Hawks and Doves

 

Ridgefield Wildlife Refuge

Ridgefield Wildlife Refuge

I was awakened Saturday morning by a beautiful, red-tailed hawk on a tree branch inches away from my open bedroom window.

I heard the screeching and did not know what it was at first. A bird I did not recognize.

Creeping silently to the window, I raised my head to see this wondrous creature yowling into the morning sun. And then I looked down.

The diet of hawks is about 85% rodent, which is what I expected to see. What I saw horrified me; in the claws of this great raptor was another bird, dead and limp.

These are the birds that usually waken me with soft songs of love and grace. Harmonies of hope and new beginnings. Not today.

“We are under the sad delusion our mission is to be hawks for Christ”

As I watched the hawk attempt to both feast and hang onto her prey, I was further disturbed as she plucked the feathers one by one seeming to ravage her quarry as she laid waste to the spoils.

I wholly recognize this was the hawk’s way of getting to the meat it needed to survive.

An hour later, as I sat down to write my Sunday poem of praise and love, the Spirit would not allow me to do so. He took me back to the image of that hawk and opened my eyes to the way we treat each other.

 

red-tailed_hawkWe aim our hawk-eye, judgmental sights on one another. We dive down and capture our prey. We pick and pluck and extricate each lapse, defect, mistake. We are under the sad delusion our mission is to be hawks for Christ and hunt down every sinning miscreant; pluck out each feather of iniquity so we can gorge on the intestines of ostracism. We want to savor the spoils of our “success,” beat them into submission and walk away as we pat our self-righteous, hawkish backs, engorged with a meal of “I did it for Jesus.”

~                      ~                      ~

Here in my little corner of the world, I continue to beat the quiet drum of the dove.

The drum that says we are to love; we are to be peacemakers. The drum that says we are to show the grace and mercy of God; the compassion of Jesus, the outstretched arms of our Father.

We have two missions, which I wrote about in Back to Basics 3 and Part 4.

We are to be the light and love of the Lord so people can see and experience Jesus through us, and to bring the Good News to people, creating an open door through which they might step and choose to be embraced by the Father.

It isn’t important what we say but how we are heard. If all we do is rant and screech, we are like fingernails on a blackboard, like clanging symbols.

If I could speak all the languages of earth and of angels, but didn’t love others, I would only be a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. (1 Corinthians 13:1)

Instead of focusing on what we want to say, let’s pay attention to what Jesus says, those red-lettered words. Let’s bang the drum of love:

“For God so loved the world, He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him.” (John 3:16-17 NASB)

“So I give you a new command: Love each other deeply and fully. Remember the ways that I have loved you, and demonstrate your love for others in those same ways. Everyone will know you as My followers if you demonstrate your love to others.” (John 13:34-35, The Voice)

“Anyone who does not love does not know God, for God is love.” (1 John 4:8 NLT)

We must not mistake accusation and condemnation for love. We must not mistake what we think of as brutal honesty as ministering in love. We must always test our own thinking and agendas with the Words of God. And we must always yield to love, abiding in the wisdom and fruit of the Spirit.

29 comments

  1. Love the analogy, Susan. Keep quietly banging that drum! 🙂
    Blessings,

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    1. Thanks Mel. I appreciate it. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. The True Light! · ·

    This is true of many who are judgmental. We would do better to act before others as you speak of here, remembering the words found in (1 Peter 3:15), which says:

    “But in your hearts sanctify Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to articulate a defense to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But respond with gentleness and respect,…”

    Steve

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    1. Absolutely right, Steve. Would that we would all remember those words and inscribe them upon our hearts.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. The True Light! · ·

        Amen to that, Susan. What we have to say about the gospel of Christ is important, but it won’t get heard unless we find ways to present it to others in a way they will listen. God knew this and that’s why He’s tried to prepare us with living our lives in a Godly manner and speech seasoned with salt…

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      2. “…the gospel of Christ is important, but it won’t get heard unless we find ways to present it to others in a way they will listen”
        Amen Steve. Amen.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. The True Light! · ·

        I could not agree more so. Thanks Susan for the visit and comments as always…

        Steve

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  3. Susan I am practicing a new approach to changing what I might perceive as negative thinking or misdirected admonishment to other immature or not thinking before they speak Christian brothers and sisters. As I share my suggestion and new way of thinking. I first ask for grace from those that read my response.

    I am practicing interceding for others rather than trying to warn them or admonish them. This is what Christ does for us. I pray they as well as myself will grow up into mature Christians, that model the image of Jesus.

    I also do my best to allow Jesus to keep me on a good track. Realizing that I still am being buffeted and tempted myself by the enemy. All of us are on a journey to perfection to a wedding with Christ. Let’s encourage, love, be patient and merciful toward each other. This way others will want to follow and become interested.

    Judging or condeming others will do little to turn them to Christ. I pray for strength to stand and the power and love of Jesus to fall upon all of us that we would stay in the journey until Christ returns to claim us.

    Only through living the life of Christ and interceding for one another will we make a difference. Jesus sees us and cares.

    I am so thankful for all you do and your faithfulness to God.

    Blessing to you Susan

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Dear Tom,
      What a beautiful and encouraging response. “Let’s encourage, love, be patient and merciful toward each other. This way others will want to follow and become interested.”
      You have done exactly that, my friend.
      We all have areas we need to grow in Christ, and I write these posts with the pronoun “we” because I write to myself as well. I pray any admonishment I offer comes with love and sadness, not anger, for I have much to learn in the ways of Christ.
      Thank you as always for your raw honesty, your encouragement and the love of Jesus I see in your words.
      Much love to my sweet brother. ❤

      Liked by 1 person

      1. In the African American community there is a” tell it like it is” mentality. I don’t know why so many of my brothers and sisters have adapted this nature but THIS IS NOT OF GOD… The Bible says we are to speak the truth in love.. it also discourages judging lest ye be judge. I want to get to the place in my personal walk where I exhibit the love of God thoroughly, to make people want to know the God that we serve. Much love blessings and peace.😘😘😘

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      2. Oh, thank you for this! It is SO important! And it is not just in the African American community. We seem to have adopted it in the Western World as a whole. Somehow, we seem to feel entitled to judge; you are right, it is not of God. He is the only judge. We are called to love. If we do not, we simply are following a different path from Jesus.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. WE ARE CALLED TO LOVE AND SHARE THATS IT LOL…. GOD is still working on this with me everyday. However operating in His spirit we get better

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      4. Oh how I love your heart! 😁

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      5. 🙂 Right back ‘atcha, Tom.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Reblogged this on V.W.G.1.M.O.N and commented:
    A challenge to LOVE

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    1. Thank you so much!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Wow!!!! This is amazing seeing as tho my next article im sure will b of this same co text….

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    1. Thank you! And will look forward to your next post.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Steven Acesta · ·

    You have an extraordinary gift for writing, my friend!

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    1. Whoa, thank you! Long time… Hope you are well. Email with an update, would you? 😀

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  7. So good, so true and so well said. Love is the preeminent thing we must do (I Cor 13), and judgment is not a part of that. It is God’s place to judge – too often we want to sit in His seat. God help us! Thanks for a wonderful reminder.

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    1. I said in another blog – The Forgotten Verse – we remember well John 3:16 but tend to forget verse 17. When this came to me, the hawk picking out the feathers one at a time came into such clear view – the judging and the pain it so clearly causes. We do “too often want to sit in His seat.” Not our job.

      Thank you, Pete, for your insightful comment.

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  8. Excellent analogy with the hawk Susan.

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    1. This didn’t pop into my head by accident, Paul. I truly did want to write another love psalm for today – but my fingers simply couldn’t go there. This was one of those cases where I His will stood clearly before me – you know what I mean?

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      1. I do Susan, I know exactly what you mean. That said, ever since I read it, there was a thought that has dominated my concerns and that is that there is a place for hawks in our world and society. that God made them to be aggressive and deadly, and even so, He made them for a purpose. Jesus found a great deal of faith in the “centurion” who asked Jesus to heal his aid without going to his side. Matthew 8:8-10 – ” … just say the word, and my servant will be healed. 9 For I myself am a man under authority, with soldiers under me. I tell this one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and that one, ‘Come,’ and he comes. I say to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.”10 When Jesus heard this, he was amazed and said to those following him, “Truly I tell you, I have not found anyone in Israel with such great faith.”

        You see the centurion (read ‘hawk”) had faith and in so doing pleased Jesus. There are places in the Bible where military “men” or “angels” are used effectively and deliberately by God. The violence exhibited by the hawk you observed does not necessarily mean it is acting outside God’s desire. There is a time and place for all things.

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      2. What you say is true, Paul. I was simply referring to the way in which we approach the Gospel. I think sometimes what we may refer to as “tough love” isn’t really love at all. Only suggesting we all look in the mirror and continually re-read Jesus’ words.

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    1. and Amen, Kristen. 🙂

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