Certain metaphors are inherently contradictions, at least when one thinks about them. Taking the “high ground” is one that I continue to find intriguing. My research suggests the phrase comes from a military based strategy. It centers on having superiority, high ground, the better shot, and domination. I often find the phrased used when recommending a superior moral choice. Along with the obvious implications, I find people assume that the metaphor includes suggestions of winning, victory, and being in a different classification.
The contradiction lies in the simple observation that compassion is not concerned about winning. Mercy ignores the climb to the top. Acceptance suggests and strives for equality, community, and shared opportunity. The tactics and strategies employed by those embracing this mantra is simple, direct, and transparent. One practitioner made this observation; “For a long time now, I've let you in on the way I work: I told you what I was going to do beforehand, then I did it and it was done, and that's that.” (Isaiah 48.3)
Because of this approach to high ground, the opposing force has an inherent opportunity. Self knows what it needs to do in order to win. Greed can see the holes it can exploit. Manipulators easily sense the locations where vulnerabilities exist.
Given the opportunity, many believe their options include anything but high ground. Evil appears to be superior, winning more often than not. Good seems constantly in retreat, often presented as something mandatory, obligatory, or required.
I find that experiencing God teaches me something radically simple. If I want to live life to the fullest, I embrace compassion. If I want to experience the best, mercy is a fantastic ticket. If I want see the ultimate, acceptance is an incredible key.
High ground is not about winning; God has already done that. High ground is about seeing beauty, experiencing awe, and discovering the best in life. The choice is not for those with a weak heart. High ground is about courage. We can win because God wins. We can live with God. Everything is possible.
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