Speaking Of Life 3044 | How Enemies Become Friends
If you’re an animated movie fan, and I say, “To infinity and beyond!” you probably will immediately think of Buzz Lightyear from the movie Toy Story! In the movie, Buzz Lightyear was an astronaut toy character who was voiced by actor Tim Allen. If you remember the very first Toy Story, Buzz was the new toy that captured the boy Andy’s attention, leaving his old favorite, Woody the Cowboy, cast aside. Woody was understandably jealous, so at the beginning of the movie, Woody and Buzz were rivals. But it’s when they’re kidnapped by the nasty boy Sid that they realized they didn’t have to be enemies. Buzz and Woody needed to work together to escape Sid and get back to Andy. Their common goal fostered empathy and respect between the two.
The gospel of Mark reports a similar type of story where the apostles saw others outside their group casting out demons in Jesus’ name, and they might have been a little jealous. Let’s read what happened:
John said to him, “Teacher, we saw someone casting out demons in your name, and we tried to stop him, because he was not following us.” But Jesus said, “Do not stop him; for no one who does a deed of power in my name will be able soon afterward to speak evil of me. Whoever is not against us is for us. For truly I tell you, whoever gives you a cup of water to drink because you bear the name of Christ will by no means lose the reward.
Mark 9:38-41 (NRSV)
Jesus points out an important lesson, not just for the disciples but for us, too. Love and kindness have their roots in the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, so when they’re expressed—even by those who don’t hold similar beliefs—they’re furthering the good news of God’s love for all humanity. In this context, Jesus is addressing those who were doing good works in his name. We might think of the many different Christian denominations who often may disagree about some theological doctrines but who still love and serve the same God.
Buzz Lightyear and Woody were united, at least at first, in their desire to get back to Andy, and as they worked together on that goal, they developed a relationship based on respect, empathy, and even love. Though some would like to restrict good works to their own understanding we’re encouraged to recognize how the Father, Son and Spirit infiltrate all aspects of creation.
When we see love and kindness at work, we can rejoice because we know God is meeting the world’s needs and affirming humanity’s value, no matter who is doing the loving or showing the kindness. May you recognize God’s love and kindness in the world today, and may you pass it along.
I’m Cara Garrity, Speaking of Life.