"nothing shall hurt you"

Following a thought from yesterday (especially that passage from the Tao Te Ching), I remembered this quote by Dorothy Day:

"What is all this talk about radioactivity in the milk of the middle west? My feeling is that we should be like the three children in the fiery furnace, singing canticles to the Lord. If we take up any deadly thing it shall not hurt us."

Then, this morning at breakfast, we read these words of Jesus (similar to those Dorothy Day referred to):
"Behold, I have given you authority to tread upon serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy; and nothing shall hurt you." (Lk 10.19)

These are encouraging words. But maybe a little hard to find application for in our daily lives. (Unless you live in Texas, maybe--scorpions?) But I think they're actually very relevant. Because, even if we don't fear serpents or scorpions, we often do fear our environment. Or feel oppressed by the people around us, by the systems that seem to control the world in which we live.

Don't Jesus' words apply just as well to those threats? "I have given you authority... over all the power of the enemy; and nothing shall hurt you."

And I think this becomes even clearer when combined with another teaching of Jesus:
"There is nothing outside a person which by going into them can defile them; but the things which come out of a person are what defile them." (Mk 7.15)
Nothing outside us can defile us, taint us, corrupt us. Nothing outside us can control us, make us do the wrong thing, or limit our options to "lesser evils." Nothing outside us can hurt us, even, not hurt who we really are. Unless we let it.

Unless we surrender to it. Unless we retaliate. Unless we take the evil in and become part of it, give ourselves to it, grow it.

But we never have to. Not because of our own strength, but because of God's (which is far greater than "the world" or any power of evil). If we will only not give up, if we will only have faith and wait to be shown the Good, then God will always open a way.

This is freedom.