One of the questions that has continued to be debated through the ages is the relation of the Christian to “war” (4421). The modern debate includes the issues of self defense and protecting yourself by owning a gun.
Like many questions of how we are to live in this world the answers are not cut and dried, black and white. If we are to follow the Highway of Holiness we need to engage our minds and our spirits and be willing to apply reason and logic. One isolated passage does not a position make. Yes, Jesus did say to turn the other cheek. I am aware of that. His statement is beyond doubt but at one point he told his disciples to buy a sword for their journey:
(Luke 22:36 KJV) 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.Jesus also said this. You can’t ignore it. It is hard to follow a living God who expects us to deal with nuance and detail.
This verse in Proverbs makes it clear that war is an expected part of life that must be faced with wisdom, not denial. The concept of Just War has been developed over the years in response to the two different witnesses of the scripture. We are not free to use war and violence just because we are angry or because someone has struck us on one cheek. We are always to be concerned for the bigger picture. At the same time we must be a part of the solution.
When I pray for soldiers I pray for their wisdom more than their safety. A soldier who is only concerned about safety might as well surrender. A soldier doing his duty will be faced with many situations that armchair warriors can stop to think about but he must respond instantly. I pray that they will never do anything that will bring them reason to be ashamed. That requires wisdom in addition to courage.
So? Continue the debate because that will bring understanding. Don’t condemn the passivist or the soldier. Keep reading, thinking, listening, praying. Base your life on obedience.