The counter cultural message of Jesus invites us to embrace a life of total non-violence, and to follow him. If we insist on participating in violence or violent social systems, Jesus contends that this will have the potential to place us on the receiving end, of the very tool we use.
Here’s a great example of what Jesus taught when he said: “He who lives by the sword will die by the sword”.
As reported by the Telegraph, Syrian rebels have apologized after accidentally beheading a fellow rebel commander by mistake. As the Telegraph reports:
“Militant Islamist rebels in Syria linked to al-Qaeda have asked for “understanding and forgiveness” for cutting off and putting on display the wrong man’s head.”
Yup– they beheaded someone they thought deserved it. Turns out, it was a fellow rebel commander who had recently gone missing.
He who lives by the sword will die by the sword, Jesus reminds us.
Here’s what we can learn: a propensity for violence is at the heart of the human condition– this isn’t simply something terrorists participate in; our culture has its own problem with violence. When we continue to participate in these violent systems, we become part of the system even when we think we’re fighting against it. Take for example, the argument that the solution to America’s gun violence is for more people to carry guns. Our foolish “solution” is to invite more people to participate in a violent system, thinking we can somehow beat the system buy active participation within the confines of such a system.
When we participate in violent systems long enough, we stand a chance of being on the receiving end of the system we helped feed… as Mohammed Fare found out the hard way.
It’s easy to look at a story such as this and feel distance from it, since you and I are not terrorists. However, let us not forget that you and I are continually invited to participate in a never ending cycle of human violence. In our “flesh” the logical answer seems to be: jump in, and fight the system from within the system.
But these systems don’t work that way.
Jesus, however, invites us to fight the system by refusing to participate in it.
If you live by the sword, you will die by the sword.
If you participate in violent systems, you will only feed violent systems.
Jesus offers a different way, a different life, and freedom from the system.
I urge Christians everywhere– become Jesus followers, and start refusing to participate in this worldly system of never-ending violence.
Because he who lives by the sword, will die by it.