Saturday, January 15, 2011

The Word of God: "Sharper Than Any Two-Edged Sword!"

"The word of God is living and effective,
 sharper than any two-edged sword, 
penetrating even between soul and spirit,
 joints and marrow, 
and able to discern reflections and thoughts of the heart." (Hebrews 4:12). These words from the Letter to the Hebrews speak of God's powerful and dynamic word, or self-communication. It may not be so odd to hear of God's word as "living" or "effective", but it may be a bit disconcerting to hear of how it is "sharper than any two-edged sword"!

I've pondered this "problem" of the "sharpness" or "cutting capacity" of God's word and have come to see the importance of this characteristic in "cutting to the chase" in order to bring truth into our lives and world. When I think of the sharpness of God's word, I think of a it as a "spiritual scalpel" of sorts. On the one hand, God's word can "cut to the heart" with a difficult or uncomfortable truth and bring a sometimes painful conviction. The prophets are a great example of persons who were inspired to speak God's words in such a way that they would "prick" people's conscience and hopefully mobilize them to act and change their lives. On the other hand, God's word as a spiritual scalpel can serve a healing function by lancing the wounds that we carry in our mind, heart, spirit, and soul, bringing about healing in our relationship with God and others. As an example of this, I think of the wounds that have been caused in the minds, hearts, spirits, and souls of persons when God is portrayed poorly and wholly inadequately as a detached judge who simply logs our faults, failings, and foibles. Such wounds can very often only be "lanced" and healed by the words of scripture (or the inspired words of a friend) that offer other images of God that depict him as friend, confidant, partner, comforter, consoler, counselor, rock, refuge, shield, etc. God's word as a "spiritual scalpel" is precisely what makes God's word "living" in the sense that it has the capacity to bring about tremendous transformation and healing. However, whether God's word actually does this largely depends on how well God's word is understood, mulled over, and digested and than used as a "spiritual scalpel" or instrument of healing and transformation not only by what we say, but through how we live our lives. Pat, TOR