Saul’s poorly thought out oath, vowing his troops would not eat until the battle was won, is an example of poor leadership. He thought of his honor, his image, more than the needs of the troops. Without food they would be too weak to fight the battle. Without food, just the journey itself would exhaust them.
To me this reminds me of the need to see how our actions may influence others, seeing them as human beings with real needs, feelings, and desires.
We forget this. I think of last year when we had so many parentless children standing at our border in need of food, water, clothes to survive. Many politicians sat and argued to politics of immigration, getting caught up in ideology – not seeing the hurting children in need at our door. Not hearing Christ saying to us “I was a stranger and you took me in….” Our politics threatened to keep us from having compassion on others.
We saw this in the discussions of LGBT rights. People would argue about the history of marriage, about abstract theology, all the time forgetting the pain and heartache people faced … People like elderly couples together for decades who could not be there for each other in their final days due to their relationship not being recognized. People like children who could not have their parents’ health care extended to them, or their parent’s right to care for them recognized.
We see it too in our debates between left and right, where we paint those we disagree with using a broad brush as if all people who hold another view are so very hateful, hurtful, or wrong-headed. We forget we speak of other human beings, with real feelings and real needs.
God reminds me in this passage to remember the humanity of all those around me, of all I encounter.
Let’s never forget that.
And I ain’t whistling Dixie,
Your progressive redneck preacher,