“That’s how we’re going to win. Not fighting what we hate. Saving what we love.” – Rose Tico (Star Wars The Last Jedi)
I just watched this movie on Netflix last night. What was the thing that prompted these words from a young rebel fighter (fighting against tyranny and oppression!)? After she saved the life of another resistance fighter (Finn) who was preparing to sacrifice his life for his friends and for a cause greater than himself, he asked her why she stopped him. He was seconds from annihilation, ready to take with him the cannon that the enemy was ‘warming up’ to destroy the remnant of fighters who had nowhere else to go. (Spoiler alert: they were all saved in the end!)
The quote above is Rose’s response to Finn’s question. I was very moved by these words, by this young woman’s way of thinking. There seems to be so much hate in the world today, so many pointing fingers toward perceived oppressors, so many ad hominem attacks aimed at those who don’t hold our same beliefs.
There are too many shrill voices crying out with self-perceived “righteous indignation” that is, many times, not really righteous at all. It is as if many of us walk around now spoiling for a fight. It’s a divisive and thus destructive attitude. Maybe that’s not the majority of individuals in the culture, but it can sure seem that way. And that’s why the words of young Rose resonated with me so very much.
We must be people of love and kindness. Loving kindness is another way to say mercy. In some translations of the 23rd Psalm the phrase, “Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life…” is translated as “Surely goodness and loving kindness shall follow me…” We need to be merciful, which is only achieved through love of neighbor following closely on the heels of the love we have for God. “Who is my neighbor?” Well, see the parable of the Good Samaritan in the Gospel of Luke (10: 25-37) for a succinct, clear illustration. Everyone should be. Anyone who you treat with the dignity and the kindness they deserve because they are fellow human beings made in the image and likeness of our Creator is a neighbor.
We can “save what we love” in a great magnitude if we love everyone we meet. We don’t have to fight to make sure the transgressions we think others have committed or even thought of committing are avenged. Life is not about one-upsmanship. It’s not about proving who is wrong (‘other people’) and who’s right (‘me’). It’s about living a life worthy of the sacrificial Love of Jesus Christ. It’s about allowing in the Holy Spirit who Jesus sent to us to dwell in us, surrendering to God’s will and receiving the amazing grace He wants to heap upon us. Then and only then can we love everyone the way Jesus does. When we have His Spirit living within us, it is no longer an issue of what others must do to deserve my love because it’s not longer my love. It is now the Love of Jesus Christ, of the Triune God, which is an unfathomable, eternal, undeserved, unearned Love that we receive and then give away.
I’m sure tired of all the fighting against the things or people we “hate.” I want us to just save the things and people we love. And for God, that’s everyone. What if we respond differently to the “slings and arrows” of our enemies? What if we respond with Christlike Love?