“Put your sword back in its place,” Jesus said to him, “for all who draw the sword will die by the sword.” (Matthew 26:52 NIV)
You may know the story. Jesus had been arrested. This would never do. Hands off! This is God’s man! Peter jumps into the crowd with a sword and starts swinging. In the process, he manages to lop off the ear of Malchus, the servant of the high priest. Jesus tells Peter to put the sword away, and He reaches out and heals Malchus.
There’s an old saying: You don’t bring a knife to a gunfight. In other words, you gotta know what kind of battle you’re facing and arm accordingly.
Peter didn’t know what kind of battle he was facing. The real battle was the hatred of humanity vs. the love of God, the sin of the world vs. the spotless Lamb of God, the schemes of the enemy vs. the triumphant Son of God.
He was way out of his league.
Anyway, sometimes you need a different weapon. Let me give you an example. There was a person in my life who had a problem with alcohol. This made me angry. Alcohol was destroying the life of someone I loved. So I tried to intervene to stop it. I bullied her into giving me her booze. She gave it to me. I begged her to get help. I yelled at her for getting drunk.
Her response? She drank even more. I was with her in the emergency room once when the doctor said to me, “Based on her blood alcohol level, I don’t know how she’s still alive.”
Anyway, I was fighting with the wrong weapons. Like Peter, I was only making things worse. I can’t tell you the whole story, but I can tell you that God slowly started changing my heart. He helped me to see that she and I weren’t really that different. She was looking for a little bit of peace in her life just like I was. She made some dumb choices, but then so did I.
I tried out a different arsenal. Understanding. Respect. Patience. Kindness. Listening. Forgiving. Love.
Much stronger weapons. Much better results.
May God give us wisdom to know what kind of fight we’re fighting, and what weapons will really win.
PS. We talk about having a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. But what does that mean? How do you cultivate a meaningful relationship with God? The Inner Wealth resources for Saturday, 6/1/2019 will cover beginning a relationship with God, elements of a healthy relationship, sacred pathways, and how to hear the voice of God.