Two believers stood facing each other in a display of mortal spiritual combat. They had become gladiators of a false faith. The arena of their conflict was the public forum. They had trained themselves for this day preparing their weaponized opinions. They sharpened the sword of debate with years of study on the whetstone of a narrow understanding of a much greater truth. The shields they carried did not require faith to lift. They were raised by defensiveness. Under the rules laid down for this lethal sport only one of them would walk away as the victor. The other would have to assume the role of the dishonored one, a loser - separated. This is the promised blood the crowds would cheer once drawn.
Somewhere in the first round of this dance of death a whisper of truth entered the arena as an uninvited guest. “This is not how I want the world to see you. This combat has been prepared to dishonor My name and destroy your love. Drop your weapons of anger and one-upmanship and walk away from this cheering crowd. They have only assembled to watch your death, not to discover My truth.”
At that moment each gladiator saw themselves as the pawns they had become. Looking at their opponent they no longer saw opposition. They saw themselves reflected in a living and breathing mirror that was standing before them – a shared image created for greater things. Clutched fists empowered by years of angry debate and dishonor released their weapons and shields. It was like this moment was choreographic to perfection as their armament fell to the ground clanging their discarded purpose at the same time.
The crowd went silent in disbelief. Turning their backs to the spectacle, the gladiators walked away, together. The silence of the crowd lingered as disbelief hung in the air. Then something unexpected took place even though the admission price had promised more gladiatorial displays to come.
When the gladiators finally departed, people began to stand in silence one by one and walk out of the arena. Row after row emptied. The false emperor rose from his earthbound throne and started to shout threats, and vile vows of revenge as his audience walked away no longer empowered by his mission. His dark words fell to the ground having lost their power to deceive and destroy and to create an audience. Love had “one” the battle.