When Cole turned 10, we gave him a red, Swiss Army pocket knife, which he carried with him everywhere. If we needed a piece of twine cut or a bottle opened, he was our man. (Emphasis on man.) The knife was a rite of passage; a symbol that we trusted him.

And it was a good thing we could trust him, based on what I learned yesterday.

Soon after Cole got the knife, his seven-year-old little brother, Cade, made a request. He wanted Cole to give him a scar on his face like Anakin Skywalker’s.

Cade thought Anakin’s scar looked tough. All it would take to create his own scar was a knife. His brother had a knife now. So if he could get Cole to flip out that blade and cut up his face near his eye, he’d be all set. He’d be ‘Anakin-ized’.

Somehow Cole’s additional few years allotted him wisdom enough to know that looking like Anakin was not a worthy goal. So he kept his pocket knife in his pocket, and didn’t carve his brother’s face. Which left Cade no choice but to resort back to using red marker on his face to make the scar. (I used to wonder how Cade always managed to get marker on the same place on his face…)

It takes wisdom to not give each other scars. It takes fortitude and grace and tenacity. When a family member wants to pursue a volatile ‘discussion’. When a spouse wants to slice through the progress made, and revisit the bitter past. When an adult child wants to disregard all you’ve done for him and cut ties. These are all invitations to flip open the knife and carve some scars into someone we love.

“But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere.” (James 3:17) Wisdom finds a way to keep pocket knives and tongues retracted, and make peace instead of scars.

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