Those who live by it, die by it

Posted: March 29, 2018 in Uncategorized
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Call it Karma. Or what goes around, comes around. Or Jesus’ words, “Those who live by the sword shall die by the sword.” Whatever you grasp, pursue, live in, is the bread cast on the water that comes back to you.

It was Thursday evening after the Passover meal, the last supper with his friends. They departed for the garden outside the walls, the garden of inevitability where Jesus prayed and waited and his disciples waited with him.

One of them appointed himself security for the garden, just in case of danger. He was packing … a sword. When they came for Jesus he leaped into action, slashing off an ear in the process. And that’s when we hear the unforgettable words that have tumbled down the centuries, sounding as though they were spoken yesterday: Those who live by the sword shall die by the sword.

No matter how much security we post, no matter how much we harden the garden, unless we actually listen to the truth of Jesus’ words, it will just keep coming round and round again. As long as we remain obsessed with power and preoccupied with violence we will become the targets of our own animus. We will poison our own well. We will launch the torpedo that circles and comes back for us. Mutually assured destruction.

Call this the power of attraction. If you live in hate you attract hate. If you live in love you attract love. Not always, but usually. If you live in threats, brutality and violence you attract the same. If you live by the sword you die by it, too.

That’s some of the logic in Jesus’ other teachings about non-violence, turning the cheek and so on. It’s hard to not return evil for evil. That’s so natural. When we live by retaliation it perpetuates the cycle of violence. Interrupting that cycle is hard spiritual work.

Jesus did that, he stopped the cycle with his own life, even though his disciple wanted to protect him. In fact, he turned his own maxim around. If you die by the sword you shall give life because of it. That’s why on any given day Jesus is so much deeper than I am. He says the hard true things and then does them. Me? Not enough or not at all. But I keep listening, waiting and watching, like some drowsy disciple who can’t seem to stay awake. But I see what he’s done. I hear the words. And maybe someday I will be ready to take the next leap and do the same. God willing, when much is demanded. God willing.

  1. says:

    Drowsy disciple? I don’t think so. I sent this off to my minister-type sister and brother-in-law and to some other family members. We had just had dinner and had been discussing security training in churches and my brother-in-law’s Methodist church in Lawson, MO had decided against it. And for the same reasons you outlined. However, they are heightened in awareness.

    Thanks as always.

    LOve, Patsy

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