Katniss: “To hate the boy from District 1 [who killed Rue], who also appears so vulnerable in death, seems inadequate. It’s the Capitol I hate, for doing this to all of us.”
If I were in Katniss’ shoes, if I had been forced into a gladiatorial games type situation where I was forced to play against other people to the death, I know how easy it would be to begin to see my opponents as the enemy. Never mind that they were just as forced to be there as I was, never mind that under different circumstances we might have been friends, never mind any of the reasons why…I’m afraid to say that most likely, all that I would see is that they were trying to kill me. Therefore, I would see them as the enemy.
How do I know this? I know this because that’s how I am in sports. I have to confess—I constantly feel this way about the other team on the soccer field, and they aren’t even trying to kill me! My competitiveness just gets the best of me. The same person that might be my best friend on another team becomes my hated enemy the moment they are trying to score against me. It is really a struggle for me sometimes (especially when I don’t know the other team and especially when they are unnecessarily physical) to remember that not only are they not my enemy, but they would probably be my friend if we were on the same team.
Katniss had to remind herself that these kids from the other districts were not her enemy. The Capitol was the enemy, but the Capitol was tricky. If it came directly at the people to oppress them, they would rise up against their obvious enemy. If, however, the Capitol can oppress the people through someone or something else—then that person or thing appears to be the enemy. People then direct their aggression at the wrong thing. This is what happened in the games. The other contestants appeared to be the enemy, but they were nothing more than other victims.
When Katniss saw the boy from District 1 about to die, she saw him in a new perspective. He wasn’t a merciless killer. He was a vulnerable boy whose actions were dictated by a desperate need to survive. He wasn’t her enemy; he was a victim, just like she was. The Capitol was her enemy. She realized it wasn’t going to do her any good to direct her anger and hate at the boy; better to direct it at the real enemy.
You might be surprised to find out how much you have in common with Katniss. I’m not just talking about if you play sports or not. I’m talking about in everyday life. Mankind does have an enemy, an enemy that comes to “steal, kill and destroy.” He’s cunning though, just like the Capitol. He doesn’t always come at us directly. He usually comes at us through other people and circumstances so that we stay confused and misdirected as to who the real enemy is. If we don’t realize who our enemy is, we won’t fight against him, and if we don’t fight against him, we can’t be victorious over him.
Think about that. Katniss was victorious over the other Hunger Games contestants, but that was just a victory over other victims. She was still in a battle with the Capitol. The games may have been over at the end of Book 1, but the battle was not—the Capitol was still intent on doing her harm. Katniss wasn’t free until she took on the Capitol directly…but that’s not until Book 3!
In Acts, the Christians were being persecuted and many were forced into “games” very similar to the ones Katniss was in—games designed to kill the Christians for the entertainment of the masses. Other Christians were just simply being killed right then and there. One way or another, there was a war against Christians. One of the men who was actively working to silence (aka kill) Christians was a man named Saul. Acts 9:1 says he was “breathing out murderous threats” against Christians. If ever there was a man who appeared to be the enemy of Christians, it was him.
One day, however, Saul saw the Light, literally. He saw the Lord and realized he was playing for the wrong team (so to speak). Saul became a Christian that day, changed his name to Paul and became one of the very people he had before been trying to kill. Saul was never the enemy, but he was used by the enemy, so much so that he appeared to be the enemy himself. Saul/Paul had been deceived. He was a victim of the enemy…until Jesus rescued him. He later wrote about how he was the least of all Christians—because he knew how the enemy used him to harm God’s people. As soon as Paul saw who Jesus was, he was a changed man; he became not only a friend to other Christians, but a leader among them.
It is easy to see someone who hurts us as an enemy. It is easy to see a bully as the enemy, or a gang leader, a murderer, etc. What they do is definitely wrong and hurtful…even evil, no doubt about that. But if that person was following Jesus—I mean truly following Jesus, living as He lived—you might just like that person. If that person knew who Jesus was, and had His Spirit living in them, they would begin to display the fruit of the Holy Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self-control. You would probably (dare I say surely) like that person, become friends with that person.
Instead of seeing that person who hurts you as the enemy, can you possibly begin to feel some compassion for them? Can you think how hurt, how angry, how deceived they must be to do the things they do? Can you imagine how horrified they will be when they realize that they were nothing more than Satan’s pawn, and that they wasted their life when they could have served Jesus instead? Can you remember that you were just like them, until you found Jesus?
Ephesians 6:12 says that “our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” Did you catch that? The Bible is telling us to be aware who the real enemy is. Don’t waste your time fighting against man. Recognize the real battle is in the spiritual realm—our real enemy is Satan and his forces. Also remember that the people you are forced to contend with on earth may just meet Jesus and become your allies.
Questions for Discussion:
- Have you ever become friends with someone who used to be your enemy? What changed?
- Have you ever been able to identify with and/or have compassion for someone who appeared to be your enemy, like Katniss did with the boy from District 1?
- Who would you consider your enemy (on earth)? Why?
- Would it change things if you could have compassion for that person, and see them as a pawn of the enemy, but not the actual enemy?
- When things come against you, how often do you realize that it may be a spiritual battle, and that Satan/his forces don’t want you to see that he is really behind it?
- How do you think it would change your life if you really realized who the enemy was and what the fight was really all about?
Click here to see all the Hunger Games inspired Devotions.
Click here to see a compilation of quotes from the Hunger Games.