Friday, April 9, 2010

When the Pen Becomes A Sword

The ability to express oneself in the form of the written word is a true gift from God.  Not everyone is able to effectively accomplish this, regardless of their verbal eloquence or higher education.  Many uneducated men and women became some of the greatest authors in history, filling library shelves with well-written tomes worthy of reading.  The necessary tools are elementary: a pen and a passion to transfer thoughts onto paper.  This passion, this deep-rooted love for words, drives the writer to convey opinions, reveal truths or falsehoods, or weave tales of adventure, intrigue, humor, or life’s ups and downs.  But if we fail to remember where the gift has come from, it can also be used to inflict damage or cause pain to the reader at which it is aimed.

It can be safely said that the pen has inflicted as many fatal wounds as the sword, because the source of the written word is the heart.  Unsheathed, the pen is able to cut to the very marrow of a man’s soul.  Unbridled, it has the capacity to slice through tender hearts, rendering them broken, despondent, or creating an incurable wound.  If the heart’s enemy is allowed to take hold of the pen and wield it as a weapon, the damage it inflicts can be devastating and life-threatening.  The writer who brandishes the pen of arrogance or hatred causes it to be a sword of destruction rather than a tool of instruction or enlightenment.  And, I might add, no writer is immune from using it in ways it should not be used, including this one. 

There are times when the pen should become a sword, but its use in this way should be reserved for times of necessity; for encouragement, correction, and even rebuking.  It is the method by which the pen is used as a sword that proves its effectiveness.  It should never be used to slay the heart or empty it of its lifeblood.  Rather, it should be applied as a surgical instrument that gently cuts out any offensive parts, leaving a wound that can heal the flesh surrounding it with greater strength than it had before.  

Our Lord Jesus Christ stated that He came not “to bring peace, but a sword” which would divide, setting us apart from others, and cause conflict because of our commitment to God (Matthew 10:34-36).  His coming, as described by Simeon, promised a piercing of not only His mother, Mary’s, soul, but our own (Luke 2:35), for the word He brought, the sacrifice He made, would pierce and convict us of our sin and the need for His intervention.

In the apostles' letters in the New Testament, they illustrate for us the proper usage of the pen as a weapon for God and eloquently demonstrate how, if used effectively, the written word of God is able to penetrate the heart of man, convict him, and lead him towards salvation and righteousness.  The Sword of the Spirit, as described in Ephesians 6:17, is the written word of God.  To the person whose desire it is to wield it in service to Him, he should always apply the apostles' method and check his Source before it is unsheathed, never allowing arrogance or pride to cling to it and cause destruction.

The power of the written word comes from the heart.  It is conveyed to the pen we hold in our hand and written onto the blank page before us.  Like spoken words, once published for the world to see, written words are hard to take back.  If we, as writers, pause before the first stroke of the pen and ask God to provide us with His wisdom and His word of truth, which is “living and active" and “sharper than any double-edged sword,” (Hebrews 4:12) then the dynamics with which we write may just cause a reader to decide for Him.  The result will then be a manuscript we can humbly take pride in, for the true Author has written it.

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