“You just remember who the enemy is.” –Haymitch
So goes one of the most significant lines in the Hunger Games trilogy, giving voice to a central theme: the only war worth waging is war against war itself. The violence in the arena serves as a tangible depiction of the violence within the characters as they labor to learn the lessons of enmity and alliance. The enemy, for author Suzanne Collins, is ultimately the insatiable lust for power, violence, and oppression.
Their pathos serves as an incredibly compelling and challenging expression of a key biblical theme: that our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.
Here’s how this plays out:
I’ve loosely followed the Jerry Sandusky trial (Penn St child abuse case), which so sickens me that I typically confine myself to the headlines rather than dwelling on the sordid details. I desperately want Sandusky, and those like him, to be the enemy. It would be so much simpler if Sandusky were the enemy. Certainly by most accounts Sandusky is the enemy.
By all accounts but the gospel’s, that is.
It’s convenient to demonize the Sandusky’s of the world, to cast them out both literally and figuratively.
It’s redemptive to just remember who the enemy is.
To remember that they are fighting the same Enemy that we are, to be united by our common Enemy, and to extend the same grace and forgiveness that we’ve found extended towards us.
This is a redemptive work that may begin on the outskirts of extremity and the periphery of headlines, but this is also a redemptive work that must fight and claw its way into the very center of our daily lives. This is a redemptive shift that must finish its work in us because, if you are anything like me, you are likely fighting most of your battles against brothers and sisters while ignoring our true Enemy.
Who is your Enemy? Who are you fighting?
“You just remember who the enemy is.” Wise words indeed.