Posted Jan 23, 2023 | Share this:

“Put away your sword,” Jesus told him. “Those who use the sword will die by the sword. Don’t you realize that I could ask my Father for thousands of angels to protect us, and he would send them instantly?”  ~Matthew 26:52-53.

Even Peter had issues with self-control and being emotion driven!  It is very easy for people to respond, in difficult situations, with aggression and contempt.  Those are the natural responses from a sinful world.  Jesus was teaching, in this situation, that we need to be different.  Restraining our gut responses is important and can be comforting.

When we use self-control less negative consequences occur and more of a positive ripple effect happens.  By giving grace and gentle answers, physical and emotional things stir within us.  Aggression is the biproduct of spiked Cortisol levels in the brain.  It can cause a person to have physical altercations, say things they don’t mean, harm another person, and do things they cannot take back.  When we give grace during the hard times we can increase the dopamine levels in our brains.  Dopamine causes a euphoric feeling, increases happiness, and improves quality of life.

Controlling our emotions improves quality of life.

Peter’s moment of weakness makes me feel better about choices I have made in the past.  Our choices are not what God is concerned about but the heart behind the choice.  There were many reasons Peter was reacting.  One of the men he had been doing life with for three years betrayed Jesus.  Betraying Jesus meant Judas was betraying the entire group.  Peter’s feelings were hurt by a friend.  He was trying to protect Jesus’s life.  More then likely all of the weapons the soldiers were wielding caused his testosterone to flare up to attack before being attacked.

That was not the way Jesus was wanting the situation to go down.  Surrounded by soldiers and being arrested, Christ reacted in love.  He educated Peter on the impact of his behavior and later repaired the man’s ear.  The man was probably amazed by Christ’s desire to care for his wound.

Jesus used restraint by not bringing down a legion of angels to attack the soldiers.  Restrained response to Peter’s behavior saved Peter’s heart from more damage.  Not fighting back when being arrested was His way of showing comfort to us, His death needed to happen.

Self-control is an attribute given by Him.   

He used self-control to pray all night, knowing the moment was near, when He could have been sleeping like the rest.  His entire ministry, even turning over the table, showed self-control.  He was the example of restraint and lived a loving life

Kids lack self-control and are extremely impulsive.  They have tons of energy and curiosity, both can be a bad combination.  A person’s brain is not fully developed until their mid-twenties.  That part of the brain, the frontal lobe, is the decision-making piece.  It controls our choices between right and wrong, identifying dangerous versus safe options.  Male development is usually around the age of 27 and female around 24.  This is why teenagers and young adults have poor problem-solving skills and lack self-control.  They tend to be driven my emotions and desires.

I wonder how old Peter was, at that time.

Parents get to be the restraint system for their children until they are old enough to potentially make wise decisions.  During a child’s development years, they are constantly putting things in their mouths and touching everything.  It is the system of input.  When we know they are about to do something risky we usually stop them before it starts.  Some kids can take the warning, internalize it knowing their parent can be trusted and so therefore they will comply.  Then there are those kids that just have to learn the hard way.

Kids that have to learn the hard way tend to have amazing life stories and testimonies to share but not without a price.  God would like us to take the easier route and use restraint in our decisions.  It brings comfort.  Lack of restraint will have real consequences that a person could be paying for the rest of their lives.  That is not worth the risk.

My sister was the girl who obeyed and trusted our parents’ warnings.  I was the risk taker that had to learn the hard way.  She went straight from high school to college, got married, had kids, and enjoys a nice life.  I did everything backwards, have tons of scars that look like excellent testimonies but it would have been so much easier the other way.  Yes those testimonies have helped me now and I have a beautiful life because of God’s grace.  I do believe, though, that my beautiful life would still be just as sweet without the wrong turns that I had to learn from.

Comfort comes from restraint because restraint prevents hazardous and unhealthy choices.


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