| Re: Should Persecuted Christians Defend Themselves? By Michael Brown|
I watched a video on Krav Maga (Israeli Self Defense System) and really wanted to take it up. I was praying for the Lord's heart on this issue, but thought that the Lord would not want be to take this up as I should be turning the other cheek!
Days later, I was reading my Bible in a park not far from my home and the presence of the Lord was real-Far stronger than an average Bible reading time.
As I was heading home and could see 4 young men in the distance, as they got nearer 3 of them engaged in me in conversation, and the other one wandered off to my side. (a common tactic) He then charged at me with a flying punch, which missed, and I tried to run, but didn't get too far.
As punches and kicks rained down on me, I vowed that if I got out alive I would be taking up self defense classes.
The Lord preserved me, and though badly bruised and face swollen at the time, no lasting damage was done.
As I say, meeting so sweetly with the Lord, was I'm sure His way of saying this is in my will.
I remember being in the hospital and thanking the Lord for what had happened to me.
I did take up self defense lessons and truly think this has helped me in my growth into manhood. As a protector.
Blessed be the Lord my strength which teacheth my hands to war, and my fingers to fight. (Psalm 144:1)
And should a similar attack occur, like the above that had nothing to do with my Christian faith, then I would definitely defend myself and others without any pangs of conscience. (even striking pre-eminently if I was convinced I was going to be attacked.)
If it was however connected with my faith (E.g. somebody slapped me whilst I was distributing gospel tracts) I would turn the other cheek.
It definitely is not a one sided issue. Ever more so with our persecuted brethren. I would be praying for the Lord to reveal His will for any given moment.
That's my two cents.
| 2014/8/15 15:23||Profile|
| Re: The aggressor makes the rules|
My better judgment suggests I stay out of this one, but I do have a couple thoughts.
First off, there is the supreme example of our Savior willingly submitting to the violence that took his life. There is a call to follow in those steps, and history is full of inspiring accounts of those who also willingly allowed themselves to be sacrificed in some way that won blessing and good things for others. God has a unique ability to use the suffering of His servants for greater good.
But much of the interaction among sinful men is based on force. If somebody wants me to do something, to think and act a certain way, they can use either reason or force. Interesting that in the formation of the American governance, it was always expected that reason prevail through free elections, public meetings, careful deliberation and open votes on legislation.
But reason is time-consuming and expensive. Sometimes force is introduced to speed things up- such as the passing of the Affordable Care Act where we were told by a particular government leader that "We have to pass it to see what's in it." It was legislation forced through, and it is reaping a whirlwind of trouble- because it suspended reason.
Force has a way of overpowering reason, and making insistence on it's own way. It is for that "reason" that the means of force need to be balanced. Reason is great, but balanced force helps make sure reason still works for the good of those involved.
When Johnny thug comes into my home at night and wishes to force himself on my family and property, my .38 pointed at his head means we are back to reason from force. I have no wish to kill him, but he is now in a position where he must convince me with reason that he is more entitled to my stuff than I am. This conversation will be very, very short.
I have been in the interesting position of holding an M-16 set to full auto in a Vietnam firefight. I was protecting my friend Doug as he crawled out into an open space to retrieve a fallen fellow soldier. While I never pulled the trigger, I would have- without hesitation. It was what I would have had to do right then.
Another friend was on a patrol in the jungle and happened upon a North Vietnamese soldier who had paused to rest and eat. As John came up with his rifle, he and the man exchanged a stare. The man's AK-47 was just a hand's length away, but he could not get it into position to shoot John before he would have been blasted. Yet while looking at John he began to reach for the rifle.
"No no," John warned him, with a smile and a gentle nod. The man's war was now over, he was alive and a prisoner, and when the rest of John's men came on the scene John had a few minutes to just wait with the man.
Out came the pictures of loved ones, some sharing of food and water, a strange communication of lovingkindness. John is a Christian, but what had happened here was that force was safely laid aside so reason could work good things. As I recall, this was Christmas Day 1969.
John's Vietnam story was not over. In the following February, John was in another firefight, his last. During the battle, an enemy soldier threw a grenade into the protected pit where John and several others were firing. John saw it, grabbed his helmet, and dove on the bomb with his body pressing down on the helmet over the grenade. The explosion vaulted his eviscerated body high in the air and left him in a bloody heap right there in the pit. None of the other men were hurt, but none of them expected John to survive his sudden act of bravery. They loaded as much of him as they could onto a stretcher, and sent him off to medical- painfully grateful for how he had sacrificed his life to save theirs.
Been a lot of years now, but John is alive and fairly well. He is a Medal of Honor recipient, still has a sweet love for Jesus and a profound gentleness that wouldn't hurt a soul. We share an inner knowledge that understands how Jesus fulfills Isaiah's "A bruised reed He will not break and a smoldering wick He will not extinguish" and the gospel accounts of a raging bull with a whip overturning money changer tables.
My experiences in combat burned a passage of scripture into me,
"There is a time to heal, and a time to kill."
I trust the Holy Spirit to guard my heart that I may never fail to hear and know when those times come.
"Come let us reason together..." Good words from God through Isaiah.
May the day quickly come when swords will be beaten to plowshares, but until then as Thomas Jefferson succinctly observed, "Those who beat their swords into plowshares will plow for those who do not."
| 2014/8/16 14:08||Profile|
| Re: |
Amen Sidewalk. Thanks for sharing that.
| 2014/8/16 18:03||Profile|
| Re: |
Thank you, TMK! If you are interested, you can watch John tell the story- (a bit differently than how he has told me) in a 9 minute video. Just Google "John Baca video" and it should come up.
He doesn't press his relationship with Christ in this one, he is somewhat non-confrontational... but you can hear between the lines.
| 2014/8/16 23:38||Profile|
| Re: |
Thank you for sharing Sidewalk!
Concerning the question of whether or not
a Christian should serve in the military and
be involved in combat, there is a great movie
that deals with this subject. The movie is
the true story about the World War 1 hero,
Sargent York. Before being drafted for
military service Alvin York was a rough
country boy that spent most of his nights
drinking and fighting. While stopping into
a church one night, he was gloriously
saved, and there was a dramatic
transformation that took place in his
character and behavior.
When Alvin York was drafted into the Army,
he went in as a conscientious objector. One
of his commanding officers was also a
devoted Christian and gave him a leave of
absence so that he could pray about his
situation. After seeking God's will in prayer
, Alvin York relinquished his status of
conscientious objector, was made a
Sargent and sent oversees into combat.
In a fierce battle where his unit was pinned
down by German machine gunners,
Sargent York along with several other men
captured a large number of German
soldiers and snuck up behind the machine
gun nest. When they were spotted and
were under heavy fire , Sargent York
began picking them off one at a time.
The result was that 7 American soldiers
ended up with around 120 German
Every man must follow his own conscious
in these matters. We know that in the
American Revolution, many pastors and
clergy preached from their pulpits support
for the reveloution.
| 2014/8/17 9:53||Profile|
| Re: This difficult question|
And Thank you, Abide!
Sergeant York's story is one of the best, and it serves to illustrate the most important point of our discussion. Hearing and responding to God.
We could hit the whole range of particularly Old Testament accounts of the battles, the captures, the rebellion and the submission that resulted in the killing of thousands of people, the saving of more thousands, and in the midst of it all God is speaking to men. Some of the time He is telling them to kill, no doubt about that. Yet we know His love is always to the good of the men He created and loves, who can comprehend it all?
I was being accosted by a couple of thugs one night on a dark street in St. Paul Minnesota in 2010. I was with my Christian friend Mark, we were by his truck waiting for my sister to bring the car around where she was to pick me up for a ride to her home. My mother lay dying in the inner city hospital less than a block away and we had been there together.
As the men moved in on us, way too close for appropriate conversation, one of them began asking Mark about the truck. Mark responded as if it were normal conversation, but he was as uncomfortable as I was. The tension was thick.
I am old, way too old to scrap it out with a young thug. As I raced through my options, I calculated a way to kill or seriously damage the guy quickly so that I could help Mark with the other one. But as Mark tells this story, his thug suddenly looked beyond Mark and his eyes popped.
"Come on, Aubrey!" He said. "Let's get out of here!"
And they hurried off. We were greatly relieved. Mark believes the man saw an angel behind Mark and it freaked him out! That works for me, it was all over in a flash.
Maybe I should have been praying more, and planning my attack less?
Anyway, Mark is a great servant of Christ and I am glad to have been with him that night to see the power of God in action.
| 2014/8/17 11:02||Profile|
| Re: |
I watched the video and it was a blessing, no need to cover for John's perceived lack of the "repent message." The love of God in John's testimony is self evident.
God according to Scripture uses many way to cause men to cry out to him. My father testified that he was surrounded by North Korean infantry, he was in command of a machine gun crew. He cried out to God to save him. He and his fellow platoon surrendered that day. He spent six days in captivity before he successfully escaped.
My dad never talked much about being in the two wars, but his heart was surely soft.
| 2014/8/17 11:57||Profile|
| Re: |
Turn the other cheek. Love your enemies. No greater love does one have than one whom lays down their lives.
You die for goodness sake. You become a martyr or mercifully get delivered from their hand. Fleeing is okay, retaliation is not.
Jesus is our Example. Then the Apostles. All died a martyr's death (John the Beloved wasn't be his situation is exile, being boiled, etc). None retaliated except when Jesus was being taken in the garden, to which Jesus said, "If you live by the sword, you die by the sword. Peter put it away."
| 2014/9/10 4:15|