True Courage: loving your enemies – a look into Ukraine

What’s been happening in Ukraine?

There have been harrowing acts of courage displayed since 22nd of February when  the Russian invasion of the Ukraine began.

I’ve seen photos of the children from an orphanage sleeping in a bomb shelter. What courage did it take for the carers to collect those children, move them and stay with them to guard and protect them?

I’ve seen video footage of Ukrainian citizens encircling a convoy of Russian tanks, and singing their national anthem.

And the convoy did not appear to shoot.

All of these acts and many, many more require great courage. To defy the norm, to behave in an unexpected way, to stand for principles even when your life is in the balance: these all require courage. 

But perhaps the greatest courage that I have heard about is people feeding and caring for the invading soldiers who are hungry and confused. Apparently, the hosts are Christians. Loving your enemies is a tough order. But loving your enemies, serving and feeding them when their tanks are pointed at you — that takes ultimate courage.

What triggered Putin to decide to invade now?

How much of this battle in Ukraine is spiritual? There are theories. Interesting the date coincides with an historical date — Perhaps a previous invasion was what I read or heard this past week? Is that the day Putin invaded Crimea in 2014? (May I invite a reader who knows to respond?) That the invasion date was 22.02.22 is peculiar, memorable at the very least.

We know from President Putin’s own mouth that he couldn’t tolerate the closeness of the Western ideology near Russian boarders; and how deeply the West was influencing Ukraine and for Ukraine to become a part of NATO was inconceivable — in Russia’s own backyard. Although its joining NATO hadn’t happened yet, it was becoming more a possibility, at least in the eyes of Putin.

Whether Putin is deluded or simply calculated, it took something extraordinary for him to invade…. I don’t think I’d call that courage but it was outrageous and extraordinary.

How did he have the nerve to gather his troops on the Ukrainian borders? Did he take courage from his economic alliances with China? Did he say, ‘Win or lose this must be done?’ I suppose he reckoned victory was invitable. And perhaps that’s where he got his nerve..

But he isn’t winning… not easily. And he’s very isolated. 

Putin seems to be claiming he’s ridding the world, or at least Ukraine, of a Nazi-dominating influence. If it were true, and if he were obeying international law, he’d be doing a good thing wouldn’t he? And so, wouldn’t that be courageous?

Courage is 

Facing odds for the sake of what is “the good”, and taking action under dangerous circumstances, no matter the outcome, seems to me to be a stance or act within the realm of demonstrating courage.

And surely in order for an action to be considered courageous, it must be an action that is deemed noble, good, self sacrificing, virtuous. What the Ukrainians do in showing steadfastness and kindness toward their Russian invaders is courageous.

As for what Putin is doing? Let us allow History to define his actions. The aggressor is rarely seen as virtuous. If Nazism has any strength in Ukraine and is a threat to the world, then maybe Putin will be sparing us a recurrence of World War II…. But to provoke World War III in order to achieve it is hardly a gain in the process.

4 comments

  1. Thank you dear Sarah for your post and insight. I appreciate your and your questions and insight from both spiritual and practical perspectives. Love from Canada!

  2. Dear Sarah thank you for your article. You have captured the political and spiritual fight that is going on. The Ukrainians have shown tremendous courage and strength and I pray for the deliverance of that nation. A dear friend with her 9year old son had to drive for 3 days to finally find a resting place in Greece. I find it hard to pray for Putin but hold the Russian people in my prayers. The Lord will deal with Putin. During the season of Lent the people are suffering greatly and I believe the Lord is in their midst, they tower and strength. Stay blessed. Sheila Essex

  3. Bless you, Sheila. Yes, all caught in this war need our love, encouragement and prayers. I’m sure many you encounter will be encouraged by your response.

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