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Tuesday, September 29

Today’s Readings: Esther 5:1-14; 1 John 2:18-25; Psalm 140

I have a set of skills that – at first glance – are contradictory with one another. One set of my skills lies in the area of politics. By this I mean I am drawn to observing human behavior in groups and watching how issues of power and control play out. The other set of skills I have involves my ability to facilitate healing.

So why do I consider these skills contradictory?

Well, the field of politics is usually about how to use people and systems to get what you want. The thoughts and feelings of individuals are given little (if any) consideration. My ability to facilitate healing, on the other hand, is all about connecting with an individual's thoughts and feelings in order to help them move beyond their pain. It can be a challenge to try to integrate these different skills into my being.

So how do I act when I know an individual or individuals are slipping into a political mode and getting ready to engage in power plays designed to control and/or manipulate others? Do I assume a political posture and fight back in order to try and beat the other person at his/her own game? No. Do I simply roll over and say, “While their behavior is inappropriate, the person is acting out of a place of personal pain and so therefore I’ll look the other way?" No. I have increasingly turned to another way of being predicated upon my faith.

I hear the wisdom embedded in the story of Esther, for instance, that suggests those engaged in unhealthy power plays will ultimately end up lying in the bed (or in Haman’s case the gallows) they have tried to make for others. I also realize the wisdom in the cry of the psalmist who noted: “These troublemakers all around me – let them drown in their own verbal poison." Instead of stopping there, however, the healer in me invites me to continue to walk with the individual after they’ve faced the consequences of their own actions/poison – and support them as they begin to open themselves to new (and less destructive) ways of being.

My question for you today is this: how does your faith inform your response to the “troublemakers” in your life? Til next time…

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