One of the great American comic strips named after its main character, Pogo, a kind gentle Opossum, is now largely forgotten. For me, one of its best lines will always be remembered: “We have met the enemy and he is us”.
That line sticks out in my mind because it is so true for people like myself who profess to follow Jesus. As the season of Lent calls us to remember how it was our own sins that sent Jesus to the Cross, I am reminded of the fact that no matter how good we claim to be, we constantly fall short of God’s expectations. Thankfully, despite being God’s “enemies” in certain ways, our Creator’s love and mercy are big enough to handle whatever mistakes we make.
When we look at the Cross, we are reminded of Pogo’s line that “we have met the enemy and he is us”.
But there’s more to that idea than the fact that we are sinners. All too often I find my fellow followers of Christ adopting a Christianity-versus-them attitude. They seem to believe that, somehow, following Jesus makes us better than other people. While it’s true that following Jesus faithfully makes us better people, it is a great lie to say that His followers are in any superior to folks who go their own way. In the face of this attitude, I am again reminded of Pogo’s prophetic pronouncement: “We have met the enemy and he is us”.
When we judge others as inferior, or when we boost our status above that of our neighbour, we become enemies of the ones we judge. They are hurt by what we believe because it is unkind and demeaning. We make ourselves enemies of the very Christ whom we follow, because he told us both not to judge others and not to think of ourselves as in any way superior to anyone whatsoever. We also make us our own worst enemies, because it’s all too easy to slip from judging the worth of people outside our faith system to our fellow Christians.
Yes, I realize that I’m doing just that, so I apologize. I shouldn’t judge others, but that’s one of the problems of being human. As Pogo so aptly phrased it: “We have met the enemy and he is us”.