The Lord reigns; he is robed in majesty; the Lord is robed; he has put on strength as his belt. Yes, the world is established; it shall never be moved. Your throne is established from of old; you are from everlasting. Psalm 93:1-2
A few weeks back, Game of Thrones (GoT) came to an end, and now all is quiet in Westeros as the dust (or should I say the ashes) has finally settled. No need to worry if you have know clue what I’m talking about, because you really don’t need to know GoT to understand a lesson we can learn from one of its main storylines.
One of the biggest overarching plot lines of the show involves the struggles between the oppressor and the oppressed.
Let us begin with oppressor: Cersei Lannister. She went from queen (married to the king) to queen mother (the mother of the king), to eventually becoming the queen of Westeros (supreme leader in her own right) who sits on the Iron Throne. She came from one of the wealthiest and most powerful families, and her lust for power is unmatched. She was corrupt, conniving, ruthless, immoral, and much much more. She bordered on maniacal with her obsessions over her children, her brother (the father of her children), and her need to control everything. She was an oppressor of pretty much everyone and everything around her. She ruled the Iron Throne with an iron fist!
Now we turn to the oppressed: Daenerys Targaryen. She comes from the family that once sat on the Iron Throne ruling for nearly 300 years, but upon the murder of her father (Cersei’s brother and father of her children killed him) was living in exile under the abuse and oppression of older brother. A teenaged Daenerys is forced into a marriage for political alliance with a nomadic culture, and it is there where she grows in confidence, courage, and strength. After the death of her husband (Aquaman!!) she breaks the bonds of her brother and a culture that oppresses women, and she begins a march toward the Iron Throne. Along the way we find her gaining power as she liberates the poor, the outcast, the slave, and other oppressed peoples. What endears her to the people (and to us) is that she fights for the underdog and shows mercy and grace to everyone (except, of course, the oppressors). Daenerys’ power comes from her mercy, her wise council of outcasts, and her three dragons who she raised from pups. She sets out to gain the Iron Throne so that she can rid the world of injustice.
SPOILER ALERT (I guess I should have put this in the beginning of this blog)Unfortunately, by the final season you find the warrior queen of the misfits, Daenerys, becomes mad with power (apparently the throne was not her only birthright…so was insanity). She grows more and more aggressive and disturbed as she heads toward destroying the oppressive queen, her minions, and her armies. She takes the final step into madness destroys an entire city including its innocent inhabitants of men, women, and children. Sadly, she was told by her council prior to the destruction that the inhabitants were not big fans of the queen and actually were willing to surrender. Even when they ring the bell to signal their surrender, Daenerys did not care. At that point, it was all about the cause and her search for the ultimate prize of power. She becomes the very thing she hated; the oppressor.
Note: The following is not a political statement.
In our own Westeros, we find we are having trouble figuring out who the hero of our story is. We have people on all sides fighting for their causes, and each side crying out that they are being oppressed by the other. We have seen those who fight for our former greatness while others scream that our greatness was built on the backs of the oppressed. All the while, there are many innocent people who are caught in the middle. Ironically these are the people who are often courted by both sides, or sometimes maligned because they don’t take a stand with the views of the extremes.
Do you think I am talking about the American political landscape? Oh NO!
I am talking about the church of the western world. There are people fighting to change the world who are on both ends of the spectrum. One side beats people over the head defending God (as if he needed defending) who come off as having little or no appears mercy or love for those who need it, and they inflict rules that often border on oppressive and are not necessarily even Biblical, and side effect actually causes people to reject God and disrespect neighbor. You have the other end who are so obsessed with protecting and liberating their neighbor that they are sometimes willing to forgo God’s values as set out in scripture. Sometimes they are so hell bent on the agenda that they don’t care if they are hurting their neighbor if he doesn’t agree with their agenda. And all of this is done in the name of righteousness!
Isn’t it interesting how those seen for years as the oppressors are now crying that they are the oppressed, and the those seen as the oppressed for years don’t recognize that they are becoming what they fought against; the oppressor.
My brothers and sisters, I pose that their is a third way, and he is the only hero we the broken will ever need. I give you a Creator, Savior, and Inspirer all in one. Our hero should always be The Triune God of Grace, and it is he who sits on the throne because he is the only true and righteous king. And this is no game!
But even if you should suffer for righteousness’ sake, you will be blessed. Have no fear of them, nor be troubled, but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect, having a good conscience, so that, when you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame. For it is better to suffer for doing good, if that should be God’s will, than for doing evil. 1 Peter 3:14-17