A Japanese sword hangs on the office wall. Once a well-kept weapon during World War II, it now stands as a former soldier's reminder of the difficult time on the small island of Iwo Jima. Once sharp, it gleamed. Today, old and falling apart, its blade is dull and useless, no longer ready for battle.
Thinking of soldiers fighting today all over the world for their countries brings to mind the Bible's reference to another kind of sword: "The word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart" (Heb. 4:12).
The term "two-edged sword" is used throughout the Bible. Literally, it was a weapon of war. Figuratively, it's a weapon of spiritual warfare. The "Interpreter's Bible" records that it is "especially sharp and its user could do more cutting with it in combat. The emphasis, however, should be on the sharpness rather than on the sword."
That raises the question, how sharp is our "mental sword" in combating the fears, hatreds, and self-righteousness surrounding us? War is often based on these three elements. And when these elements are destroyed within thought, they will no longer express themselves on the battlefield. Our spiritual sharpness, then, can begin to separate and divide the fears, hatreds, and self-righteousness from ourselves first – in our own thought – and then from others. We can realize that no one's fear, no one's hatred, no one's self-righteousness can succeed because those emotions are not based in a good, all-powerful God. This will help eliminate those elements from our experience. Our spiritual sharpness, or discernment of what is God-caused, separates the real from the unreal, the true from the false, the right from the wrong, and they cease to be seen and felt.
This can be proved on battlefields closer to home. A woman who lived in a rough neighborhood where fights often broke out in the streets prayed daily to keep her mental sword sharp and alert. One Fourth of July, she was once again drawn outside onto her porch by the yelling and screaming of an upset neighborhood. She had witnessed the uproar before, but this time, because of her prayers, she felt led to do something. Small children were present, and the situation was getting more and more violent. She began to sing a hymn. But the noise was so loud, no one heard her. At first she thought she'd give up and go back inside, but instead she felt led to step off her porch, cross the street, and lift up her hands while saying at the top of her voice, "Happy Fourth of July! Happy Fourth of July!"
The violence began to subside until everyone involved stopped to look. The children quieted, and the neighbors began to disperse. For the rest of that day, there was no turmoil or fear in the streets; there was peace and calm.
Clearly, the phrase, "Happy Fourth of July" didn't have any particular healing message. But the woman had been praying, claiming the power of God. This became her sword of truth when she needed to calm the storm on the battlefield of her neighborhood. She had based her prayers on this sentence from "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures" by Mary Baker Eddy: "The calm and exalted thought or spiritual apprehension is at peace" (p. 506).
This blade of truth is one we can all access – one we can all wield. It's the blade of prayer, or spiritual right thinking, as taught and applied by Christ Jesus. It goes against anything that opposes God's goodness. Each of us possesses this blade and can wield it against whatever is not right in our experience – against all fears, hatreds, and self-righteousness.