Whoever hits you on the cheek, offer him the other also; and whoever takes away your coat, do not withhold your shirt from him either. Luke 6: 29 (NASB)
Do you support the 2nd amendment? Have you ever been robbed? When Wade and I were first married, a couple of incidents happened that seem pretty funny now, but they weren’t so funny at all at the time. We were at home asleep about 2:00 a.m. one morning when I heard a noise at the door. Someone was trying to get into our apartment. I tried to wake Wade up, but he just kept sleeping. We never owned a gun at the time, so I grabbed the only thing I could find—the vacuum cleaner hose, and I went to the door. I could hear somebody on the other side, trying to pick the lock. So I shouted, “I have a weapon aimed right at you! You’d better run!” It worked! Whoever it was took off up the steps, jumped in their car right outside our window, and took off.” My screaming evidently woke Wade, and he came out, rubbing his head and asking what was up. When I told him, he sat up most of the rest of the night worried they might come back. I went back to sleep.
A few months later, I was at work at the little gift shop where I worked one morning when a tall black man came in and pulled down the door bell. My boss was out of town, and I was in the back counting money from the day before to make a bank deposit. We’d hired a teenager to help me while the manager was gone. When she saw what the man had done, she panicked and ran straight back to me—and all the money! She was screaming the whole way back, “Teresa, we’re being robbed! Teresa, we’re being robbed!” The only partition between us and him was a venetian folding door, but I slammed it shut, and grabbed the metal yardstick beside it. Only moments later, he stood right at the other side of the door. “What’s wrong with you? I wasn’t going to rob anybody. I just wanted to buy a birthday card,” he asserted. I kept myself calm. “If that’s true, go on up to the front and look at the cards. I’ll be out in a few minutes to help you. I have a weapon here, so don’t try anything stupid.” Unfortunately, my “assistant” wasn’t at all calm. She screamed, “Teresa, that’s not a weapon! That’s just a yardstick!” Some “help” she was! I could hear the man laughing. “But it’s a metal yardstick, and if you come in here, I know exactly how to use it!” I claimed. It was a lie, but it worked. He left. We found out from the police that he had robbed several shops in the area.
In both these cases, just the threat of a weapon prevented a robbery. Sometimes the best defense is a good offense (or a credible bluff).
Several months ago, Ben Wolf asserted that the New Testament doesn’t allow for self-defense. He used Jesus restoring the man’s ear when Peter cut it off as well as the above verses as evidence for his point..
As usual, I disagreed. I don’t think anyone has to be a punching bag for someone else’s wrath. Yes, I know all the disciples except John died a martyr’s death. But they died in defense of the gospel. To me that’s different.
But is it? Looking at the verses again, it would certainly seem that Ben’s right. Does that mean Christians aren’t supposed to be soldiers, policemen, or anything that requires them to bear arms? I can’t wrap my head around that idea. What would the world look like now if evil had been allowed to triumph throughout history. Would Hitler be in charge now? Would we still have slavery? Or would the 2nd Coming have already occurred and the millennium be in progress?
I know I would always fight back in defense of my children. Someone could slap me, and I might be able to turn the other cheek, but if someone had tried to hurt one of my children, he’d have an angry tiger on his hands. I don’t think that violates the spirit of these verses. Verse 31 says, “Treat others the same way you want them to treat you.” If I were a child, I’d certainly want someone to try to defend me!
Taboo Tuesday Question of the Day: What do you think? Are we ever supposed to defend ourselves and our loved ones, or are we always supposed to submit to violence?