I just finished reading the Hunger Games trilogy this week and I have so many thoughts going through my head. (Spoiler alert - if you haven't read them, I am going to tell you how it ends...so you may want to read this later ;-)
There has been a huge debate in my homeschool group about this series and whether or not we should read them. The main argument has been about the amount of violence in the books. (That's a topic I am not going to address - yes it is violent, but then how do you portray tyranny without including the violence??) My thoughts after reading it is that yes, it should be read - not by young children! - but I think our world needs to be reminded about the evil of tyranny and how fragile our freedoms truly are. (okay...enough of that.)
This series reminded me once again about human nature and the ease with which we learn to hate others and to view them as enemies. I was shocked when Katniss voted to continue the Hunger Games - to now subject the Capitol children to the same atrocities she experienced. How could she do that?! How could she? Because they were her enemy; they were not people, not children, just objects to be punished.
This may have been "just" a fictional account, but one doesn't have to look hard or far to find "real life" examples of the same thing. In fiction - the rebels drop packages to the unsuspecting children in front of the President's mansion. The children eagerly scoop them up only to discover that they are bombs. How horrific! Why did the rebels justify such a horrible act...to end the war more quickly. In real life - Sherman's march through the South, killing and destroying everything in his path (mostly women and children). Or more recently, the United States dropping the atom bomb not once, but twice on the people of Japan (again the only people left in the cities were women, children and the elderly - the men had all gone to war.) Why did Sherman do his march - to end the Civil War. Why did we drop the bombs on Nagasaki and Hiroshima? To end World War II. How could we justify this? Because they were our "enemy."
I am coming to understand now why Jesus says, "But behold I say unto you, love your enemies..." When we love others, we value them and desire to protect them, not harm them. It is about seeing them as they truly are...children of God, not as an object to be destroyed. When we view others with hatred and the desire for revenge, we lose our humanity. We lose our souls. We forget that it is not our battle to fight. God has promised us that if obey His commandments and follow Him, He will take care of our enemies. We must never forget that they are His children too. He loves them just as much as He loves us. Shouldn't we let Him take care of the "punishment?"
Katniss' life is nearly destroyed because of the people she was forced to kill. Are our soldiers today any different? Will their lives ever be the same after taking someone else's life? God doesn't want us to live with horrible memories like that. That's why we must trust in Him. He promises to take care of us. And God ALWAYS keeps His promises.