Loving Our Enemies

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For all of the things we may hate about the internet, there is one thing I think we can all agree is truly fantastic…  Stories and pictures of interspecies friendships.

Cats and dogs napping together.

An elephant and a black lab playing.

A gorilla cuddling a kitten.

Amazing.

One of these stories recently caught my eye because it seemed so unlikely. The two species weren’t just uncommon together. They were enemies. Predator and prey. At the Primorsky Safari Park in Russia there is a Siberian tiger named Amur. Twice a week they throw in a live goat for Amur to eat. And every time, he quickly pounces on the goat and devours him.

Until he didn’t.

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Integrity

“Integrity is doing the right thing, even when no one is watching.” — C.S. Lewis

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We hear the word integrity and our minds jump to big examples of people who had it,  and people who don’t. But no one starts off with the huge ethical quandaries.

There are a thousand little dilemmas that we all have to face that determine how we’ll do when it comes to the big ones.

Like those little water cups you get at Panera Bread.

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Courage

Way before I was a pastor, before seminary and serving churches and ordination, I was a volunteer with the youth group. Dave and I both were, and we worked with the youth group every week, helping to lead games or give a talk or sing songs with them. Then the time came to plan for the middle school summer trip. The trip was scheduled for just 3 days after we would return from our honeymoon, 2 weeks after our wedding. This particular year, we were doing the 8th grade plunge, which involved about 15 eighth graders and 4 leaders sleeping under tarps and going to the bathroom in the woods for a week.

I can probably think of a more romantic way to have started our married life together.

But off we went as newly weds to help that group of eighth graders learn to love Jesus, even though it didn’t involve flush toilets or electricity or even tents.  When we left for the trip I had been camping maybe twice in my whole life. But there we were, out in the woods of Tennessee. Just us, a sleeping bag, and a tarp.

And I. Was. Terrified.

It was all so …. naturey.  But then, to really take it up a notch, we not only camped but did high adventure wilderness activities, everyday. One day, we hiked several miles into the woods. Another day we went deep into the depths of a natural cave, moving through tunnels way underground. And then, on the last day, we set off to go white water rafting.

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