I am touching on the issue of non-violence this week in light of a post I wrote Monday which dealt with churches hosting "concealed weapon" classes. I do not see how concealed weapons and Jesus can go together, and I would argue that church have no "business" be involved in the classes in anyway b
But apparently many others do not feel the same way. I was sitting in a conversation just the other night listening to Christians discuss things such as how they would open fire on people who trespassed on their property, and when and how you could legally kill an intruder.
I get it.
But, I believe that Jesus taught his followers a way of non-violence no matter the situation. I believe this is what Jesus is teaching in Matthew 5 when he says crazy things such as "Love your enemies", "do good to those who persecute you", and "do not resist an evil person". there are no footnotes or astricts that give us an exceptions.
When Jesus referred to "enemies", he wasn't merely referring to those who had committed minor offenses against the people. Instead, he is speaking to people who were being oppressed by Rome, Some who could have been threatened or beaten daily, and some who probably had watched a loved one or two be killed by Roman Soldiers right in front of their eyes. So when Jesus tells them to love their enemies, the context in which he is speaking is in the midst of some of the most extreme situations imaginable.
But non-violence doesn't make sense in the world we live in, in fact it could get you killed. Surely Jesus wouldn't advocate something so dangerous? But I think Jesus was pretty clear about that as well. He told his followers such things as "take up your cross and follow me." In other words, you might as well bring your own execution stake because you will probably need it if you live out the way i am teaching you to live.
Jesus wasn't and isn't safe. Almost all of his followers died violent deaths and as far as we know they didn't violently resist in any way. Peter, the same guy who pulled a sword to defend Jesus, later, willingly died on a cross. Philip's wife and kids were crucified in front of him before he was crucified himself, and we can read about the many times Paul and other followers of Jesus were beaten and stoned and how they never violently resisted. We read about how Paul was stoned,seemingly to death, and dragged out of the city to rot. Paul then gets up and goes back into the city (unarmed).
Though Jesus taught and lived out a Way of non-violence, he wasn't teaching mere passiveness and He didn't expect his followers to merely curl up and take the abuse. What Jesus was teaching was a non-violent revolution which i plan to touch on later.
What are your thoughts about non-violence from a Christian worldview?
Do you think violence can be justified within Christianity?