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Matthew 26: 51 – 52

And behold, one of those who were with Jesus reached and drew out his sword, and struck the slave of the high priest and cut off his ear. Then Jesus said to him, “Put your sword back into its place; for all those who take up the sword shall perish by the sword.”

I want to tell you a little story today. It seems these days, some of my best moments come when I am riding my bike. Recently, on the night before a scheduled bike ride, I invited God to go on the ride with me the following day. On the day of the ride, I was riding along not thinking about anything. It was a beautiful day and if I was thinking of anything it was just about my legs going around. All of a sudden, I heard this thought go through my mind, “Counter force with reason, not force.” What? I knew it was Father, but I wasn’t thinking about anything this related to. I got the sense, though, that this was meant for a Word of the Day even if I wasn’t sure why. So, I said to the Father, “Well, if the Word of the Day is your intention, I will need a scripture.” Immediately, the event from today’s passage came to mind.

The soldiers went to arrest Jesus. Peter instantly countered force with force, but Jesus directed him to put away his sword. Then Jesus gave an interesting piece of wisdom. If you live by the sword, you die by the sword. This is applicable to more than wartime. This is a way of thinking. Ancient wisdom suggested a different, less forceful response. Father was saying to me, counter force with reason, not more force. I had about 20 miles to ponder this thought.

In the United States, we tend to apply force as a means to resolve a problem. I remember growing up hearing people say, “If it doesn’t fit, get a bigger hammer.” In other words, apply more force. This was my philosophy as well because that is how we are trained in this culture. It was all fine until I started trying to do yoga. When I was challenged with a pose, I would use more muscle, more strength to try to make the pose work. If you do yoga, you are probably laughing at me right now. It doesn’t work, does it? Eventually I learned to breathe and relax. Who knew? Oh yeah, God did. His attempt to lead us by the quiet waters is throughout the Bible but I am also reminded of the verse which led me into relaxation with Him, Psalm 46: 10, “Cease striving and know that I am God.” For God to show up on the scene we have to back down our amperage and allow Him to be God.

Civilization requires the application of reason. The solution isn’t always a bigger hammer or a bigger gun. Sometimes we can be smarter than the challenge, we can think and discuss and find solutions to life’s problems. I hope you will ponder this today and that it will help you.

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