Reading the Bible from the other side requires us to understand the context of the world Jesus and the early church. The peace of the Roman kingdom comes at a high cost to those on the margins of society. Jesus, the Jewish people, the early church and foreigners all paid this cost. Peace through violent and oppressive means is only peace for some, and Jesus offered an alternative response to this violence.

Literally subjecting himself to the violence of this world, he offered us a vision for non-violent action that is far more powerful than fighting violence with violence. Our fight or flight instincts are so strong, they boldly lead us into an escalation of violence that ensures everyone loses at the end of the day.

Children offer us the perfect behavioural pattern: One finds a pencil on the ground and another claims it as theirs and takes it back. Frustrated, the first one screams and nudges, which is followed by a push, which is followed by a shove and finally an all out rolling brawl on the floor before an adult steps in.

Ironically, as the adult in that story, we often fail to see the exact same patterns in our own lives: frustration, anger, retaliation, repeat.

Jesus demonstrates an alternative path filled with humility and grace that doesn’t require us to swat the mosquito. How do you stop the “violence” in your life and impact the world around you?