Now, let’s conclude our discussion of the biblical view of self-defense with some warnings.
1. Trusting in the sword
Weapons are mere tools and cannot guarantee protection, any more than owning a fire extinguisher guarantees that your house won’t burn down.
Psalm 44:6-7: For I will not trust in my bow, Nor shall my sword save me. 7 But You have saved us from our enemies, And have put to shame those who hated us.
We see in Nehemiah 4:14 that the people were armed and willing to use their weapons, but they were also trusting in the Lord: “Do not be afraid of them; remember the Lord who is great and awesome, and fight for your brothers, your sons, your daughters, your wives, and your houses…. 20 “At whatever place you hear the sound of the trumpet, rally to us there. Our God will fight for us.”
2. Improperly resorting to the sword
Lethal force is never to be employed in hatred, revenge or jealousy. If you have anger or self-control problems, owning weapons is unwise. The believer is to be “not soon angry, no brawler, no striker” (Titus 1:7). When you are insulted or cursed, when your wife or your mother is insulted or cursed, you are not to resort to violence.
“But I say unto you that hear, Love your enemies, do good to them that hate you, 28 bless them that curse you, pray for them that despitefully use you. 29 To him that smiteth thee on the one cheek offer also the other; and from him that taketh away thy cloak withhold not thy coat also.” (Lk. 6:27-29 ASV).
Resorting to fistfights or gunfights when honor is insulted is not a virtue. The Lord, not you, is to take vengeance and set things right. An insulting slap in the face is something you can suffer as a Christian.
Romans 12:19: Never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord.
3. Admiring the “man of violence.”
Proverbs 3:31-32: Do not envy a man of violence, And do not choose any of his ways. 32 For the crooked man is an abomination to the LORD; But He is intimate with the upright.
There are many similarities between David and Joab. Both were skilled at killing men, and both had killed many men. Yet, David, first and foremost, sought the Lord, trusted the Lord, and loved the Lord. Why didn’t he do violence against Saul? It wasn’t because Saul was his father-in-law. Rather, it was because Saul was the Lord’s anointed
On the other hand, Joab, over and over, resorted to the sword to deal with problems. Joab was a man of violence. Beware of influences in your life that would encourage admiration of a Joab rather than a David.
4. Keep the right perspective.
Scripturally, the topic of self-defense is of secondary importance. Rather, we see more emphasis on godly living, suffering affliction and persecution for Christ and grasping the precious doctrines of Christ and the Gospel.
Though heavenly beings do battle and render judgments with the sword, in the perfection pictured in both the Garden of Eden and in the Heavenly City, the primary activities are fellowship with God, fellowship with His people, singing in worship and living in peace.
That is our destination.
Image: Courtesy of: http://www.flickr.com/photos/pictureperfectpose/76138988/