Wednesday, November 18, 2009
Friend or Foe?
What a cutie! This chalcid wasp lays eggs in soft chrysalises. Eating it from the inside out, it emerges as an adult wasp leaving behind a dead chrysalis. Good news for the chalcid but bad news for the butterfly!
Then suddenly, another predator spears the chalcid wasp and eats it. What an intricate relationship critters have with each other in nature. The orange milkweed assassin bug kills butterfly caterpillars as well as butterfly parasitoids and butterfly predators.
So what is this orange creature? Is it a butterfly's friend or foe? Someone who first spies the second photo would say it is a friend of a butterfly. But if the same person had seen it killing a caterpillar first, it would say it is a foe.
Like many creatures in the world, the milkweed assassin bug has the ability to be either friend or foe to a butterfly. It must eat but it can live on critters that are not juvenile butterflies.
In the spiritual world, we do have a foe that is a foe - no disguises here! Satan is an enemy of God's people. Even when he sidles up to us with a smile and 'have a good time', he is an enemy. Some enemies are enemies and by their very nature, they cannot be a friend. Ever. Never. No matter what.
I, however, have the same choices as the milkweed assassin bug; to be friend or foe to other people. I can do good or do bad. I can be indifferent or can be helpful. I can ignore or I can pray. I can reach out to lift up or to push under. The choice is mine.
I pray to God I always make the right choices. Sometimes it is hard to know what is the right choice. I pray for wisdom in those situations.
Sometimes it is necessary to act in a 'negative' manner. We shouldn't encourage bad behaviour in children. Punishment and correction is a decision that we must make on occasion. It's difficult when we are angry and it isn't clear in our own minds whether we are motivated by anger or proper motives.
Anger is often thought of as a negative thing. But the truth is that there is righteous anger. Sometimes it is wrong of us if we are not angry. There are times when we should be angry. But anger should never drive me to make a bad decision.
While talking with Stephen about some of these types of decisions I had to make, I realized that it boiled down to one thing; would I make the same decision if I was not angry at that person? Because I am angry at someone doesn't meant that decisions I make are motivated by anger - righteous or unrighteous, justified or not justified, good anger or bad anger - the motivation should be just in God's eyes.
Stephen offers me a flashing warning light; "Check your motives, Edith!" Stephen has worked hard to teach me this lesson. When I wonder about whether I should do or say something, I often give myself that instruction, "Check your motives, Edith, check your motives".
Ephesians 4:26 - 27
Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath: Neither give place to the devil.