Who’s “Putin” You Down?

The war in Ukraine is on everyone’s mind. By the time this article comes out, it will have taken on more twists and turns of deep concern. But the question running through my mind is this: Where do we see Putin-type behavior on a smaller scale and how does it get to the world stage on full display?

Truth is, before something erupts, it has to have been brewing for a while. An item on the stove doesn’t boil over before the steam has built up enough to make the tea kettle whistle.

Someone once said that until we see “them” in us by admitting we are all capable, we cannot honestly look at a situation accurately. I suppose as much as I hate to say it, this is truer than we’d care to admit. How do I know? My best guess is we’ve all visualized someone doing something to “take him out” and not feeling one bit bad about it. What makes some steam roll over the likes of all mankind without remorse, while others can’t bring themselves to even think about carrying out revenge upon the vengeful?

I’m not sure I have any answers, but one thing I do know, it’s more than a good idea to pray attention to those in our lives who demonstrate small behaviors before they turn into big ones.

I am, no doubt, oversimplifying this as I’m not sure what this “leader’s” issues are nor what they were. It behooves me there isn’t a diagnostic test every leader on this planet has to take. If sadistic things show up on it, they should be removed. Serving others would be the plumb-line of choice along with honesty, accountability, and integrity. But then I suppose we’d have a world-wide debate about what honesty, accountability, and integrity are. To be sure, some would want to redefine that too, but let’s get back to the topic at hand.

Now what do we do when this is in full swing upon the airwaves? “An eye-for-an-eye only makes us all blind” is what some much wiser have stated.

What then shall we do? What should our response be to the bully on the block? There are natural consequences to one’s actions. I’m not sure he’s winning any friends other than those who are like-minded. And, I might add, that oughta keep him up at night.

Perhaps we should consider voting in a grandma and grandpa duo in for the job…the kind who’d like to teach the next generation where real power is found…the kind who want to teach the next generation how to buddy-up and look out for one another…the kind who will teach others how to give a hand up to friends because one day, we all will need it…the kind who give and do not take.

Last but not least, let’s vote in a duo who can teach well Matt. 28:18. “He said, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to Me.’”

You see, someone forgot to tell Putin, his authority on earth is only half the deal. The other half, which is in Heaven, is well fortified and the truth is, any power here on earth already has a higher power and it is not man.

Evil tactics destroy the very ones employing those tactics. Evil’s coy ploy is meant to turn one in on oneself which will end in self destruction. Wisdom offers insight but when one merely leans on their own understanding, well then, it would reflect short sightedness. And the sad thing about this is that it doesn’t have to be this way. James 1:5 says so. “Now if any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.”

“For Yours, Lord, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the splendor, for everything in heaven and earth is Yours” (1 Cron. 29:11).

May we elect those who not only teach compassionate kindness, but serve it up to those whom they serve while looking out for all of mankind. Amen.

Kathleen Kjolhaug, OblSB

This article was first published in Theology in the Trenches, a column written by oblate Kathleen Kjolhaug. Posted with permission. Read more articles on her blog, Theology in the Trenches.

Photo by Adam Śmigielski on Unsplash