We have all heard some news about legal problems between two famous movie stars, Johnny Depp and Amber Heard.
Before I continue, I have a disclaimer: I don’t want to criticize anyone who is involved in this trial. I feel sorry for them, and I hope they find a better way, when it’s all over.
Those two movie stars have a problem that we all have, but their argument has become world news. I’m talking about the place where they find themselves because we can all go there.
And the problem is; kindness is a weakness, you have to be cruel to survive in an adversarial battle. Sometimes, offense is the best defense.
The lawsuits, between two rich people, have claims for millions of dollars, many millions. Also, if either career is damaged, the financial losses could be huge. The public, like you and me, won’t pay money to watch movie stars we don’t like.
The stakes are high.
Two people are in a legal battle where they must discredit the other. A few years ago, they loved each other, and they were married.
How the mighty have fallen:
Without attacking the two people, who are attacking each other, what is happening here? Take away the many millions, the Hollywood fame, and the movie-star looks, and could I do that?
Yes, and maybe I have already.
We can easily be trapped in an argument, where we have to fight to win. If the other side takes up the fight, we have to attack and win, or we will lose badly. In the Bible, there is a force called “the god of this world.” Sometimes, the best thing to do, according to that god, is to fight to win.
There is a quote from the Bible that applies to ordinary people, and not just movie stars:
“The god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light.” (2 Corinthians 4: 4)
We are easily blinded.
Many years ago, I had a disagreement with a woman I knew through my work. She took some property that was mine, and the fight was on. I didn’t really fight, all I did was go for coffee with a friend and complain. My friend’s son was dating a girl, whose father was one of the most successful lawyers in our city. I had no idea.
My friend told me to talk to the lawyer and mention his name. It worked. I got into an expensive office, in a tall building downtown, and I talked to a lawyer in an expensive suit. It was like a scene in a movie.
I believe that lawyer was a good man, doing his best work. His best advice was to attack, through the legal system. My co-worker friend/enemy had another problem, her father was dying of cancer. I was told, this is the best time to attack, when she has other things on her mind.
I’m a Christian, and it didn’t sound right to me, so I said no and walked out.
I also talked to a pastor in a church, and he advised me to just stay away from things that I did not agree with.
And then I got the phone call. That person I was avoiding called me, in a state of panic. The driveway, at her garage, was covered with dangerous ice, and she told me to come and scrape it off. I don’t know if she asked anyone else, but I was the one who said yes, to her desperate order.
I spent some hours chipping and scraping ice, in very cold weather, and then I got scolded because I didn’t do it right. I went home as a discouraged Christian. How could God tell me to be kind to my enemies, when it just left me miserable?
And then I got the other call. I had been applying for a new job, and someone sent my resume to the wrong people. One of those wrong people knew me, and left a message, while I was chipping the ice. I called back and in a few days, they hired me for a new, low-stress job, and I left all the old arguments behind.
God did that, I am sure.
Much later, I received some money from my old enemy, as a settlement, when it hardly mattered. If you are wondering, that other person moved on to other quarrels, and years later she lost her house in a dispute.
I’m so glad now, that my last memory of that person is chipping ice on her driveway, and being scolded for the quality of my work. I remember trying to be kind. I had the option to attack, and I’m glad I don’t have that on my conscience. A simple decision would have walked me into a storm, where I would have to fight and destroy, to survive.
I am not a hero, it was a simple decision, and I didn’t step off a cliff. Joy comes in the morning.
I hope we all learn this lesson, “Be kind to your enemies.” The god of this world can trap us in a place where we have to fight, and win, to survive.
We can avoid the trap; you and me and divorced movie stars. Someone named Jesus gave us the instructions:
You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? (Matthew 5: 43 to 46)
And I didn’t know Burl Ives sang gospel songs: