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Loving the wolves and buggers} ?> War. The word drenches up images of carnage, of good guys and bad guys, of friends and foes. The definitions differ depending on which side is telling the story. We are always the good guys of course. The other side is the enemy. We must hate the enemy, for if we are the good guys, that makes the enemy evil.
In our world today, if I were to simply go by the media’s reports, I would conclude that there are enemies around every corner. A disgruntled teenager, a particular people group, a certain political party, zombies. Well, maybe not that last one.
I can see that wars are going on everywhere. Refugees are fleeing by the millions from places like Syria and finding the doors of their countries of hope slamming shut in their faces. So it seems to me that this idea of figuring out who is the good guy and who is the bad guy is pretty important. Who is the enemy? Someone who looks a little different? Someone who doesn’t believe the same things I do? Why are we so afraid of the different? Why do we make what is different into the enemy?
In Orson Scott Card’s book Ender’s Game, Ender is taught to hate the Buggers (the alien race that invaded Earth). Despite the prevailing mindset of pretty much every other human being Ender knows, he finds himself drawn to understand this alien race and, in doing so, learns to love them. It is this love that ultimately gives him the understanding of how they live and operate, and that allows him to destroy them. It is also this love that drives him to write a book that helps the rest of humanity understand them and grieve their loss and it ultimately motivates him to restore their race.
Ender did not see “the other” as the enemy here. He chose understanding over hatred, acceptance over fear.
In the graphic novel series Fables, we see a similar beginning dynamic. The Fables, as they call themselves, come from many different home worlds, but they have all been invaded by an enemy called the Adversary. The Fables flee from their respective worlds and end up on ours, establishing a hidden town within New York City called Fabletown.
Like the countries banding together on Earth to fight the Buggers in Ender’s Game, the Fables have come together against a common enemy, recognizing that whatever grievances, quarrels, feuds, or vendettas they have amongst themselves must be set aside. In order to survive, they declare an amnesty, a fresh start for everyone. No old rivalries allowed, no bringing up of past sins. Friends and foes must now live side by side.
One beautiful example of this is when the Big Bad Wolf meets Snow White. The Wolf has taken on human form as Bigby Wolf and operates as the Sheriff of Fabletown under the deputy mayor, Snow White herself. Due to the amnesty, Snow White is not allowed to bring up Bigby’s many past sins; however, she still clearly allows those actions to dictate her cool and reserved treatment of him. And yet… after working together for years, something changes. He goes from being the Big Bad Wolf to being Bigby Wolf—from semi-tolerated sheriff, to a lover, to a trusted and fiercely loved husband.
These narratives give me hope that there are alternatives to seeing enemies around every corner. That perhaps stories like this can happen in real life, where foes can live side by side and even become friends. I wonder if I can make a difference in bringing this to pass.
Like Ender Wiggin, I can start by learning about my enemy, by trying to understand who they are, what motivates them, and what they care about. Like the Fables of Fabletown, I can declare an amnesty, even if it is only one-sided, where I put aside any remembrance of slights, hurts, and wrongs in order to start over and give them a second chance. And like my favourite teacher on the subject of loving (Jesus) stated, I can pray for them.
Seems like a pretty good start.
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