destroy us.
Where God plants dreams and a hope in our heart – Satan paints us a picture of a hopeless future.
Where God fills us with truth and love – Satan attempts to fill us with lies, confusion, and pain.
Where God is for us – Satan is against us.
Although the Hunger Games is not necessarily a Christian movie, it portrays a pretty accurate example of how Satan operates.
The enemy tempts, “hijacks”, deceives, and manipulates those closest to us. This is how he attacks us – he does it through others – through sin.
Be mindful of the fact that this is also how he uses you to attack others.
It’s spiritual warfare.
John 10:10 says that, “ The enemy comes only to steal and kill and destroy”.
However, let’s shift our attention to the end of this verse, as Jesus states, “but I have come that you may have life, and have it more abundantly“.
As Christians we can take rest and stand firm in the promise God has given us in John 16:33 as He states, “Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.”
You see – my God has already defeated the enemy that fights for our souls. Jesus, so beautifully, sacrificed himself on the cross, so that we may be free from the grips of Satan forever. Jesus died on the cross, defeated Satan, defeated death, rose again, and stands victoriously in heaven – ruler over all.
As Christians, we (undeservingly) get to share in this victory.
Satan has no rights to us. And he is angry. So he prowls around this earth looking for people to tempt and deceive so that he can inflict pain upon us, and even perhaps trick us into choosing his ways over Gods ways in order to lead us into a life of despair and destruction – and eternity in hell where he can rule over us and where we would have to share in his misery forever.
This spiritual warfare, my friends, is why it is SO vitally important to obey all that the Lord commands. This is why we need to not lie, murder, cheat, and steal. This is why we need to stay sober minded and abstain from drunkenness. This is why we need to resist temptation of sex outside of the frame in which God designed it. This is why we need to not be unequally yoked. This is why we need to strive for selflessness. This is why we need to be constant in prayer. God gave us commands and instructions on how to fight on His side of the battle, and every time we go against these commands we are allowing the enemy to use us.
I could go on and on about this really, but I am straying from the point of this post.. Which is this:
In everything we do and say – We are fighting a spiritual warfare.
Satan tempts and he deceives in a plan to cause division among us.
So do not be deceived. Do not allow the enemy to have that kind of power over you.
The next time that family member hurts you, or that friend betrays you, remember who the real enemy is.
And remember that you serve a loving and good God who forgave you first. A God who has already overcome. The battle is already won.
“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13 Therefore put on the full armor of God,so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place,15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
18 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests.With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.”