When Jesus was born, Simeon prophesied to Mary about the revolution coming to Israel through her son.
The prophecy indicates that Jesus would expose what was in the hearts of people. The sword would divide in such a way that some would rise while others fall.
Jesus would be spoken against in the context of His people Israel.
Not even His own mother Mary would escape the sword of Jesus. Her heart would be penetrated by the sword. This would prove to be true as she walked with her Son and witnessed the persecution against Him. His strong words would hurt and correct even her.
So that no-one takes on a persecution complex and blames their dysfunction on others, Jesus gives us a clue to the way through misunderstandings and tension that result from following Him. Those who lay down their lives, find their life.
When you find yourself in conflict, lay down your life. Give yourself away. Take the servant role, not the master. As much as it is possible, be at peace with everyone. Turn that other cheek. Go that extra mile. When your spouse does not share your beliefs, love them anyway. Do not turn your back on your family, even when they are wrong.
Following Jesus does not always end ‘happily ever after’ in every relationship. There will be tears to be wiped from our eyes when we see Jesus. Some of the tears will be for having endured great difficulty and hardship in this world. ‘Happily ever after’ belongs to the new world.
In learning to let go of our fearful demands, we possess a new quality of life based in God’s love. The sword of Jesus’ words severs us from fear and frees us for love. We do not have to be understood or accepted in order to know God’s peace and abiding Presence. It is in losing our self-centredness, that we find the joy of being Christ-centred.