Don’t Cut Their Ear Off!
Don’t Cut Their Ear Off!
I read the story today in Luke 22 about Peter cutting the ear off of the servant of the High Priest as the men approach to arrest Jesus. I have heard this story so many times before and never thought too much of it; today something knocked the wind out of me as I read it. Peter, trying to defend Christ, cut off the ear of an enemy of Christ. Jesus, unimpressed by this violent act reached out and healed the ear of his enemy! What struck me was how many times, even in the “name of Christ” do we cut someone to pieces when Jesus longs to heal them and make them whole?
Peter obviously loved Christ. Unfortunately he was often impulsive and self-seeking, never understanding while Christ was still with Him, the full reason Christ came. At the moment in the garden when Christ was threatened, Peter wanted to protect Christ and was probably more than a little scared for his own life as well, thus raising his sword and cutting the guy’s ear off. But Christ knew this was part of God’s plan so he commanded, “No more of this!” While He could have left it at that, He reached out and healed the servant’s ear; one of the very men who had come to take Him prisoner. Can you imagine what that man must have felt? This one story displays how to show the love of Christ to others.
I can greatly identify with Peter. I love Christ deeply and so desperately want to serve Him but I often, when facing an enemy, let my human desires for justice overrule the example Christ set. I often want to hurt someone with my words or put them in their place. I can spend hours thinking of just the right, oh-so-witty, put-you-in -your-place, long-winded speech that I would hand to the person if given the chance. I am sorry to say that too often, especially before I began studying the Bible that is exactly what I did. I reached out with my words and cut someone to pieces. Sometimes I would even feel haughty about it! “Well, they really had that coming! Someone needed to put them in their place! Because, I mean c’mon!! They were just being nasty!!” But when I read this story today I clearly saw the model that Christ was in dealing with conflict. You see, we spend a lot of time cutting people to pieces while Christ spent His time putting people back together. He commands us to do the same. He does not say “cut their ear off!” In Colossians 3:12 we are told, “Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.”
Christ desired to reach out to people, heal them and restore them in His love. In John 4 when he was speaking to the woman at the well He didn’t call her an adulterer; He simply pointed out He was completely aware of her lifestyle and yet still offered her His living water. He talked with her and showed her compassion. Because of this she believed He was the Messiah and because of her testimony an entire town believed in Jesus. This is the example Christ leaves for us, reach out in His truth and love and show others the wholeness found in His love. This is not accomplished, in my opinion by pointing fingers or condemnation. Sure, we need to stand firm on the truths of the Bible but Christ’s example is clear: He was in the business of showing His love and offering His healing no matter what sin the person had committed, even to His enemies. This story has been a great reminder to put down my self-righteous sword and reach out with His healing love.