Politicians on every side are disagreeing and fighting with each other. The atmosphere is so ugly even everyday citizens lash out at the slightest difference of opinion. Father against son, mother against daughter, siblings refusing to speak to each other because they find themselves on different sides of the story. Anger is front and center of just about every conversation. Civility appears to have died somewhere among the hatefulness and name-calling. What a week this has been!

Oh, did you think I was speaking about our current generation? No! I’m referring to the Scripture that gives details about the week between Palm Sunday and Easter. Jesus causes quite a stir in His very short lifespan here on earth. His ideas are radical by just about everybody’s standard.

Politicians feel threatened by His powerful and growing popularity.

The religious leaders couldn’t agree before Jesus came; now that He is here, He speaks Truth that takes the wind out of their bloviating and self-promoting speeches.

The same Truth of Jesus also tenderly loves the misguided prostitutes and encourages a change of direction for their lives.

The great philosophers react stymied by the wisdom that challenges their most robust intellect.

The “sword” Jesus speaks about in the verse from Matthew is a metaphor referring to “the Spirit,” later explained as being part of “the full armor of God.” (Ephesians 6:17, NIV) Many times throughout the Bible the image of the sword is used to create a vivid understanding of God’s power. An actual sword is used to slice through hard and rigid material. God’s “sword” cuts through hard and rigid hearts that spew messages of hate as well as shallow lackluster worldly views.

People are the same throughout every generation. Just like the opening paragraph references the atmosphere of two-thousand years ago, striking similarities in our current climate of behavior make it sound like today’s breaking news story. Media fans the flames of unrest and hatred. Sadly, we appear to gravitate more to the things that divide us than unite us.

During this next week in recognition of the Greatest Gift to humankind through Jesus Christ, will you join me in fighting against the winds of division by exhibiting kindness and generosity of spirit? We can either be a messenger of peace or war. We have the power to choose.