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FireHeart

About fighting and self defense

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Sorry I haven't been online in a long time life has been hectic. I was wondering what we should make about the subject of fighting. Say that your being attacked by an angry person and he is swinging punches and using an iron bar for a weapon. Now what is the biblical or Christian thing to do? in the old testament God aided his ppl in war david even fought goliath but in the new testament Jesus said to Peter turn the other cheek. So do I turn the other cheek or fight back in self defense?

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Hi Fireheart,

 

Glad to see you back! I think your question is an interesting one and it touches upon the head of households that worry about protecting their family. I have 18 years of experience teaching martial arts as a certified instructor. I won't go into my own personal experience unless you ask me for it.

 

I think the answer to your question has two parts. There's direction from the complainant to the magistrates. I know many interpret this as to suggest that one should turn the cheek to insult. However, I view this slap or blow on one side of the cheek as a serious injustice, and therefore appeal to the magistrate exposing the other, all the while imitating Jesus' meek mannerism - John 18:23 - Let the magistrates rule upon right or wrong, guilty or innocence, let those who judge in truth bear witness to it.

 

Matthew 5:39 - "But I say to you, Do not resist the one who is evil. But if anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also."

 

To address the magistrates:

 

As a direction to magistrates, to use the sword of justice according to the good and wholesome laws of the land, for the terror of evil-doers, and the vindication of the oppressed. That judge neither feared God nor regarded man, who would not avenge the poor widow of her adversary, Luke 18:2, Luke 18:3. And it is in force as a rule to lawgivers, to provide accordingly, and wisely to apportion punishments to crimes, for the restraint of rapine and violence, and the protection of innocency. - Matthew Henry

 

You may find this of further interest: Should Christians volunteer for military service?

 

 

To address the complainant:

 

What the New Testament precept is, as to the complainant himself, his duty is, to forgive the injury as done to himself, and no further to insist upon the punishment of it than is necessary to the public good: and this precept is consonant to the meekness of Christ, and the gentleness of his yoke.

 

Two things Christ teaches us here:

 

1. We must not be revengeful (Matthew 5:39); I say unto you, that ye resist not evil; - the evil person that is injurious to you. The resisting of any ill attempt upon us, is here as generally and expressly forbidden, as the resisting of the higher powers is (Romans 13:2); and yet this does not repeal the law of self-preservation, and the care we are to take of our families; we may avoid evil, and may resist it, so far as is necessary to our own security; but we must not render evil for evil, must not bear a grudge, nor avenge ourselves, nor study to be even with those that have treated us unkindly, but we must go beyond them by forgiving them, Pro 20:22; Pro 24:29; Pro 25:21, Pro 25:22; Rom 12:7. The law of retaliation must be made consistent with the law of love: nor, if any have injured us, is our recompence in our own hands, but in the hands of God, to whose wrath we must give place; and sometimes in the hands of his viceregents, where it is necessary for the preservation of the public peace; but it will not justify us in hurting our brother to say that he began, for it is the second blow that makes the quarrel; and when we were injured, we had an opportunity not to justify our injuring him, but to show ourselves the true disciples of Christ, by forgiving him. - Matthew Henry

 

To address various errors:

 

Do not resist evil. There are two ways of resisting: the one, by warding off injuries through inoffensive conduct; the other, by retaliation. (412) Though Christ does not permit his people to repel violence by violence, yet he does not forbid them to endeavor to avoid an unjust attack. The best interpreter of this passage that we can have is Paul, who enjoins us rather to “overcome evil by good” (Rom 12:21) than contend with evil-doers. (413) We must attend to the contrast between the vice and the correction of it. The present subject is retaliation. (414) To restrain his disciples from that kind of indulgence, he forbids them to render evil for evil. He afterwards extends the law of patience so far, that we are not only to bear patiently the injuries we have received, but to prepare for bearing fresh injuries. The amount of the whole admonition is, that believers should learn to forget the wrongs that have been done them, — that they should not, when injured, break out into hatred or ill-will, or wish to commit an injury on their part, — but that, the more the obstinacy and rage of wicked men was excited and inflamed, they should be the more fully disposed to exercise patience.

 

Whoever shall inflict a blow. Julian, (415) and others of the same description, have foolishly slandered this doctrine of Christ, as if it entirely overturned the laws of a country, and its civil courts. Augustine, in his fifth epistle, employs much skill and judgment in showing, that the design of Christ was merely to train the minds of believers to moderation and justice, that they might not, on receiving one or two offenses, fail or lose courage. The observation of Augustine, “that this does not lay down a rule for outward actions,” is true, if it be properly understood. I admit that Christ restrains our hands, as well as our minds, from revenge: but when any one has it in his power to protect himself and his property from injury, without exercising revenge, the words of Christ do not prevent him from turning aside gently and inoffensively to avoid the threatened attack.

 

Unquestionably, Christ did not intend to exhort his people to whet the malice of those, whose propensity to injure others is sufficiently strong: and if they were to turn to them the other cheek, what would it be but holding out such an encouragement? It is not the business of a good and judicious commentator to seize eagerly on syllables, but to attend to the design of the speaker: and nothing is more unbecoming the disciples of Christ, than to spend time in cavilling about words, where it is easy to see what the Master means. But in the present instance, the object which Christ has in view is perfectly obvious. He tells us, that the end of one contest will be the beginning of another, and that, through the whole course of their life, believers must lay their account with sustaining many injuries in uninterrupted succession. When wrong has been done them in a single instance, he wishes them to be trained by this example to meek submission, that by suffering they may learn to be patient. - John Calvin

 

(412) “L'une par laquelle nous empeschons qu'on ne nous outrage, sans mal-faire a personne de nostre coste: l'autre, par laquelle nous rendons mal pour mal.” — “The one, by which we prevent attacks from being made on us, without doing ill to any person on our part: the other, by which we render evil for evil.”

(413) “Plustost que de rendre la pareille a celuy qui nous a mal-fait.” — “Rather than return the like to him who has done us wrong.”

(414) “Il est ici parle de la facon de faire de ceux lesquels rendent la pareille a ceux qui les ont offensez.” — “The subject here spoken of is the manner of acting of those who render the like to those who have offended them.”

(415) Julian, the Roman Emperor, generally known by the name of Julian the Apostate. The inveterate hatred of this man to the very name of our blessed Savior has gained him a painfully conspicuous place in ecclesias-tical history. — Ed.

 

God bless,

William

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Turn the other cheek?

 

You should notice that Jesus is talking about a slap, which is a small thing that is almost certainly not motivated by criminal intent. Jesus also mentions settling a lawsuit by turning over your cloak. These are minor things that can defuse a situation and avoid a more serious conflict. It would be unchristian to punch an angry man who has just slapped you. I think it would be unwise of a Christian to engage in a costly lawsuit that could be settled by a small compromise. I don't think it's lack of thought on Jesus' part to not use examples of serious threats. Compare a slap vs. a mugger trying to stab you.

 

Self-defense is biblical. We find support of self defense throughout the Bible. Even Jesus' followers carried weapons, which indicates Jesus' approval of self-defense. It's a sin to choose not use reasonable force to stop criminal.

 

I believe Jesus had the intent to teach people not to be vengeful and not to use unnecessarily violence. Jesus was trying to stop abuse of the teaching of Moses, an eye for an eye. Many Jews used violence unnecessarily and not tempered with love, while believing they were keeping the law. Even today, many Christians are often looking for any excuse to use violence, or to have the state to use violence.

 

Say that your being attacked by an angry person

 

Especially in regards to an angry person rather than a criminal, I say do everything possible, so far as it is up to you, to avoid violence. First, try to defuse or remove yourself from the situation. But, if he attacks you and you (and your allies) can't restrain him, then do whatever, and only whatever, is necessary, to defend yourself, you've done no wrong.

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He said to them, “But now let the one who has a moneybag take it, and likewise a knapsack. And let the one who has no sword sell his cloak and buy one."

(Luke 22:36 ESV)

I hardly think Jesus would have told his disciples to buy swords unless there were circumstances in which it was permissible to use them. When he rebuked Peter for using a sword he told him to put it away, not to throw it away. To apply this to today, there is no reason a Christian can't own a gun as long as it is legal for him to do so and he uses it responsibly.

 

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If your life or your family's life is on the line, you must protect yourself as much as it's needed to ensure safety. That can mean fighting off until the police gets there or killing them if you're not going to make it because they are crazy. Killing is only okay in extreme self-defense or as a soldier/police officer. But if it's petty, like a slap on the face, that you should take the higher road because if you hit him, you're not any better. People are going to harm you but turning the other cheek allows us to keep our own evil emotions in check instead of giving into the devil. So we can defend ourselves when we are being attacked or for our country if we are service men like police officers or soldiers. But the moment we are the aggressors for our own personal reasons, we are in the wrong. But really, William says it better with quotes.

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Exodus 22:2-3 2 "If the thief is found breaking in, and he is struck so that he dies, there shall be no guilt for his bloodshed. If the sun has risen on him, there shall be guilt for his bloodshed."

 

I'm going to use this verse from the bible. As it states, if a thief comes in at night and steals from you and you kill him, you will be guilty of murder. Why? Because it's dark and it's hard to discern what his intentions are. If it's just stealing or maybe something worse like kidnapping, rape or murder, you won't know since you cannot see him. But if the crime happens during the day and it's easier to discern what his intentions are, then you might be guilty of murder. After all, taking a life in comparison with stealing isn't at all equal.

 

Of course, this is just a hypothetical situation. What it emphasises though is that it depends on the crime committed to you or the person wants to commit. There are rapists, murderers and kidnappers during the day, but really, you can see what their intentions are and decide if you need to defend yourself or your family.

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That is really a fascinating subject to explore, so thank you for posing the question. I like to read about these types of things and get my mind going with all sorts of thoughts, especially on a pretty boring Sunday night so that is always helpful. I think that you can find a lot of instances where you can draw some conclusions, as others have posted, but there is certainly room for self defense. I think that the crux if the issue really comes down to the presence of danger and the greater good. It is interesting to ponder though, that is for sure.

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What can we learn from Jesus? The Pharisees if they could could have also arrested His disciples but He protected even at that time allowing them to flee. Though we are commanded to turn the other cheek when you need to defend those you love then you have no option but to fight. Remember Abraham fighting to free Lot? And lots of other people who God used to vanquish Israel's enemies? But remember, God hates violence. If you love violence then you'll lose God's favor for His Word says, "The Lord tests the righteous and the wicked, and the one who loves violence His soul hates."

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Turn the other cheek?

 

You should notice that Jesus is talking about a slap, which is a small thing that is almost certainly not motivated by criminal intent. Jesus also mentions settling a lawsuit by turning over your cloak. These are minor things that can defuse a situation and avoid a more serious conflict. It would be unchristian to punch an angry man who has just slapped you. I think it would be unwise of a Christian to engage in a costly lawsuit that could be settled by a small compromise. I don't think it's lack of thought on Jesus' part to not use examples of serious threats. Compare a slap vs. a mugger trying to stab you.

 

Self-defense is biblical. We find support of self defense throughout the Bible. Even Jesus' followers carried weapons, which indicates Jesus' approval of self-defense. It's a sin to choose not use reasonable force to stop criminal.

 

I believe Jesus had the intent to teach people not to be vengeful and not to use unnecessarily violence. Jesus was trying to stop abuse of the teaching of Moses, an eye for an eye. Many Jews used violence unnecessarily and not tempered with love, while believing they were keeping the law. Even today, many Christians are often looking for any excuse to use violence, or to have the state to use violence.

 

 

 

Especially in regards to an angry person rather than a criminal, I say do everything possible, so far as it is up to you, to avoid violence. First, try to defuse or remove yourself from the situation. But, if he attacks you and you (and your allies) can't restrain him, then do whatever, and only whatever, is necessary, to defend yourself, you've done no wrong.

 

 

"Self-defense is biblical."

Please provide scripture to back up this belief.

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I hardly think Jesus would have told his disciples to buy swords unless there were circumstances in which it was permissible to use them. When he rebuked Peter for using a sword he told him to put it away, not to throw it away. To apply this to today, there is no reason a Christian can't own a gun as long as it is legal for him to do so and he uses it responsibly.

 

Jesus in His next breath explained why He told them to buy swords. It was to fulfill the prophecy in Isaiah 53:12. Having swords made them a threat to the authority and thus transgressing against the Roman authority. A side point; does it make sense that only 2 swords were sufficient among 13 men to fight? You're right it is not wrong to own a sword/gun; Jesus never spoke to that. What He did speak about is what is done with that sword/gun.

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Further, Jesus whipped the merchants selling in the temple with cords.

 

Scripture does not say Jesus whipped merchants. Completely false statement. It's easy to infer something even though it is not said; yet it is a completely illogical and a fallacious argument.

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We not only have the right to defend ourselves but we have an obligation to act in defense of others when we have the power to do so.

 

Scripture please to prove your statement.

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What can we learn from Jesus? The Pharisees if they could could have also arrested His disciples but He protected even at that time allowing them to flee. Though we are commanded to turn the other cheek when you need to defend those you love then you have no option but to fight. Remember Abraham fighting to free Lot? And lots of other people who God used to vanquish Israel's enemies? But remember, God hates violence. If you love violence then you'll lose God's favor for His Word says, "The Lord tests the righteous and the wicked, and the one who loves violence His soul hates."

 

As Christians we do not use the Old Law as the guide for how we live our life; we use the principles' of Jesus. What God's people did in the OT is not necessarily what God's people (Christians) do today.

 

Hebrews 1:1-2 "God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways, in these last days has spoken to us in His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the world."

Luke 9:28-36

Galatians 3:24-29

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If I didn't study Martial arts a robber would have killed me years ago. Having a martial art lesson is one of the best decisions of my life because I would have been dead if I am not able to defend myself against someone armed with a knife. God wanted us to respect our bodies so there is no way I will let someone stab me with a knife just because he wanted to have my wallet.

 

I am able to worship God today because I had been able to defend myself years ago. I live in a city with a high crime rate so it is important for me to defend my self from anybody who wanted to cause me harm. I hope that person who tried to kill me will find God in Prison. I already forgave him.

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I think, there's nothing wrong with self-defense. You have to protect what God has given you, after all.

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Exodus 22:2-3 2 "If the thief is found breaking in, and he is struck so that he dies, there shall be no guilt for his bloodshed. If the sun has risen on him, there shall be guilt for his bloodshed."

 

I'm going to use this verse from the bible. As it states, if a thief comes in at night and steals from you and you kill him, you will be guilty of murder. Why? Because it's dark and it's hard to discern what his intentions are. If it's just stealing or maybe something worse like kidnapping, rape or murder, you won't know since you cannot see him. But if the crime happens during the day and it's easier to discern what his intentions are, then you might be guilty of murder. After all, taking a life in comparison with stealing isn't at all equal.

 

Of course, this is just a hypothetical situation. What it emphasises though is that it depends on the crime committed to you or the person wants to commit. There are rapists, murderers and kidnappers during the day, but really, you can see what their intentions are and decide if you need to defend yourself or your family.

 

Interesting. I read this in another way entirely. To me, it seemed like if you kill someone in the moment, while breaking into your house, you're not guilty of a crime. If you waited until the next day (after the sun has risen on him) to go kill him, that would be murder.

 

I believe turn the other cheek is more about not seeking vengeance for your wounded pride. After all, a slap in the face generally hurts your pride more than it does any real, physical harm. So, you're supposed to be humble and turn the other cheek instead of seeking revenge. I don't think that means you have to stand still and allow someone to seriously hurt or kill you or the people you love without using any defense.

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I have always wondered about this "turn the other cheek" statement. Maybe it wasn't meant to be for the physical situation but if could have meant that if people set out to wrongfully persecute you should not try to repay in like terms but you should let God work it out. I don't know, I am just seeking to establish a justification for the statement because it couldn't be that one would be told to just allow someone to unduly do physical harm to them. That to me would be almost like committing suicide in some instances

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I have always wondered about this "turn the other cheek" statement.

 

But I say to you, Do not resist the one who is evil. But if anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. (Matthew 5:39)

 

Most people are right handed. If you strike someone on the right cheek with your right hand you will be hitting him with the back of your hand. That is a means of insulting him, not trying to harm him physically. Jesus wasn't forbidding us to defend ourselves, but was telling us not to retaliate when someone insults us. To understand what Jesus meant you have to take into consideration another command he gave.

 

He said to them, “But now let the one who has a moneybag take it, and likewise a knapsack. And let the one who has no sword sell his cloak and buy one." (Luke 22:36)

 

Permission to defend ourselves extends even to the use of deadly force if that is necessary.

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If a person is attacked -- do what is necessary to get away if it's possible. Hit., kick, whatever is necessary short of killing the other person. Knowing self-defense would be good. Self defense is always permissible. Just make sure the person is really attacking you. Keep a safe distance from your self and other people. Be calm. Don't be acting like you're expecting a problem. If you sense that someone is trying to antagonize you into retaliation, don't give in to it. Try to simply refuse to fight -- turn around and walk away -- if possible.

 

If you're approaching a situation that you aren't comfortable with -- go a different direction -- don't let someone follow you home. Or go to approach a group of people.

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If you learn some art of fighting then it is good to save yourself and other people around you. You can fight with evil and bad people so they don't hurt anyone without any reason. It is necessary to find peaceful atmosphere for you. If you have some fight with a person then try to make him understand in a soft way but if he attacks you then you have the right to save yourself with self-defense techniques.

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Interesting. I read this in another way entirely. To me, it seemed like if you kill someone in the moment, while breaking into your house, you're not guilty of a crime. If you waited until the next day (after the sun has risen on him) to go kill him, that would be murder.

 

I believe turn the other cheek is more about not seeking vengeance for your wounded pride. After all, a slap in the face generally hurts your pride more than it does any real, physical harm. So, you're supposed to be humble and turn the other cheek instead of seeking revenge. I don't think that means you have to stand still and allow someone to seriously hurt or kill you or the people you love without using any defense.

 

 

 

No one has the right to be in your house unless he's invited in. If someone is trying to break into my house I have the right to protect myself and my possessions. He'd better be prepared for negative consequences. And, no, that wouldn't be murder. It would be self-defense. Having said that -- I'd never intentionally kill another person even if he's breaking into my house -- maybe trying to attack me -- I'd try to find Some way of getting away / getting them out -- short of killing them. Because I know where I'm spending eternity, but I don't want inadvertently send another person into eternal hell.

 

If the intruder Would get away and I come across him somewhere else -- I'd better call the police-- I don't have the legal right to do anything with him after the fact.

 

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As Trixen has stated, regardless of the other person's motives you are required to defend yourself by all means and use necessary force in order to hold the aggressor.

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