January 14, 2023
No Conflict in Context
Are these conflicting statements?
"He who lives by the sword shall die by the sword?"
"I came not to bring peace, but a sword."
"Blessed are the peacemakers...."
I think not.
MLK, theologically and Ghandi, philosophically, embraced the ethic of non-violence as a lifestyle and means of social change.
Jesus meant it.
King demonstrated what it meant to bring a sword to the party ... but it was not King bringing the sword in hand to use against others.
Nor was it Ghandi.
Nor was it Jesus.
People said, in my day, of King, that whenever he had marches, there was violence, implying that he caused the violence.
He did not cause it; he responded to the daily violence being inflicted on humanity. He confronted and condemned it.
But it followed him and Ghandi and Jesus.
So ... they "brought swords" not of their own nor for their use ... but to be used against them.
One need not shy away from the label of a Christian pacifist and non-violent resister of injustice because of the sword quotes of Jesus.
One must respond as Jesus did - to resist the evil, but not the edge of the sword.
And King did not just stand for the abuse, but, like Jesus, moved toward it ....
And led the way for each of us ...
to resist evil even at the cost of our own blood.
That is how we become peacemakers in a world of violence and injustice.