Thursday, April 5, 2012

It is easy to hate...much harder to love

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 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 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.


  1. Great blog, Toni. The books really do make you think and on such a deeper level on some really hard topics. I was just as horrified and shocked when Katniss voted yes for the Hunger Games, but in reading the rest, I took it as she was smart and still playing the game. I think she voted yes because she foresaw what she would have to do to actually give it a chance at ending the games once and for all. I think she knew she might not get the chance she was offered (to kill Pres. Snow) if she voted no. She showed throughout the books how it bothered her to have innocent people killed no matter what side they were on. She never saw them as objects. I don't think that changed when it came time to vote. Unfortunately, the book leaves us wondering if the new president decided to honor Coin's plan or not to continue the hunger games. I don't think it was a necessary move to appease the rebels; I think it was Coin's agenda all along. In my mind, I like to think that by having both the tyrants die, and a more sensible leader brought in, that a chance at peace and the republic they wanted might be realized. Reality? - maybe not, but I can be an idealist. :) No one should have to go through the horror of being forced to kill someone. Each life has a purpose. War is awful on so many levels. I wholeheartedly agree that we need to learn to see all as children of God. That is truth. it is so powerful to recognize that love conquers all. God is love. Jesus didn't come to condemn the world or lead a people in war, he came to save the world. he came to love and showed us how we should love all, even what the pharisees saw as the vilest of sinners. I am truly grateful that He is our intercessor. Just imagine what our world would be like if we all realized how magnificent we really are and how connected we all are, and then lived with the purpose, faith, and love to even a small degree as Christ. Thank you for your thoughts, my friend!

  2. I enjoyed your thoughts as they mirror my own. My support of reading this series has been attacked on numerous occasions. I believe this series is a wake-up call for our generation.

    I saw this series as similar to the Romans enjoying Gladiators destroying each other and the Bull Jumper children from Ancient Greece. These Gladiator games entertained the masses desire for violence and blood as well as controlled the masses and their enemies. Tyranny was the means for keeping the outlying provinces in line by capturing the leaders and warriors of the provinces and forcing them into the Gladiator Arena. "The Hunger Games" is closely based on these themes, just in a futuristic time period.

    Much of our society glorifies the Romans and the Greeks. I think if we knew more about how they really lived we would be appalled.

    The argument of avoiding violence is a good long as it is applied across the board. If a stand is made against violence in books, then cross off a great number of classics like "The Hiding Place", "Ender's Game" (which has two incidents of a child killing another child), "Harry Potter", "Lord of the Rings", etc. It bothers me that some of the same people who are against "The Hunger Games" are proponents for these other violent books.

  3. Yes! I agree about the violence too, but my thoughts exactly regarding the importance of remembering. Plus, not for young children! I was at war with myself about letting my 14 yo son read them, and then decided to let him. So glad i found this (via Michelle at leading God's generation) and now I have something to point others to when they question me about reading the series (and about letting my son read them....YES it is happening!). Thanks!