Listen:  76 Question 4

The topic of self-defense for Christians is a little controversial.  The Lord Jesus said in Matthew 5:39, “But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also.”  Romans 12:17 tells us, “Recompense to no man evil for evil.”  Of course, we can rightly say that these portions deal more with revenge than with self-defense.  On the other hand, when the men came to capture the Lord and take him to be crucified, Peter tried to defend the Lord with a sword.  The Lord said to Peter in Matthew 26:52, “…Put up again thy sword into his place: for all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword.”  This is a different case because the Lord knew of the necessity of His crucifixion for our sins as He said in Luke 24:7, “Saying, The Son of man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again.”  The Lord did not want Peter to try to prevent His crucifixion.

Let’s look at a couple of instances where self-defense was used in the Bible.  In the days of Nehemiah, when the children of Israel were re-building the walls of the city of Jerusalem, they labored under threat of attack from their enemies.  In Nehemiah 4:15-18 we read, “And it came to pass, when our enemies heard that it was known unto us, and God had brought their counsel to nought, that we returned all of us to the wall, every one unto his work. And it came to pass from that time forth, that the half of my servants wrought in the work, and the other half of them held both the spears, the shields, and the bows, and the habergeons; and the rulers were behind all the house of Judah. They which builded on the wall, and they that bare burdens, with those that laded, every one with one of his hands wrought in the work, and with the other hand held a weapon. For the builders, every one had his sword girded by his side, and so builded. And he that sounded the trumpet was by me.”  Here we have the example of being prepared against an enemy’s attack.  Now let’s read Luke 22:35-38, “And he said unto them, When I sent you without purse, and scrip, and shoes, lacked ye any thing? And they said, Nothing. Then said he unto them, But now, he that hath a purse, let him take it, and likewise his scrip: and he that hath no sword, let him sell his garment, and buy one. For I say unto you, that this that is written must yet be accomplished in me, And he was reckoned among the transgressors: for the things concerning me have an end. And they said, Lord, behold, here are two swords. And he said unto them, It is enough.”  Here, towards the end of His earthly ministry, the Lord is instructing His disciples to be prepared as they went forth to spread the truth of the Gospel.  In His words, the Lord is warning His disciples that times will become difficult and dangerous.  They needed to be prepared for different types of difficulties and threats against them.

Now, let’s consider a couple of verses that teach us of the wondrous care of the Lord for His children.  Psalms 118:6 says, “The LORD is on my side; I will not fear: what can man do unto me?”  We have a very similar thought in Hebrews 13:6 which says, “…The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me.”  Whether one should decide to arm himself with a gun to protect his family or not, may we be constantly aware that our protection is found in the Lord.  We are not to avenge our losses; the laws are put into place for that, but it is up to the individual believer to determine if he should arm himself for the defense of himself and his family.  It is possible that having and showing a weapon will be enough deterrent to make the criminal change his mind about harming or robbing you.  We certainly would rather have that happen than have to use force to stop criminal activity.  (76.4)