- Uvalde. Police were holding parents back while their kids were being slaughtered.
- Buffalo, New York. Racist killer shooting 13 black people.
- Waukesha, Wisconsin. Racist killer running over 50 white people in a parade.
- Chicago any day of the week.
- San Francisco and Los Angeles, where the officials don’t even prosecute anymore. Criminal free-for-all.
- Greenwood, Indiana. Guy plans mass murder in a mall but is thwarted.
- Little Rock, Arkansas. The weekend of August 13-14. Sixteen shootings, one guy, driving around and taking shots at people. I go through two of those spots 5-6 days a week.
Predators hunting, and those who protect dropping the ball in four of those cases. In the Greenwood incident, the guy shot three people.
Before he could target number four, a citizen shot him from 40 yards away.
Which one of these was loving their neighbor?
Self-defense, use of force, violence; how should Christians approach this?
Jesus said turn the other cheek. He also said sell your extra cloak and buy a sword (Luke 22:36).
Yet, he also said those who live by the sword would die by it.
Let’s look at these.
Turning the other cheek. In an honor/shame culture, a slap is a devastating insult.
Jesus didn’t advocate throwing hands here. It was taking that backhand and turning the other cheek. Now you can only be smacked by the palm.
That allegedly carries a different message.
I’ve heard that this is a quiet resistance because you only use the right hand to slap someone. The left was unclean.
I don’t know how much of this is true.
When I was a kid, I heard a pastor say, “That was their one free shot. I’m about to run out of cheeks.”
We’re still talking hand to hand. What about a threat that’s greater than hurt pride or feelings?
At the time, at least two of Jesus’ disciples were strapped. They had at least two swords.
Bandits, revolutionaries, and robbers were a thing.
When Peter swung that sword when Jesus was arrested, he thought the revolution was kicking off.
It was, just not how he thought it should be.
The principle is Defense, not conquest. Don’t live by the sword, but know how to use it.
Train at all levels. Physical, mental, and spiritual. Use of force, unarmed and armed. First Aid.
Wherever you are, it should be safer by your presence.
What about the meek inheriting the Earth?
Meeking is what you did to a horse. You brought all that power and strength under control.
In our case, under Jesus’ control as Lord.
Two quotes to consider.
“You should be a monster, an absolute monster, and then you should learn how to control it.”Jordan Peterson
“Whoever fights monsters should see to it that in the process he does not become a monster. And if you gaze long enough into an abyss, the abyss will gaze back into you.”Friedrich Nietzsche
So moderation is in order, with some limits.
“God will protect me.”
Yes. I am sure He’s saved me from stuff I never knew was coming. Elisha had an army of fiery chariots surrounding him.
I think of Nehemiah praying and then working with a spear in one hand and a trowel in the other.
“This is antithetical to loving others.”
As I said at the start, in that Indiana mall, who was loving others more? The mass shooter or the one who put him down?
Here’s another quote to ponder.
“A harmless man is not a good man. A good man is a very dangerous man who has that under voluntary control.”Anonymous
Consider this, that would make Jesus the most dangerous man walking the planet before he returned to heaven.
If a person has the capacity and capability for violence, it is better if the Christian moral compass guides them.
They love you and want what’s best for you. However, they’ll stop you if you’re a threat to them or others.
Not for revenge, though. They stop when you stop.
You don’t have to hate someone to use force on them. You can “other” by behavior.
Do this, and this happens.
It’s natural consequences. Stop, and the force stops.
What About Martyrs?
I reflected on martyrs, people who die for their faith. Here are my thoughts on that.
Jesus sacrificed himself. No love is greater than this that a man dies for his friends.
Jesus died for his enemies too.
If necessary, we think we could do the same for the faith.
For the faith. That’s the caveat.
I will not sacrifice my family, friends, or others.
If you don’t think you have what it takes to protect your family, imagine a scenario where someone is doing something unthinkable to them.
The anger there is legitimate.
Women are especially dangerous. They are not called mama bears for nothing.
To close, have the necessary skills—medical, survival, basic unarmed, and armed (whatever the latter means for you).
If you don’t have that capacity, just being able to keep a cool head and escape to safety is essential.
Rory Miller, a self-defense expert, says, “It is better to avoid than to run, better to run than to de-escalate, better to de-escalate than to fight, better to fight than to die.”
That’s my goal. Avoid hot spots. Get to safety, not to go all John Wick on someone.
That’s the last resort.