Scripture Focus: Psalm 35.11-15
11 Ruthless witnesses come forward;
     they question me on things I know nothing about.
 12 They repay me evil for good
     and leave me like one bereaved.
 13 Yet when they were ill, I put on sackcloth
     and humbled myself with fasting.
 When my prayers returned to me unanswered,
 14     I went about mourning
     as though for my friend or brother.
 I bowed my head in grief
     as though weeping for my mother.
 15 But when I stumbled, they gathered in glee;
     assailants gathered against me without my knowledge.
     They slandered me without ceasing.

Reflection: Meeting Fire with Love
By Erin Newton

My youngest child had a fierce toddler stage, which meant crying 98% of the day. There were developmental reasons, so we grew accustomed to his persistence. One day, however, I was met with the harsh glare of another person at the park. She walked over to me and began to tell me how terrible of a mother I was.

A year or two ago, a man set out to organize resources for a group of abuse victims. The day began with phone calls and text messages. Sitting down to his computer and logging into social media, he was met with a series of notifications. In reply after reply to his post for help was someone who questioned his motivations and demeaned the cause.

This past week a woman was met with the all too familiar attacks on her words. Replies and posts looked for ways to discredit and discourage her from speaking openly again.

When David was met with accolades of great success, Saul was angry towards him and vowed, “I’ll pin David to the wall” (1 Samuel 18.11).

Sometimes, we enter the arena of life and are met with swinging fists. No matter what good is done, some people are determined to fight. In school, we call them “bullies,” and online, we call them “trolls.” In workplaces, we call them “toxic.” In churches, we call them “brother” and “sister.”

Whether this psalm was penned by David or inspired by his life, we know those who rejoiced in his stumbling were his own people. The same people who worshiped with him later turned and sneered, mocked, gloated over him, and falsely accused him.

It is easier to meet fire with fire but that is not the way of our crucified Lord.

The woman this past week responded out of love. Instead of rising (or lowering) to the level of anger thrown her way, she spoke of the value and joy that existed within the other person. She spoke out of kindness and concern.

The man that day patiently answered questions or false assumptions. In a vow of transparency, books were opened and no deeds were covered in darkness.

I went home and prayed for that woman.

Like the silent lamb—our Christ—who uttered no response to his accusers, we are called to meet swinging fists with words of love. It is not easy and certainly not comfortable. They gloat; we intercede.

Divine Hours Prayer: The Greeting
In you, O Lord, have I taken refuge; let me never be put to shame; deliver me in your righteousness. — Psalm 31.1

– From The Divine Hours: Prayers for Summertime by Phyllis Tickle.

​Today’s Readings
Proverbs 5 (Listen 2:08)
Psalm 35 (Listen 3:21)

Read more about Responding in Kind
There’s an old saying that we don’t have to attend every fight we are invited to. God doesn’t need our defense but he does desire our devotion.

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