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  • Writer's pictureThe Hermit of Antipolo

Failing in Holiness - 3 (Holy Warriors Part 65)

Today’s readings:

2 Samuel 12:1-17

Psalm 51:12-17

Mark 4:35-41

Nathan the prophet told David a parable about a rich man who oppressed a poor man (2 Sm 12:1-4). David grew angry with the rich man and said he deserved death (2 Sm 12:5). “Then Nathan said to David: ‘You are the man!’” (2 Sm 12:7). David must have been utterly shocked. But he accepted his vile deeds and repented. “I have sinned against the Lord.” (2 Sm 12:13a).

Many Christians, including leaders, oftentimes see clearly the wrong of others but not their own. They condemn the wrongdoing of others but miss their own sin. I have seen this happen countless times. In trying to bring reconciliation to two warring leaders, both sides often see the splinter in the other’s eye but miss the plank in their own. And when they persist in their points of view, then there is no reconciliation, and perhaps even greater animosity occurs.

But the proper response is to not focus on the other’s sin but to see and admit one’s own sin. God, like Nathan his prophet, sees after all. Then one can look to the response of God in turn. “For his part, the Lord has removed your sin. You shall not die.” (2 Sm 12:13b). What sweet words for a warrior to hear!

What should be the proper posture of a servant leader, a holy warrior, whenever he is confronted with his wrongdoing (even if the other party, he thinks, has done a greater wrong)?

First, it is primarily between him and God, and only secondarily between him and the other party. If he has had a part in the strife, then he looks to what he is accountable to God for, not what the other party is accountable for. He is called to be holy. To be holy is to be without anger or animosity toward a brother or fellow holy warrior. “A clean heart create for me, God; renew within me a steadfast spirit.” (Ps 51:12). God’s heart only has self-sacrificial love and mercy, and is ever forgiving.

Second, one must realize that anger and animosity poison the heart. The choice then is what to fill our hearts with—God’s love and mercy, or our own anger and animosity? This makes the difference between a holy and an unholy warrior. It will determine whether we remain in the embrace of God or lose our anointing. “Do not drive me from before your face, nor take from me your holy spirit.” (Ps 51:13). God does not want to do that, but our sin will result in that.

Third, one must keep focused on his mission as a holy warrior. The army needs to remain united. There is only one enemy, and it is not the other brother. There should be a willingness to strive for reconciliation and unity, even at cost to oneself, in order to preserve God’s favor and strengthen the salvific mission. “Restore to me the gladness of your salvation; uphold me with a willing spirit.” (Ps 51:14). One must remain to be saved, and a holy warrior must persist in the work of evangelization which leads to salvation for many.

Fourth, unlike in the world where antagonists fight it out tooth and nail, holy warriors show patience, tolerance, compassion, forgiveness, mercy, love. Yes, to one’s enemy, especially if that one is a fellow holy warrior. One is not to contribute to the escalation of the conflict, but one is to speak and act in ways that can even bring the other party to realizing and admitting his own wrong. “I will teach the wicked your ways, that sinners may return to you.” (Ps 51:15).

As we holy warriors travel in the barque of Peter, we can expect violent squalls and waves breaking over the boat, seemingly overwhelming us (Mk 4:37). But if Jesus is there with us, then there is nothing to worry about. If we are built on the Rock that is Christ, the winds and floods will buffet our community but it will not collapse. That is, unless we ourselves tear each other apart.

We must put our faith in Jesus. Then there will be nothing to fear. “Why are you terrified? Do you not yet have faith?” (Mk 4:40). We must not be afraid to make ourselves vulnerable whenever faced with disputes with other holy warriors. We must not be afraid to confess our sins to God and to each other. We must not be afraid to give in even as we think we are in the right.

As holy warriors we engage in brutal spiritual war. We will be bruised and bloodied. But let us not bruise and bloody each other. As we engage the real enemy, it will be glorious and full of joy. “Rescue me from violent bloodshed, God, my saving God, and my tongue will sing joyfully of your justice.” (Ps 51:16).

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