Yesterday we celebrated the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. King was a proponent of new kind of protest, peaceful protest. The Civil Rights was a movement of nonviolent direct action working to expose and eradicate systemic segregation and racism across the southern United States. “Nonviolent resistance,” king wrote, is “a courageous confrontation of evil by the power of love”
The only thing more powerful than hate is love. But love fights differently than hate. Real love doesn’t rollover and die. It doesn’t sit around and sing kumbaya and ignoring injustice. Real love doesn’t throw up its hands and give up or turn you into a door mat where people wipe their feet. Real love fights back!! However, love fights differently than anything else.
Jesus is the ultimate example of love fighting. He is the essence of peaceful protest. We see this perfectly in the garden of Gethsemane when the mob comes to arrest Jesus. In this scene we see how wrong the disciples were when it came to Christ and His Kingdom. They wanted to establish Christ’s Kingdom through traditional means. The world has only one way in establishing a Kingdom, by show of force. But this is the thing, God’s Kingdom isn’t established by force, but by choice. Love fights differently!
Peter does what we often do when our plans, power, or way of life is threatened. He starts swinging. He fights back but he goes about it all wrong. This is why instead of helping Christ’s cause, he hurts it. That’s the irony! Peter’s effort to protect God’s Kingdom (or what he thoughts was God’s Kingdom), and overthrow Rome, actually jeopardizes God’s Kingdom and causes the very thing he was trying to prevent.
Unfortunately, recently, I have seen Christians hurting the cause of Christ by trying to help it. Defensiveness, anger, hostility, ego, driving too much of our motives and conversations. People do not want to talk to you about your faith because they’re afraid of getting cut, jabbed, or stabbed. Someone ends up getting hurt from Peter’s swinging. The High Priest’s servant’s ear gets cut off. Ears are what we hear with. Peter has just made it harder for this person to hear Jesus. Are your actions, or arguing, making it harder for people to hear Jesus? Yes, love fights but remember love fights differently.
In Revelation 13:11 it says: “then I saw another beast rising out of the earth. It had two horns like a lamb and spoke like a dragon.” Revelation 90% symbolic. All the ghosts and ghoulies and long-legged beasties represent something else. Whenever Revelation refers to “a dragon” it’s referring to Satan. Whenever it talks about “a lamb” it’s referring to Jesus. In His Gospel John records John the Baptist saying of Jesus, “behold, the lamb who takes away the sins of the world”
In Revelation, we have a power that looks, and identifies with the lamb (Jesus) But it speaks, and acts, like a dragon. Before you apply this prophecy to anything, or anyone, else you have to first apply it to yourself. Before you worry about the Dragon in someone else, deal with the Dragon in your mouth, your mind. Before you identify the beast in Revelation 13, identify and address the beast of hatred in your heart. According to Revelation someone can call themselves a Christian, even look like a Christian, while speaking and acting like a dragon. In Matthew 12:34 Jesus says to religious leaders, (not secular) “you brood of vipers(dragon). How can you speak good, when you are evil? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.”
When faith is forced it harms more than it helps. Just like Peter, when we start swinging, jabbing, fighting, defending, we usually end up severing someone’s ability to hear Jesus. Like Peter, we can think our coup is from Christ when in it’s actually from the enemy. If you call yourself a Christian than please stop speaking, posting, acting like a dragon. You’re not helping Christ’s cause you’re hurting it! Please “put your sword away—for all who take the sword will perish by the sword.” (Matthew 26:52).
The symbol of Christian power isn’t a sword, but a cross. The dragon tried to overthrow God’s Kingdom by force, with a coup in heaven, but failed. However, Christ, with the ultimate peaceful protest of the Passion, overthrew all the powers of hate and hell with one act of love. He didn’t defeat hate with a coup but with Calvary. “He disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them, in Christ.” (Colossians 2:15).
Martin Luther King Jr famously said, “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that!” Love fights! But remember, love fights differently.