It’s almost palpable.
You feel some refreshment on your tongue but it’s paired with a grimy, black substance that stains your teeth. What’s worse, is it makes you nauseous almost before you swallow. We live in a society that values the middle. We choose words like extreme, radical, nuts, and crazy who refuse to fit into the middle-the comfortable. Any debate, idea or scenario is praised if it is resolved by reaching somewhere in the middle. Why is this? Is this where the truth is always found? Has wisdom given rise to the belief that truth is consistently in the middle?
Or have we stopped searching for truth but compromise? It seems that we have removed all bets from finding hard truth and piled all our efforts into reaching a soft agreement. Just look around, search your friends, grab some coffee with a co-worker, my bet is that you will taste what I am tasting. Listen carefully, measure each word, and you will hear just how many people desire the middle. Perhaps you will meet a rare friend or two who stand firm, who seem to be set, who are unwavering. Hold onto these friends. For people are falling in love with “peace” far faster than they are with the truth. Peace might go down smoothly but it comes back up every night until you are exhausted and out of breath; yearning for truth.
For those who confide in the Lord, who eat and drink His scripture, and have been called to His table, this is a reality check. The Bible is filled with radical ideas, and extreme people. The same words we negatively apply to people who are “too firm” in their beliefs are not even heavy enough to describe the crazy preaching found in the Word. Radical and extreme are just the beginning. Jesus’s message caused uproar. And it should. Turning the other cheek ( Matthew 5:39), going with a stranger 3 miles when all he asks is 1 (Matthew 5:41), loving and praying for your enemy (Matthew 5:41), and finally Matthew 10:34 reads, “Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace but a sword.”
Let the reality of that sink in. Really let that wash over you. My, your; our savior and our God said he did not come to bring peace but a sword. A sword that divides, a divide that we wish wouldn’t happen but God knew it would. For, “The light shines in the darkness but the darkness has not understood it.” (John 1:5) We hate not understanding. We are prideful creatures who all too often choose hate to fill the gaping void that a lack of understanding leaves. There are two options that God graciously gave all his handcrafted, image bearers to consider. The first is total submission, acceptance, sacrifice. This is rewarded with experiencing the complete joy and peace that comes with accepting His son and His ways. The second, is choose compromise, allow to worship some of this and some that; settle. This is rewarded with sipping on dark, diluted water; spending many nights throwing up the same substance that went down so smoothly hours before.
Everything we do carries so much power and weight. We have power not because of our physical possibilities but because of what lives and breathes inside of us. The same spirit that rose Jesus from the grave lives in His sons and daughters. The salt and light that we have is not just a nice side deal, it is not a bonus to the already exceptional life, it is life. We should bare a sword because anything that gets in the way of this life is darkness. Our love for Christ and for our brothers and sisters should push us to not just meet in the middle. This love should not settle for an “all paths lead to heaven sermon.” This love should overturn tables. Like this.
Our lives should be clear, they should be sharp and they should be showered in love. If we do not experience hatred, criticism or mocking because of Jesus we need to invite God in with a sword. We need to let God bring a sharper and more dangerous sword than any of us can create. This sword is created in us. The edges become sharp when we see our Father’s face being spat on and our Savior’s loving commands being trampled on as we witness the only creatures who have been made in the image of the Creator, behaving as if they created themselves.
Our God does not meet in the middle. Our Creator is steadfast, firm, and abounding in love. He loves you and I too much to compromise. He has far too great of plans. The taste of compromise should be enough to make us vomit. It should push us over the edge and make us hurt and pray for those who drink it daily. It should enrage us that someone is still pouring this substance. One sip should push us to show others the true water-that will take the thirst away forever and that brings true peace.