“It’s because he’s being kind. Just as he was kind to give me the bread. The idea pulls me up short. A kind Peeta Mellark is far more dangerous to me than an unkind one. Kind people have a way of working their way inside me and rooting there. And I can’t let Peeta do this. Not where we’re going. So I decide, from this moment on, to have as little as possible to do with the baker’s son.”
I had a friend in college that was known for being, well, let’s say feisty…especially with boys. She finally confessed and apologized to a guy she had been particularly defensive with. She said that the reality was that she was hurt, but it was easier to be angry than hurt. You see, anger is a strong emotion, but hurt makes you vulnerable, it opens you up. She chose to respond in anger rather than admit her hurt because anger kept her defended, strong, less vulnerable, impenetrable even.
Katniss acts the same way. I realize the games gave her good reason to want to stay strong through any means, but I think the games only intensified what was already her standard reaction. Whether circumstances had made her that way or it was just her nature, Katniss tended toward emotions that kept her strong and defensive, rather than those which might open her up and make her weak or vulnerable.
The problem with this is that Katniss struggled to trust in love, kindness, or goodness. She was afraid of it. She was afraid because she longed for it but didn’t believe it. She saw this as a weakness. She decided to protect herself, to cut herself off from Peeta, to avoid him as much as possible.
Fortunately for Katniss, she didn’t end up sticking to her resolve. She needed Peeta and his kindness. Her vulnerability to him became her salvation.
We are not created to live in isolation. Even God himself lives in community—the Trinity, God the Father, God the Son, and the Holy Spirit, all living as one in perfect unity and harmony. We are created in His image, with the same need for unity and harmony in community both with God and man. In order to live in community, though, we have to be vulnerable to others. We have to trust, we have to give, and we have to accept love and kindness (as well as give it).
It’s risky, but the payoff is big. Ecclesiastes 4:12 says that “A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken.”
It may seem a weakness to lean on others, to need others, but the reality is that there is strength in numbers, and when we lean on others, we have numbers.
The first place to start is with the Lord. He is trying to love you, to be kind to you, to help you. He has no hidden agenda. He only wants what is best for you. Do you trust that? Jeremiah 29:11 says, “‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’” Believe it. Allow yourself to be vulnerable to the Lord. His love will save you from anything that the games of life can throw at you.
Questions for Discussion:
- Do you struggle to trust other people?
- Are you skeptical when someone is kind to you? Do you wonder what they want from you or what it is going to cost you?
- Who are the Peetas in your life—the ones who are trying to give you kindness and love, the ones who you may or may not really trust?
- Who are the people you lean on? Why? What makes them people you trust and depend on?
- Have you ever been in Peeta’s shoes, trying to love someone, to be kind to them, but they won’t let you—for some reason they don’t trust you or avoid you or are even hostile to all your efforts at kindness?
- What about your relationship with God? Do you trust Him? Do you trust that He loves you? Do you trust His kindness to you? Or do you try to distance yourself from Him, ever doubtful, ever wondering what He really wants?
- How would it change your life if you did trust (fully) that God loved you, could be trusted, and was working out details in your life to give you hope and a future?