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When You Are A Hammer

Updated on July 13, 2012

I have been studying to become a hospice chaplain and during the course of the unit each student was assigned a mentor. My mentor is a really nice and kind man who is also very humble and very passive. I, on the other hand, am a man who loves peace, but always seems to be placed in positions of war. I love war. I write about it, I dream about it, I study about it. Now, the war I love is not one with gun fire, bombs and tanks. I have never been in battle and held my brother as he died. No, the kind of war I speak of is the war in the spiritual realm, a war that cannot be seen. However, I have seen people die, and I have beheld them in suffering. This is a fact. The battering of the soul is a war that is even more brutal than that of the flesh. The flesh can be destroyed, as well as the soul, but the difference is that no man can destroy the soul—only God can. And, He, in His divine mercy chooses not to destroy anyone. He may, when He returns, destroy those who did not believe in Him, but that is something that I dare not say. As I have said in many other of my writings—I am no one’s judge.

With that said, my mentor told me something that I have thought about, something that has given me a stirring of my soul. He said, some people are like hammers and some are like the nail. You, he said to me, are the hammer and everything you see is a nail. He on the other hand takes on the mantle of the nail. What does that mean to me? That does not mean that he would never fight for what he believes, but he is less inclined to raise hell against it. He is more apt to go will the flow. I, being the hammer, am more inclined to bash what I see before me. I am willing to crush my opposition, I am willing to go to war. However, the war that I fight is not one of flesh and blood, but of the Spirit. I do not want to lie down against the enemy, I do not want him to win. This world is my enemy—after all, I am a Christian—or at least I try to be. I often fail in my service to He that saved my soul.

But, it is really not that cut and dry—one cannot be only the hammer or only the nail, one must learn the balance of both. Sometimes it is time to be the hammer, sometimes it is time to be the nail, it really depends on the situation. It depends on what is going on. I really want peace in my life, but it seems that there is only turmoil and persecution. Some days, I do what I want to do in my life but usually I go with the flow. I follow the laws of God and of man. The only time I would go against the law of the land is if it went against the laws of God—it is that cut and dry. We must choose to live in peace with our neighbors. We must choose to be loving, accepting and kind and when you have those qualities you become a hammer of God.

My grandmother told me often—kill people with kindness, be loving, be a man of God. I try to do this with my life and some days it is very, very hard. When you are kind to someone who is mean to you, you become a hammer, not a nail. When you forgive someone who hurts or persecutes you, you become a hammer, not a nail. When you are holy to others, the holiness often times is seen by others and their soul is stricken with holiness—their conscience kills them as is said.

Now, on the other hand, being the nail is often important. A nail is sometimes very, very weak when only the tip has been pounded in, but when the full length of the nail is used it has great strength. And, when you have a million nails holding something together—it is hard to be broken. It is hard to be undone. But, both the hammer and the nail are used in the equation. You need the hammer to pound in the nail. And, the nail is worthless unless it is pounded in by the hammer.

The final thought I have about the hammer and the nail is this. It took both to crucify our Lord and Savior to the cross. And, we human beings controlled them both. He went to the cross willingly, but we made the choice to nail Him to the cross. He did it in love and it only took one hammer and three nails to save the whole of creation from death and hell.


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