Joshua went up to him (the angel of the LORD) and asked, “Are you for us or for our enemies?” “Neither!” Jos. 5:13;  Do not repay evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary, bless, for to this you were called. 1 Pet 3:9;  “(Love) always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.” 1 Cor. 13:7

Lord Jesus, I love panne chicken—topped with lemon, caper, butter sauce, served with grilled asparagus—still a bit crunchy, followed by flourless dark chocolate cake, with a few walnuts on top. But I also love to win, and as a UNC grad, I hate losing—especially to Duke.

The spirited competition of college basketball is one thing, but throughout American culture right now, it feels like we have become a giant “us” versus “them” arena. Stereotypes, caricatures, reviling, assuming the worse, cursing-rather-than-blessing… these things have become a way of life. Like COVID, it’s our new norm, and just as deadly.

Forgive me, Jesus. I enjoy gloating, more than being gloated at. Help me heed your warning to avoid a vengeful, fear-full, faith-weak heart. Just like I would run from coiled rattlesnakes, toxic fumes, or E. coli-poisoned waters.

There’s only one unshakable Kingdom, and it’s here and is increasing all the time. You’re not vexing, you’re reigning. As in Joshua’s day, you don’t take sides—you take over.

You’ve come to triumph over all of us, for we all equally need the Gospel. The earth will be filled with your glory, one Day. Jesus, before then, fill me with the love that “always, trusts, hopes, and perseveres.” So very Amen I pray, in your merciful and mighty name.