Cut It in Two – Win, Win.

Basket of Figs, October, 2008

Bud Powell



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And the king said, Bring me a sword. And they brought a sword before the king.    And the king said, Divide the living child in two, and give half to the one, and half to the other.  Then spake the woman whose the living child was unto the king, for her bowels yearned upon her son, and she said, O my lord, give her the living child, and in no wise slay it. But the other said, Let it be neither mine nor thine, but divide it. 1Kings 3:24-26


Solomon, the wisest of men.  In this famous story two harlots quarreled over which of their babies died and in the night and who should have the living child.


Why was Solomon Smart? Solomon offered to cut the child in two.  He was not smart because of this. He was smart because he knew the nature of a mother.  He was not an ontological agnostic [OA]  He knew that the real mother would rather give her baby up than have it slain.  Not so the other harlot.  She would have the baby destroyed rather than lose the quarrel.  Solomon knew that it was possible to know reality


This seems very wise to the modern man to cut the baby in two.  Both sides win. Both mothers get half a baby.  The counselors congratulate themselves on their wisdom and tolerance.


Instead of trying to find out who the real mother is, just give both sides half.  Thus the peace-keepers of the modern world do not believe that it is possible to know which is the true mother.  Neither do they understand what a baby is.  Half of a baby is not a baby; it is a piece of dead meat.  You cannot nurse it; you cannot snuggle it; in a day or two you cannot even live with it.  Some things cannot be cut in two without destruction.


Cutting the baby in two can be a denial of reality.  Cutting the baby in two will not bring justice or healing. Sometimes it is hard to know the truth, but neither indifference nor laziness is wisdom or justice.  Justice is achieved by restoring the baby to its true mother and that is what Solomon achieved.  In order to do that he had to see reality.  His offer to cut the baby in two was a desire to see reality, not destroy the baby.


If truth falls in the street and blocks the way, equity cannot enter. [Is. 59:14]


Justice is not often served to say there is wrong on both sides and attempt the baby division solution.  Truth is truth and sin is sin and it is possible to know the difference.  Solomon showed us the way.  Putting on sheep’s wool does not transform the wolf into something besides a wolf. The good shepherd gives his life to gather the sheep; the wolf is like the bad harlot.  He would rather destroy the church than see anything of Christ.


The way of the ungodly is one of foolishness, disobedience, deception, service to divers lusts and pleasures, malice and envy, hateful, and hating one another. (Titus 3:3,4)  This spirit is the devil’s best work in churches.  It must be resisted by the godly or the church will be divided and ruined.  The solution is the power of the Gospel and the work of the Holy Spirit.  Grace needs to see clearly to confront reality, to resist the devil so that he flees. The biblical solution is, “Cast out the scorner, and contention will cease and the simple will be made wise.”  (Prov. 22:10, 21:11]  This baby cannot be divided; casting out half a scorner won’t do. We are not to give place to the devil.  Jesus didn’t.  Even Peter was rebuked by Jesus when he spoke for the devil.


“Buy the truth and sell it not,” is the way Solomon put it.  In another place He said, “Have not I written to thee excellent things in counsels and knowledge, That I might make thee know the certainty of the words of truth; that thou mightest answer the words of truth to them that send unto thee?” (Pr 22:20-21)  Don’t cut up the baby.  Find out who the mother is.  She is the one who loves the baby and is willing to lose it if that will save it.  We would not praise the policeman who counsels the lawbreaker to drive in the middle of the road.  Sin requires repentance, not half-way measures.  “He that answereth a matter before he heareth it, it is folly and shame unto him.” (Pr 18:13 AV)


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