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Personal Defense as a Disciple of Christ

Posted on March 13 2018

Several months ago, an Instagram account published (Here original Post) a well informed and rounded article named: "Personal Defense as a Disciple of Christ". Now, we very well believe that Personal Defense is a divine right, that even though is under attack nowadays, is guaranteed by our constitution. But, this divine right seems to fade away when you are a Disciple of Christ. Several Christians think, that we are love, therefore, we should not have the means to protect ourselves, others, that because we are Christian we need to present the other cheek. Take some time and read below a great point of view. This is just food for thought:

Take a moment to really imagine the story of David and Goliath.  On one side of the equation we have a mighty giant clad in breastplate, helmet, and greaves of gleaming brass.  With a shield bearer before him, the giant himself wielded an enormous spear in his hands with a sword on his hip as a backup.  This titan, clad in terrestrial might, came out daily to mock and cow the Israelites. -On the other side of the equation is a young David.  David is described as a youth with ruddy cheeks and a fair countenance.  Hearing how Goliath mocked the LORD and His people, David chose to show his faith by meeting the scornful challenges of the Giant.  Eschewing the finest armor his earthly king was able to offer, David went out to meet Goliath in the armor of faith and the humble robes of a shepherd. -In terms of weaponry, David had only the tools of a shepherd - a staff, a sling, and five carefully selected stones.  In his pride, Goliath could not have looked at this young boy and fathomed his own downfall.  As He had done before and would do after, the LORD used small and simple things - young David and his sling - as an equalizing force to bring mighty Goliath to his knees. -Though outmatched by Goliath in every physical sense, David won because he had the support of the LORD of Hosts at his side.  Later in life David would pen these words in what we now call the Book of Psalms.  

Psalms 44: 6-8 says: “6 For I will not trust in my bow, neither shall my sword save me. 7 But thou hast saved us from our enemies, and hast put them to shame that hated us. 8 In God we boast all the day long, and praise thy name for ever. ”

After slaying Goliath, David went on to be a man of war and king of Israel.  Though he did have weapons, he acknowledged that his protection, strength, and dexterity in battle came from the Almighty.  Psalms 144:1-2:

1 Blessed be the Lord my strength, which teacheth my hands to war, and my fingers to fight:

2 My goodness, and my fortress; my high tower, and my deliverer; my shield, and he in whom I trust; who subdueth my people under me. -While David was a mighty warrior poet, we can learn from the scriptures that weapons of war and personal protection were not for warriors alone.  Nehemiah 4 tells of how the Israelites worked with a sword at their side and shield and spear at the ready.  These were husbands, sons, and fathers.  As a man who carries a pistol daily to be ready to protect those that I love, I am heartened to see that they remained armed while they worked, “every one had his sword girded by his side, and so builded.” -Even the disciples of Christ carried weapons with them.  After the Last Supper and before singing a hymn to go out to Gethsemane, Christ admonished His eleven remaining apostles “and he that hath no sword, let him sell his garment, and buy one.” In other words - if you do not have a means of personal protection, getting one is worth the sacrifice of other personal essentials. (Luke 22:35-36)

While the overarching theme of Christ’s mortal ministry was to “love one another,” He tells us here that possessing and even carrying weapons of personal defense is a part of discipleship - though not necessarily a required one.  Two of the eleven were armed - nearly a 1 in 5 ratio - and seeing that, Jesus proclaimed “it is enough.” (Luke 22:38) -Later that night, Judas and his ilk came to take the Son of Man away.  Seeing the men who came like thieves in the night, Peter drew his sword and removed the ear of one servant.  Having just commanded them to be armed, Jesus stops the assault and takes the time to instruct the man who will soon take up the mantle of His Church. -There are three things to be learned from this scene.  First, we must remember that Peter was neither a soldier nor swordsman but a fisherman; he did not possess the skill to strike out and remove the servant’s ear as a warning. Peter’s strike - so near the neck and carotid artery - was likely intended to be fatal.  When his Master’s well-being was at stake, Peter played for keeps.  Yet when Jesus saw what had happened he stayed the hand of his disciple and restored the assailant's ear.  Turning to his friends - bloody sword in hand - Matthew records: “then said Jesus unto him, Put up again thy sword into his place.” It is noteworthy here that Christ does not instruct for the weapon to be forsaken or discarded, but rather to have it put “into his place.” In essence, ‘I have my Father’s work to do now.  Put the sword away - now is not the time.’ Christ did not say “throw it away” or “get rid of it” but rather he admonished that the time would come later.  In the same breath, Christ warns of the dangers of being armed, saying, “for they that live by the sword shall perish with the sword.” (Matthew 26:52)  While God can and does grant victory when He so chooses, spiritual worthiness does not guarantee victory in combat. 

There is a timeless parallel between ancient and modern warriors in terms of the types of weapons used in war and in personal defense.  From before the time of Goliath to after the time of Christ, the common weapons of a warrior were the bow or spear, with a sword often being a backup.  In modern times, American soldiers carry an M16 Rifle as a primary weapon and a pistol as a backup.  In ancient times, knives and short swords were sometimes carried by sovereign citizens and freemen as a means of defense.  Similar to the sword carried by some disciples of Christ in the early Church, the freedom to “keep and bear arms” is manifest in everyday citizen sheepdogs who carry pistols for personal defense.  I submit to you that modern-day disciples of Christ not only have the right to bear arms, but have a duty to as well.  Faith, hope, charity, and love are paramount to discipleship and should be our guiding principles in all things - and while we might be called upon to die for those things, it is better by far to live for them. 

2 comments

  • Mike : June 16, 2018

    Thank you for posting this, well done! The Bible teaches us we are obligated to love one another and our neighbor. How is it you can be someone who is intent on loving your neighbor while sitting idly by while your neighbor is being victimized by a cruel aggressor. That is not an act of love. It’s not an act of love to refuse to restrain evil when it’s in your power to do so. “To refuse to do what I can for those under the power of oppression is nothing less than a failure of Christian love.” – Francis Chafer
    This is one of the reasons I carry, not just to protect my self but to protect others if I can.

    - Mike

  • Christian: April 08, 2018

    This is very well written, thank you for the food for thought. And it’s not just because I agree with it, but it’s a challenge to understand the words and the way the Ord calls us to live and to seek his wisdom. I agree with the divine right to protect what is being threatened and we are called to be good stewards of what He gives us and listen to when we are to use the tools he ask us to have (wisdom swords love justice) thanks for having this on your page!

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