Matthew 26:52: “‘Put your sword back in its place,’ Jesus said to him, ‘for all who draw the sword will die by the sword.’”

Wer Feuer frißt, scheißt Funken. Literally – He who eats fire s**ts sparks. A masterpiece of German idiomatic art! It’s a warning – he who lives by the sword, dies by the sword.

If you can imagine a world not run by military power, then you can imagine God’s kingdom and what Jesus stands for. “But how else are we supposed to protect ourselves from a world infected by evil?” is the question of the day. Well, we’ve tried that approach ever since Adam left Eden, and it never intimidated evil or eliminated it. If anything, the cancer of evil has grown exponentially and infiltrated the entire fabric of human life. We’re hooked on the defense system, and it will take a revolution to change that, a revolution instigated by God Himself.

We all live in countries with a defense mechanism. We all witness violence, and we all are prone to use violence. The non-violent approach on the other hand is foreign to us. The way Jesus submitted to the Roman authorities set a precedent for all God’s children around the world. Jesus introduced us to a new chapter in the history of mankind, also illustrated in the Book of Isaiah. Isaiah described the future of mankind like this (Isaiah 2:4):

“He will judge between the nations
and will settle disputes for many peoples.
They will beat their swords into plowshares
and their spears into pruning hooks.
Nation will not take up sword against nation,
nor will they train for war anymore.”

The non-violent approach in our day-to-day lives will eliminate our all-too-common anxieties of having to defend ourselves. What do we have to lose? We don’t have to prove anything, and we don’t have to be right. If we speak up, it doesn’t matter if people agree or disagree, listen to us or ignore us. We might have something to say, but actually, so does the person next to us. So, before speaking up it would behoove us to listen first. By doing so, we show some respect. Have you ever noticed that listening goes a long way towards developing empathy? It turns enemies into human beings. We also appear more credible in any dispute if we hear our opponents out before putting in our own two cents. Jesus always listened before He talked, and He touched many people that way.

Can you see that with this kind of attitude it’s pretty hard to imagine advancing any cause, even a good one, at gunpoint?

So what if the ultimate evil happens and our very lives are in danger?  – Even though it’s very counter-intuitive, weaponry is still not the answer. It never was. Jesus demonstrated it. So did His followers. The Jesus movement has been opposed ever since its inception by being ignored, openly ridiculed, violently cut down, all to imply that the way of Jesus has no future and neither have God’s children – and yet the opposite is true: God’s children carry our future. What is considered unrealistic and impossible will be a “dream-come-true” one day. There will be a world without weapons. There will be a world not built on blood-shed and power abuse; instead God’s world will be built entirely on love; fact of the matter is that love completely overrides evil and is much more efficient than all our sophisticated weaponry combined.

Instead of self-defense, all our capacities and resources are used for life and growth in God’s Kingdom. As soon as we live according to the principles of life and love, God’s Kingdom sprouts and spreads. Looking around us, we may detect the beginnings of God’s kingdom right here, in front of our doorsteps. We too can jump on that bandwagon and become part of His kingdom today. There’s only one catch: Yes, you’ve guessed it: We have to let go of that sword!

“Give me love
Give me love
Give me peace on earth”      George Harrison

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