Yesterday was Memorial Day and though out the day I thought about nonviolence and wondered why we humans glorify and celebrate the use of violence and war, generation after generation. Today I felt pompted to pick up the book, When The Holy Ghost Is Come, by Samuel Logan Brengle, out of a stack of books that someone gave me about six months ago. I began to browse through it for the first time ever. To my surprise I came across a chapter called The Sheathed Sword: A Law Of The Spirit and these words:
Jesus said to Pilate, “My kingdom is not of this world: if My kingdom were of this world, then would My servants fight.” The natural man is a fighter. It is the law of his carnal nature. He fights with fist and sword, tongue and wit. His kingdom is of this world and he fights for it with such weapons as this world furnishes. The Christian is a citizen of Heaven and is subject to its law, which is universal, whole-hearted love. In his Kingdom he conquers not by fighting, but by submitting. When an enemy takes his coat, he overcomes him, not by going to law, but by generously giving him his cloak also. When his enemy compels him to go a mile with him, he vanquishes the enemy by cheerfully going two miles with him. When he is smitten on one cheek, he wins his foe by meekly turning the other cheek. This is the law of the new life from Heaven, and only by recognizing and obeying it can that new life be sustained and passed on to others. This is the narrow way which leads to life eternal, and few there be that find it, or finding it, are willing to walk in it.
This is the spirit and method of Jesus; and by men filled with this spirit and following this method He will yet win the world.
Your weapons are not carnal, but spiritual, now that you belong to Him and have your citizenship in Heaven. If you fight with the sword; if you retort and smite back when you are wronged, you quench the Spirit; you get out of the narrow way, and your new life from Heaven will perish.
‘But will not people walk all over us, if we do not stand up for our rights?’ you ask. I do not argue that you are not to stand up for your rights; but that you are to stand up for your higher rights rather than your lower rights, the rights of your heavenly life rather than your earthly life, and that you are to stand up for your rights in the way and spirit of Jesus rather than in the way and spirit of the world.
If men wrong you intentionally, they wrong themselves far worse than they wrong you; and if you have the spirit of Jesus in your heart you will pity them more than you pity yourself . . . ‘Put up thy sword into the sheath,’ and take mercy and truth for your weapons, and God will be with you and for you, and great shall be your victory and joy.