It boggles my mind that nothing I've read so far on about Pope Francis and Kim Davis has come from a compassionate point of view. Almost all the articles have focused on whether or not Pope Francis was “tricked” into meeting with Davis. Many have screamed foul that a pope who has publicly supported non-judgment of homosexuals was actually a secret supporter of conservative reform movements.
I haven’t read anything that brings up the "love thy enemy" idea that Jesus himself seemed to be a fan of. In Matthew 5:44, Jesus is quoted as stating, “But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you” (NIV). To me, if Pope Francis was doing the Biblically Christian thing, meeting with his enemy and praying for her was completely in line with the work set forth for him by Jesus. Kim Davis is a human being, albeit a misguided one at this point. By speaking to her and/or praying for her, the Pope could have been hoping to change her heart on a much deeper level than just this issue. It takes a brave soul to face one’s enemy in peace rather than just throwing insults from behind the safety of an internet wall.
Davis claims that the Pope told her to "stay strong" which may also be taken completely out of context. Any of us who were in such a harsh national spotlight as she is would be under tremendous stress. It's the kind of thing that leads many people to commit suicide, something the Catholic Church is very much against. Staying strong may simply be a reminder to her not to give in to the negativity that is surrounding her. I certainly don't deny that Davis is attracting negativity to her through her own thoughts and actions, but she is still a human being who could learn, change and grow from this experience.
There seems to be a lot of amnesia around the Biblical stories of Jesus meeting with outcasts of his society; Pope Francis and Davis meeting certainly could fit into that image as well. Jesus helped the blind, the deaf, the lepers, the lame, the dead and the poor (Luke 7: 21-23). Jesus commanded his disciples to love one another (John 13:34). Jesus sang the praises of the Samaritan traveler who reached out in mercy to the Jew who had been beaten and robbed even though Samaritans and Jews were not on friendly terms (Luke 10:29-37). Furthermore, rather than encouraging the stoning of an adulterous woman, Jesus encouraged those without sin to throw the first stone (John 8:5-11). He was not afraid of working with the outcasts of his society and showing them compassion and forgiveness. By meeting with someone who is an unpopular outcast in our modern society, Pope Francis has laid an example for bridging divides and helping find peaceful resolution with those like Kim Davis who are filled with anger, hatred, and bitterness but who erroneously pinpoint their very human actions on God.
© 2015 Elizabeth Galen, Ph.D., Green Heart Guidance, LLC