Words and Swords

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We are our child’s first and most influential teacher. 


But the kind of teacher we are depends on the kind of heart we have because whatever is on our heart will spill out of our mouths (Matthew 12:34).


We do well then to diligently listen to Moses:

You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might…and you shall teach (these words) diligently to your sons” (Deuteronomy 6:5,7).


The Chaldean word for “teaching diligently” offers great insight. It’s just one word: “shanan” meaning to sharpen”. Regularly referring to weapons, it depicts the action of whetting and filing a weapon so that it can penetrate quickly and deeply.


In ancient warfare, there were two types of swords: a longer one used by the Celts and a shorter one used by the Romans.


The Celt’s sword looked terrifying.  They yelled and swirled it around in the air before chopping downward with it. With brute force, they hacked away at their opponents blow by blow. Because the enemy’s vital parts were protected by equipment and bone, this sword often mamed, but rarely penetrated. The effects were slow and painful.


On the other hand, the Roman legionnaires carried a small, razor-sharp sword called a gladius. Daily, they practiced thrusting these daggers in a very rapid back and forth motion. 


In combat, the Romans learned to move in close – in fact, too close for effective use of the longer sword. The gladius not only caught its opponent off-guard by its proximity, it could also make four stabs to every one swiping hack made by the longer sword.


Our tongue is the sword of our homes. With it, we can quickly penetrate to the heart of a problem or hack away on it for days without ever finding the root. It can be a close, quiet maneuver or a loud, disruptive one.


When we allow God’s Spirit to sharpen us, our teaching will be disciplined in speech, conduct, love, faith and purity. Our goal will be loving words matched by loving deeds. 


As we practice handling His Word accurately, family confrontations will be more akin to a surgeon’s scalpel than a dull sword. Conflict will result in healing, not bludgeoning. 


Yes, we are to discipline our children just as the Father disciplines us. Disciple trains them in endurance and the “peaceful fruit of righteousness”. Yet, our final purpose must be for building up, rather than tearing down .


During His final hours, Jesus spoke of having a sword ready. “Let him who has no sword sell his robe and buy one,” He instructed (Luke 22:36). Yet, it was the sword of the Spirit that proved powerful during His arrest, not Peter’s sword. “When therefore He said to them, ‘I am He,’ they drew back and fell to the ground….Simon Peter therefore having a sword, drew it and struck the high priest’s slave; and cut off his right ear….Jesus therefore said to Peter, ‘Put the sword into the sheath; the cup which the Father has given Me, shall I not drink it?'” (John 18:6,10-11).


So, tell me – does your home training program look more like the Celts or the Romans? Is your sword filled with the Word of Christ or of the violence of the tongue?