As I listened to a friend whinge about his work, I realized he was describing an experience that occurs repeatedly. Those that should be allies often are not on your side. Others who are natural enemies are open to working together. One side unexpectedly plants mines along the path; the other plays a rescue role.
I listened, drifting back to forgotten memories. In hindsight, I do not think every landmine that I stepped on was intentionally placed. With reflection I think I gave my adversaries more credit than they deserved. I have no doubt that they were out to get me. Yet, there are times when landmines come from good intentions. What made sense in one context is deadly when things change. With both, the damage is the same! Landmines destroy parts of our souls, and at times do it in a way that the damage cannot be undone or repaired.
My response as I listened was twofold. First, walking, metaphorically as much as physically, through an area with landmines is never a good idea. The challenge is that metaphorically they are all around us. It gets increasingly difficult to know when one is safe versus when one is in danger. While that is true, I look back and realize that my actions, at times, gave reasons for others to plant the mines. Being careful, avoiding obvious dangers and treating others with respect is always a good idea. Simply put, the chance of landmines being all around you reduces if one holds onto these mantras.
Second, always remember that you are walking with landmines all around you. It cannot be helped. In the war between good and evil, evil is always active. One critical lifeline of hope comes through relationships. More eyes can create opportunities to stay safe.
Holding both viewpoints close in the past led one man to say, “They booby trapped my path; I thought I was dead and done for. They dug a mantrap to catch me, and fell in headlong themselves.” (Psalm 57.6) Mines do not recognize who is doing the stepping.