Attitude of Nonrevenge
Or a posture of a doormat
I continue to consider my strongly held belief in my Second Amendment rights with my obedience to the teachings of Christ, I continually ask Him to lead me to information, and interpretations of His word on the subject.
A leader in the big denomination I formally belong to used a quote from a Bishop Kenneth Carder which took a shot at “those who claim allegiance to Jesus.” This Bishop paraphrases part of the Sermon on the Mount, a tactic of many who in my view try to virtue signal those they judge as “not as holy” as they are. Here is what Carder is credited as saying:
For those of us who claim allegiance to Jesus, the Sermon on the Mount has more authority than the Second Amendment of the Constitution, the command to love our neighbors as ourselves takes precedence of my “right to bear arms”, and protecting the “least of theses” supersedes preserving personal political power.”
Here is the thing. In Matthew 5:29, 30 Jesus tells us to tear out a lustful eye, or cut off our hand if it offends. How many one-eyed, one-handed Bishops have you seen in the church?
In his book Evangelical Ethics, John Davis writes:
In John 18:22,23 Jesus, after being arrested, was struck by one of the high priest’s officers. Rather than literally turning the other cheek, Jesus challenged the injustice of the act: “If I have spoken wrongly, bear witness to the wrong: but if I have spoken rightly, why do you strike me?”
The actions of Jesus Christ himself […] clearly indicate that the sayings on turning the other cheek are meant to promote an attitude of nonrevenge, rather than a posture of a “doormat” for abuse in such situations.
Considering that, is it truly protecting “the least of these” by disarming those who obey the law, and allowing the criminal to mow down the unarmed, the children, the elderly? Religious leaders of the day who felt their political power threatened by Jesus managed to have him crucified. James (Jim) Warren Jones, a man who claimed to be a preacher of the Gospel, lead his followers to Guyana, and in 1978 murdered 909 people, 304 of them children (the least of these) with cyanide laced juice mix.
In my personal position as a follower of Christ, I may well choose to stand an be murdered for His sake. However, in my public position as a guardian to third parties (children, the elderly, the infirm, etc.) I have a duty to protect them, the least of these. As Davis says:
Love of my neighbor does not mean standing idly by when my wife is being brutally raped. […] There will be a time when swords will finally be turned into plowshares, but in the interim, the demands of divine justice and love of the neighbor sometimes require the use of force in the legitimate defense of innocent human life.
Shepherds do not step aside and leave the sheep to be eaten by the lion. The shepherd is charged with protecting the sheep. In the days of Christ, staffs, spears, and slingshots were the weapons available for protection. They were also the weapons of violence. It just depended on which side you stood.