Wednesday, September 9, 2009

The Bible & Self Defense 2

So, back to the same question... "Do Christians have any Biblical support for self defense? How can we reconcile the idea of self defense with Jesus' teaching about "turning the other cheek" and loving our enemies?"

Our understanding changes with time. One year I was a pacifist, being rescued by my pint sized sister. The next...

In fifth grade I was in a different state and in a different school in a rural community. I was physically small. The sixth graders here were big, and Chase in particular was a bully. His mom was a teacher, so he had political protection as well as the physical assistance of the sycophants who joined him in his search for trouble.

One day early in the school year, as I was hurrying from the door of the school to the line of school buses, Chase tripped me. He and a friend were loitering there near the path. Chase would ride home with his mom later. The other guy lived in town.

So, he caught me perfectly by one ankle and sent me sprawling forward. My books and papers scattered on the ground. My hands were scraped on the little stones of the path. Chase and his bodyguard were laughing hilariously as I stood up and brushed gravel off my bleeding palms. They were so engrossed in the humor, that they didn't notice I had made a fist until I drove it hard into Chase's stomach.

This time I caught HIM perfectly and knocked the wind out of him completely. He doubled over gasping for air. I expected his friend to jump me, but he looked with wide eyed surprise at Chase, then began laughing even harder than before. It felt like an eternity when I turned my back on them to gather my books. I didn't look back while I walked slowly and deliberately to the corner of the building. I expected that they would come after me at any moment, but I didn't look.

When I got around the corner I ran like a rabbit to the safety of my bus.

Chase never bothered me again. In fact, he treated me with something like respect and good humor. But had I done the right thing? Should I have slugged him or just accepted his violence toward me?
(Romans 12:17-19) Repay no one evil for evil. Have regard for good things in the sight of all men.
18 If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men.
19 Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord.
Was it more Christian to take a beating without resistance like I believed in fourth grade or was it reasonable for me to stand up to a bully like I did in fifth grade?

Tell me what you think, and I will continue this thought in a few days.

1 comment:

MomE said...

The more I look at this the more support I find for NOT defending yourself...for letting Christ be your champion. I was reading about being dead to self...that really doesn't support self defense. Yet, I know ISRAEL for example isn't a pacifist nation...anywhere in their history you can see them brutally wiping out entire people groups (babies and everything). I don't get to the answer already!