Deliver Me from Enemies
These days, it seems like our enemies are all around us -- in the next country over, in our own country, in our states and counties, in our neighborhoods, maybe even in our own homes. Are we surrounded by more enemies than David (the psalmist)? Maybe, maybe not. One thing is certain -- we can have access to the stories and faces of our enemies on our phones, laptops, electronic billboards, and televisions at any time of day or night. I wake up to read on my phone that more people have been shot in London. On my morning break, I go on FB and read post after post of angry people cursing and shaming politicians, celebrities, and even me sometimes. I eat lunch and watch stock prices rise and fall -- fluctuations often due to decisions by giant people in giant offices millions of miles from my sphere of influence. I finish dinner and learn that deaths by addiction, measles, and cancer are on the rise. I go to bed and get alerts on my phone that lightening has been detected in my area, or a tornado warning gets me out of bed and into my basement.
David asked God to smite his enemies -- "Let burning coals fall on them!" I'm gonna go out on a limb and condemn this kind of response to my own enemies. Violence begets violence. If God chooses to intervene, it will be up to God how to handle my enemies. But for me, I cannot condone the destruction of people -- no, not even my enemies. If I pour all my energy into hatred, plotting, rage -- then hatred, plotting, and rage is all that will consume me.
So what, then? I will place my energy into this -- "Deliver me, O Lord... Do not grant, O Lord, the desires of the wicked; do not further their evil plot." Instead of hoping for the destruction of my enemies, maybe I can hope and pray for the destruction of their plots. Instead of asking God to slay my enemies, I can ask God to stop their slaying hands. Instead of pouring my energy into hating, I can hope that God pours energy into changing the hearts of those who hate. I can ask for peace in the midst of chaos, love in the midst of hate, safety in the midst of danger, and courage in the midst of scary events.
As for my tech, I now start my day with a meditation app. I watch documentaries on cultivating happiness on my TV. I read stories on Upworthy.com and listen to TED Talks on my laptop. I go to bed listening to soothing white noise and pray for the day I've just left and the day I have ahead. I fill my world with the positive energy God has given abundantly, and pray that my enemies are filled with the same.
Narrative Lectionary: Psalm 140
Deliver me, O Lord, from evildoers;
protect me from those who are violent,
who plan evil things in their minds
and stir up wars continually.
They make their tongue sharp as a snake’s,
and under their lips is the venom of vipers.
Guard me, O Lord, from the hands of the wicked;
protect me from the violent
who have planned my downfall.
The arrogant have hidden a trap for me,
and with cords they have spread a net;
along the road they have set snares for me.
I say to the Lord, ‘You are my God;
give ear, O Lord, to the voice of my supplications.’
O Lord, my Lord, my strong deliverer,
you have covered my head in the day of battle.
Do not grant, O Lord, the desires of the wicked;
do not further their evil plot.
Those who surround me lift up their heads;
let the mischief of their lips overwhelm them!
Let burning coals fall on them!
Let them be flung into pits, no more to rise!
Do not let the slanderer be established in the land;
let evil speedily hunt down the violent!
I know that the Lord maintains the cause of the needy,
and executes justice for the poor.
Surely the righteous shall give thanks to your name;
the upright shall live in your presence.