Self-defense is biblical
Are Christians Allowed to Defend Themselves Against Violence?
"Christians live in a world that is also ruled by evil."
Many Christians wonder if the right to self-defense applies to them too. Didn't Jesus tell them to turn the other cheek in the Sermon on the Mount? However, we find the key to a correct understanding of Matthew 5:38, 39 in two crucial statements:
1. "You heard that it was said ..." (verse 38). This is a quotation from Exodus 21:24. It is about Legal systems. These laws should Judges help to pass a righteous judgment (verses 18 + 19). However, they were abused to justify personal vengeance. But Jesus wanted those in conflict to be reconciled. That is why Christians should rather take it than let themselves be guided by feelings of revenge.
2. "... if someone points you to the right Cheek strikes ... "(verse 39). Jesus is concerned with the strike with the right backhand, which in many cultures is seen as a sign of insult or a challenge to fight. In such a situation, Christians should turn the other cheek, ie keep silent , answer kindly and accept injuries. So illegal violence is not an issue here. Unlawful attacks do not have to be simply endured. That is why Jesus did not allow the inhabitants of Nazareth to push him down a mountain (Luke 4:28).
In any case, Jesus confronted attackers. When the high priest's servant struck him, Jesus did not turn the other cheek but asked what right he had to strike him (John 18:23). Because it was forbidden among the Jews to beat a defendant before he was sentenced, Jesus shows that his judges themselves must be brought to justice. Paul also defended himself with this argument before the council (Acts 23: 2, 3).
In addition, love for one's neighbor must not be exhausted in beautiful words. If someone needs help, we should stand by him. This also applies to those who suffer violence. The Christian gets into an inner conflict. The attacker is also his neighbor, whom he should love. If he cannot distract him from further violence with words or if the attacker turns against himself, he must also ask himself, when providing emergency aid, whether and to what extent he should defend himself or whether passive suffering or flight are the only alternatives .
Sometimes speaking kindly can actually placate the other. It helps to admit your own mistakes and to apologize. On the other hand, those who show fear or anger will only irritate the aggressive person even more. Leaving or running away often helps avoid violence. Some Christians also think of using self-defense techniques that stave off an attack without harming the opponent. Unfortunately, these mostly do not work on the street when fear, pain and stress paralyze the attacked person. Conflicts of conscience are therefore not excluded here.
Christians live in a world that is also ruled by evil. You yourself are also not beyond good and evil. It is therefore understandable when they suddenly react with violence, when they experience violence and threats. For example, a peace-loving Christian rushed in the dark on an attacker who was about to rape a girl. He hit him until he ran away. Afterwards, the man was shocked to discover that he had saved his own daughter's life.
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