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2 Kings 21: Wicked Kings

300px-Hezekiah_-_Manasseh_-_Amon

Michelangelo: Manasseh (on the right – the figure on the left is likely Manasseh’s wife)

Monday, May 30, 2016

He did evil in the site of the Lord. 

It is easy to point to leadership and begin to make a litany of their defects.  What is more difficult is to look inward to ourselves to examine the way we bring Christ into our interactions with others.  It is helpful when we hear those around us criticize our political, social, family and workplace leaders to study carefully how these leaders call us into action.  Do they appeal to our care and concern for all and one another; or do they activate our anxiety for a special group of clique?  Do they look for ways to build bridges and overcome division; or do they relish splits and schisms?  Do they delight in mercy and compassion for all; or do they gloat at the misfortune of those not included in their group?  By these signs and by the fruits of their labor, we will know who is doing evil and who is doing good . . .and we will know whom to follow.

He did evil in the site of the Lord. 

In the Old Testament we see this sentence used frequently in the writer’s description of how leaders who have been given the gift of servant to a people misunderstand the trust placed in them.  Manasseh and Amon allow and even encourage the people to turn from God and to turn to the worship of whatever gives them pleasure: money, sex, politics, the newest fashion, and so on.

He did evil in the site of the Lord. 

I am reading a book I bought recently by Caroline Myss which I will keep by my side this summer as part of my reflective reading.  It is entitled ANATOMY OF A SPIRIT: The Seven Stages of Power and Healing, and the first page I opened carried the bold sub heading: Challenging Toxic Tribal Power.  Out of respect for the writer, I am the sort of reader who begins a book at its first page and reads through to the last; but this page was too much of a temptation for me.  I was drawn to skim this chapter which deals with Loyalty, Honor and Justice and how these concepts can be used to either counterbalance evil or to be “restrictive or narrow when interpreted narrowly”.  (Myss 113) Myss tells us that before we can allow healing to begin, we must examine our attachments to tribal prejudices.  I suspect these pages will hold many thoughts for reflection this summer but I am struck by how the strategies and tactics of these ancient wicked kings still have power over us.  When the leader of the pack tells us that a thing or a person or an event is good or bad, do we accept this statement blindly as truth?  Or do we challenge toxic behavior with compassion, openness and a heart of mercy?

He did evil in the site of the Lord. 

We can never allow toxic behavior to hold us captive.  We must, speak, act and rebuke with compassion.  And we must always leave ourselves open to the outrageous hope that those who do evil may find transformation.  Indeed, it is this very transformation that we as the victims of abuse must petition before God, because with God all things are possible . . . even the redemption of wicked kings.

He did evil in the site of the Lord. 

Let us, today, petition God to soften the hearts and open the souls of the those who do evil . . . that they, with us, may come to know the richness and depth of God’s love.

A Favorite from May 30, 2009.

Myss, Caroline. Anatomy of a Spirit:The Seven Stages of Power and Healing. Harmony Books, New York. 1997.  

For a YouTube introduction to ANATOMY OF A SPIRIT, visit: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sADOmxzbil4 

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