Thursday, July 21, 2016
In my Graduate School days I read a book by another brother espousing the pacifist view. He documented his position with biblical passages that captured my thoughts. Jesus wants us to turn the other cheek and walk the extra mile. God is love and we should. A more nobler view doesn’t exist. He pointed out that Jesus’ followers could not serve as police officers nor in the armed services because disciples do not harm others. I agreed then, but later made a different choice. Choices, right or wrong, are not always easy.
The Pacifist believes it is better to sacrifice your life and your family, rather than the life of those who are not saved, who wish you harm. You and your family are Christians. If you take the life of the murderer, he will be eternally lost. If you give your life for his, he will still have an opportunity to be saved. I suppose it is possible that the perpetrator may later become a Christian. Of course he may not, and if not, then there are serious consequences!
Most Pacifists believe in 911! He can’t serve as a policeman or defend himself with a weapon, but he may call someone who will. That person can put his life on the line protecting his. However, what if, in protecting the Pacifist, the officer is killed. If he isn’t a Christian, he dies lost. By calling 911 the Pacifist contributes to his demise and removes his opportunity for a new birth! If the policeman takes the life of the lawbreaker, the Pacifist contributes to his death because he made that 911 call. The logical Pacifist path is to allow the criminal to rape, torture, and murder without any resistance from the Christian. In a sense the Pacifist is bidding the criminal “God speed” by doing nothing. Of course that decision allows the murderer to seek other victims, whether adult or children, who may also be without Christ. The Pacifist contributes to their deaths by not using deadly force to stop him, or by not calling 911! His convictions do not free him of responsibility in the death of others nor their negative eternal destiny.
Choices are not always easy. If we stop a criminal with deadly force we may end up saving several others physically and spiritually who would have been his potential victims. The criminal gives his life that others don’t have to! Was Jesus demanding that we turn the other cheek when some individual breaks into our home to rape, torture, and murder? If so, then we have no right to seek police or military protection, no right to lock our doors, to have security alarms, nor to call 911! If someone wants our car or even our house, we should turn the other cheek as we hand him the keys and title. Is that really what Jesus is saying? Again, a choice, right or wrong, must be made. Each person has their convictions and even though we may not agree, we can still love and accept one another because we are all made in the image of God. Irregardless of what decision one makes, there are always consequences.
If one uses deadly force to disrupt a murderer’s intentions, will his choice have any consequences? Yes, he may become remorseful, violently ill, and throw up. He may go into shock at taking another person’s life. There may be nightmares, with needed counseling to follow. There may be fellow saints that will be more condescending that comforting in spite of which choice you make. There will be those who will suggest that you could have disarmed the person with love by telling him about Jesus. Some may believe you are the murderer because you didn’t shoot the gun out of his hands. Guilt trips are easy to suggest for those who have never taken the trip. Choices are not always easy, especially those needed in a split second.
When Jesus said, “turn the other cheek” was he covering every scenario in life that one will face? I know my answer, what is yours? Choices, right or wrong, must be made. Some are never easy!