Thursday, August 13, 2015

Put Up the Sword – Replace the Ear


Driving down the interstate, perhaps the speed was a little above the limit, but car after car was passing at high speed. Then out of nowhere the state patrol vehicle with lights flashing pulled up behind the car and pulled it over.

The driver, Lee,  a dear family member was told that he had been stopped for speeding.   When he explained to the officer that every car on the road had been passing him at high speed and asked why he was being singled out,  the officer smiled wryly and said, “You were easier to catch.”  OUCH!!!

The very injustice of this made Lee’s blood boil.  It just wasn’t fair.

Maybe many of us have been faced with similar instances of  injustice on the human scene.  We often hear that “life isn’t fair”, but when it hits us personally,  witty sayings go out the window.   We just don’t understand why we are being singled out or punished!!

I have begun to see that the seemingly unfair, unjust act can actually be an opportunity to heal wrong thinking and bring us to a higher level of peace,  patience and loving thought.  

In an article called “Taking Offence,”  religious pioneer Mary Baker Eddy relates:     “There is immense wisdom in the old proverb,  He that is slow to anger is better than the mighty.”*     Hannah More, an English religious writer and philanthropist in the 1800s said,  “If I wished to punish my enemy, I should make him hate somebody.”  WOW. Hatred, harsh judgement, ill will are truly harmful to the “holder”!

A  great example of failing to react to injustice involves an incident from years ago.  A group of authorities and soldiers came to a small group of men  for the purpose of arresting one of them. One of the friends of the man to be arrested pulled out a sword and cut off the ear of  a member of the approaching mob.    The man to be arrested immediately told his friend to put up his sword, then he touched the severed ear and healed the man.  

Now the most  miraculous part of this is not that this man’s ear was replaced  without sutures or medical treatment, as amazing as that was, but the display of a very humble, fearless and  loving demeanor by the man to be arrested that resulted in a more peaceful confrontation  for all concerned, quelling  anger and retribution.

Of course, the Holy Bible contains that story. *   The man being arrested was Jesus of Nazareth and his friend with the sword was his disciple, Peter.  How unjust was this action by the High Priests against Jesus, a man of peace and goodness,  and certainly understandable was the anger and desire for retribution exhibited by Peter.   The desire to strike back, to “get even” and settle the score.   But as is so characteristic of Jesus of Nazareth, he explained to Peter that “people like us don’t do that”!!!

In that profound lesson that lives through time, Jesus showed how to replace a sense of injustice with healing kindness,  showing that evil and a sense of unfairness and  injustice does not deserve a violent  reaction, but only makes love and understanding more imperative.

Well, that was easy to understand!!
Guess I am outta here!
One occasion in my own experience stands out in my thought as a similar lesson.   I held a fairly high position in a large corporation and had a lot of responsibility. One day the Vice President called me in and told me I  was being terminated. Somehow we just had not seemed to click together as a management team and it had become obvious that something had to change. I wasn’t actually shocked, but felt such of sense of disappointment.  Certainly I wasn’t the problem, I thought,  and the temptation to strike out against my boss was very strong. I had worked very diligently  and effectively and the injustice of it all hit me hard.

As a student of the Bible and its lessons, which are still so appropriate centuries later, I reached out for help.    The story of replacing the ear was like guidance direct from Heaven!!!    In the Bible companion book, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, the author wrote:  "Evil has no reality. It is neither person, place, nor thing, but is simply a belief, an illusion of material sense.” ***   Jesus demonstrated this.  He saw evil as separate from person, as when he healed the man who was possessed by “devils”, mental illness and healed all manner of disease and sin.   He saw that the problem was evil and had no real part in the man.   

I saw that I could separate my manager from the problem and that I need not be incensed, embarrassed or hurt by the illusion of the human sense of life and his actions.

Another helpful thought from the Eddy article was: 
To punish ourselves for others’ faults, is superlative folly. The mental arrow shot from another’s bow is  practically harmless, unless our own thought barbs it.   It is our pride that makes another’s criticism rankle, our self-will that makes another’s deed offensive, our egotism that feels hurt by another’s self-assertion. Well may we feel wounded by our own faults; but we can hardly afford to be miserable for the faults of others. ****

 I felt a peace and calm come over me.
      The arrow that doth wound the dove  
        Darts not from those who watch and love.******

When we begin to understand the deep love and humility that Jesus displayed, and become true followers, we may be able to " put up the sword" and to “replace the ear” and love one another.    

*           Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures - Mary Baker Eddy p 71
 **        Taking Offence,”  Miscellaneous Writings -Mary Baker Eddy  p 224
***        Luke 22
****      Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures p22
*****    Miscellaneous Writings  p 24  
******  Hymn 30 Christian Science Hymnal  


Anonymous said...

This is wonderful! So clear and on the money and NEEDED to be heard. Thanks so much, as always, for your terrific writing and inspired sharing.

kelkmac said...

One of my favorite articles... ! Thank you so much :-)

Patrick Collins said...

Thank you Laura and Kelly! I so appreciate your support!!!

kevin said...

Thanks dad, this was much needed guidance for me right now.