A strange thing happened while I was getting some porch time the other day.
I had just settled down with my Kindle and a ferocious game of Words with Friends when screeching and squawking and angry tweeting took over my back yard. The tree right in front of me shook with a flurry of birds and feathers. Blue Jays, little brown birdies, black ones (okay, I don’t know their names) darted in and out of the tree. I figured the bully blue jays were getting all pushy and mean with the other birds, but when I stood up to inspect the chaos, I saw the real culprit.
Birds swooped and flapped and chirped with fury at the predator.
Their group effort evidently worked, because the hawk took a few hammered steps then flew off.
I don’t know a lot about birds, but it seems I remember blue jays never got along well with the other birds at the bird feeder. So why all the camaraderie now? I think those little feathered wonders knew that together they could be more of a force against their foe than if they kept to themselves.
What brought them together?
A common enemy.
They recognized the adversary and flew in agreement against him.
The blue jays weren’t lecturing the brown birdies on battle techniques, and the black ones weren’t snubbing their noses at the pretty blue jays. They worked together, alternately swooping and attacking one singular threat.
We have a common enemy, too.
“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.” Ephesians 6:12
How much time have I wasted criticizing, blaming, and snubbing others, while my enemy prowls around free and unhindered? How many times have I focused on differing opinions, beliefs, and cultures, when I know we are all sinners saved by grace? How often have I put aside the truth, love, and kindness simply to prove that I am right?
There is one way, one God, one hope for all mankind, but beating people up with that truth may serve to only push them into the waiting clutches of a formidable foe who longs to comfort them with his lies and confusion and to pull their hearts away.
I’m no expert, but it seems sometimes we end up not fighting with our enemy, but rather with those who are our brothers and sisters. Shall we lay down our fine sounding arguments and signs of derision and strive instead to love big, hope for more, and believe in the only one who can soften the heart of a man.
I’m willing to give it a try. How ’bout you?