Coming Back Around
Recent events have reminded me of an old saying. Some years ago, a former pastor of mine and I were having a conversation about a fellow minister who had been terminated from his position. Strangely enough, he had been found guilty of the very action for which he had terminated ministers who worked with him. My former pastor summed up his thoughts by saying, “You know, if you live by the sword, you die by the sword.” I’m not sure he knew the origin of that idea, and I certainly did not until recently. “Live by the sword, die by the sword” is a proverb in the form of a parallel phrase, which can be traced back to the ancient Greek dramatist Aeschylus in 458 BC. The saying appears in similar form in Matthew 26: 52, where a disciple of Jesus draws his sword and cuts off the ear of a servant of the high priest (though the follower’s identity is left unspecified in Matthew, the follower is identified in John, as Simon Peter). Jesus then says to him: “Put your sword in its place, for all who take the sword will perish by the sword.” The idea is that whatever you do to others, is likely going to come back to haunt you. The more modern way of saying this is, “Whatever goes around, comes around” meaning, according to Wiktionary, a person’s actions, whether good or bad, will often have consequences for that person. Again, in other not so modern words, Paul proclaims, “whatever a man sows, that will he also reap” (Galatians 6:7). It then behooves all of us to live by another statement from the Apostle Paul, “Be kind to one another” (Ephesians 4:32).