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(6) No, I won’t trust in my bow;
my sword won’t save me

(7) because it’s you who saved us from our foes,
you who put those who hate us to shame.
(8) So we glory in God at all times
and give thanks to your name forever.

Psalms 44:6-8 (CEB)

Hello Readers, hope all’s well. Time for another #shorts post.

I can summarize today’s post in one short sentence. I bought a gun recently, and have some questions about guns in the context of Christianity.

I don’t view guns as inherently evil. Guns are inanimate objects, after all. They’re a tool, built with one intended purpose in mind. If used in their proper way, and not used in other ways, a gun will not bring problems to us on its own. Guns are not evil or un-Christian in and of themselves, any more than a stick or a knife or whatever.

A tool is not evil; it’s an unthinking object. But guns of course can be used to commit atrocious evil in mere seconds, so many people fear guns. That’s understandable because even if guns are “tools” and “inanimate objects,” they’re still in a special category of their own that must be treated differently. I can’t cause the same kind of lethal carnage with a fork that I can using a gun. They’re both tools, but let’s be honest here, there really is no comparison between the two.

So this means there are extra questions for Christians who want to have a gun. We’re not supposed to be violent people, perpetrating harm and injury. We could deep-dive Scripture and debate on whether Christians should even have a gun. I debated it with myself, though as you know from the first sentence I came to a decision on one side of the issue. I don’t know how useful the debate even is because people come into it already having their own biases and opinions.

Rather than try to take one side or the other in this debate, I will simply share with you my thought process. Today I share the (abridged) story of how I, a Christian, decided to buy a gun.

Tough Questions

It took me over a year to make the decision to buy a gun. That should give a little idea of how much I pondered the question of being a Christian with a gun.

You see, it wasn’t the legal process that delayed me for so long. In the country where I live it took me about two months to go through the whole legal process and buy my gun. That will surprise some of my Readers who live in the United States, where often you can get a gun without waiting. And it wasn’t an issue of money either; that did not cause the delay.

What caused the almost two-year delay was I spent a lot of time thinking through the moral and theological issues of being a Christian with a lethal weapon. Is a gun something Christians should even have at all?? Didn’t Jesus choose not to defend Himself when the Romans came to arrest Him, and say “those who live by the sword die by the sword”?? Are we just supposed to overlook that in the name of self-defense?? Why?? What gives us that right??

Of course I didn’t spend every hour of every day thinking about these questions. But I did have it in mind while I went about my business and lived my life. Some days I felt strongly one way, some days the other.

There were times I was convinced by my reading of Scripture that being a Christian means an absolute commitment to 100% non-violence. And there were times I was convinced, again by my reading of Scripture, that I should have weapons to defend myself. If not a gun, then something powerful. Luke 22:36 is an interesting verse (“those who don’t own a sword must sell their clothes and buy one”) that can be interpreted in favor of this.

I often felt I’d be a failure of a Christian if I didn’t adhere to non-violence all the time, even at the cost of my life. Because who am I after all to decide whether another person should live or die?? Judgment belongs to God; it isn’t my place to be judge, jury, and executioner here on earth.

It’s important we remember the example Jesus showed us through His life and death. He did, in a sense, roll over and die by submitting to human justice. I say “in a sense” because there was much more to the story; He knew He needed to fulfill God’s Plan, that’s what it was all about. The end result was the same anyway: Jesus chose not to defend Himself when He very well could have, and He chose to give up His life rather than take lives.

Matthew 26:53 is a verse I often think about in connection with these questions about self-defense. In verse 53 Jesus says, “don’t you know I could have 12 legions of angels here in an instant??” In other words, “don’t you know I could kill all these Romans, and blow up the entire country if I wanted to??” But Jesus didn’t want to do that because it wasn’t part of the plan.

(50) But Jesus said to him, “Friend, do what you came to do.” Then they came and grabbed Jesus and arrested him.

(51) One of those with Jesus reached for his sword. Striking the high priest’s slave, he cut off his ear. (52) Then Jesus said to him, “Put the sword back into its place. All those who use the sword will die by the sword. (53) Or do you think that I’m not able to ask my Father and he will send to me more than twelve battle groups of angels right away? (54) But if I did that, how would the scriptures be fulfilled that say this must happen?”

Matthew 26:50-54 (CEB)

Making a Decision, and Standing by it

So I guess all my doubts about having a gun came down to this question. Is Matthew 26:53 the standard for us all?? There’s nothing that says it isn’t. Should we also submit to death with no resistance (self-defense) like Jesus did?? There’s nothing that explicitly says we shouldn’t, but this one is much more debatable. There are some New Testament verses that point toward: “No.”

I think we all need to remember when talking about this that there’s an infinite difference between what Jesus came here to do versus our mission in the post-First Coming, pre-Second Coming world. Jesus did lay down His life, choosing not to defend Himself when He could have. But He did that to fulfill Scripture; the context and situation were different.

After thinking it over all this time, I came to the conclusion that yes, the Bible does allow for reasonable self-defense (not aggressive threatening). I decided that it doesn’t Glorify God to simply roll over and die to an armed threat in my own home when self-defense was an option. In other words, I’m making the conscious choice not to follow Jesus’ example because I don’t see how it can Glorify God. I’m on risky ground here, yes, I know. Is this the right choice?? Time will tell, I guess, because right now I don’t know.

But here are some things I do know. First, you’ll never hear about me threatening people or being the aggressor in a situation. If I ever use the gun (God forbid) it would be self-defense. Second, I pray I will never need to even draw the gun!! Third, I will continue to trust in the LORD to protect me and mine like I did the whole time I did not have the gun. That won’t change; I trust in God, not guns. Because I know in the end God is the one who will decide my fate. No tool or weapon is worthy for us to place our confidence in. Our confidence must only be in God, and nothing or no one else.

(6) No, I won’t trust in my bow;
my sword won’t save me

(7) because it’s you who saved us from our foes,
you who put those who hate us to shame.
(8) So we glory in God at all times
and give thanks to your name forever.

Psalms 44:6-8 (CEB)

Guns and other weapons enable us to defend ourselves in emergencies. But these inanimate objects cannot become our source of confidence and security. Only God may fulfill that role. Anyone who needs a reminder on how God feels when we put all our trust in inanimate objects should check Isaiah and Jeremiah!! Respect guns, but never let them become an idol. God is the Power; guns are not.

That’s it for #shorts Part 33.


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Until next time, be strong and do good!!

Your new best friend in Christ,

99:9

<<<EXALT THE LORD OUR GOD AND WORSHIP AT HIS HOLY HILL; FOR THE LORD OUR GOD IS HOLY>>>


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