What Did Jesus Teach About Christian Self Defense, is it Biblical?
Is protecting your family and home from violent attack by using reasonable and necessary force up to lethal force biblical? The answer is a resounding yes! I believe it is our biblical duty as MEN to protect our loved ones from harm.
Hold it now, some of you may say, Exodus 20:13 says, "Thou shalt not kill." That is a bad translation because the Hebrew word "ratsach" should be translated "Murder." Exodus 20:13 properly translated would read, "Thou shall not murder."
Two chapters later in Exodus we have the following, "If a thief be found breaking in, and be smitten that he die, there shall no blood be shed for him," Exodus 22:2. This law is very clear in giving a man the right to protect his family and property from harm and if the thief dies in the process there shall be no punishment.
What happened when Abram found out that Lot was taken captive? Did Abram rescue his brother or did he just "Let things sort themselves out?"
"And when Abram heard that his brother was taken captive, he armed his trained servants, born in his own house, three hundred and eighteen, and pursued them unto Dan. And he divided himself against them, he and his servants, by night, and smote them, and pursued them unto Hobah, which is on the left hand of Damascus,"
Some of you might say, "Well those examples were from the Old Testament and Jesus told us to 'Turn the other cheek.'" You're right, Jesus did say that but what did He mean by that phrase?
"But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also,"
What happened when Jesus was struck by one of the officers when he was questioned by the high priest in John chapter 18?
"And when he had thus spoken, one of the officers which stood by struck Jesus with the palm of his hand, saying, Answerest thou the high priest so? Jesus answered him, If I have spoken evil, bear witness of the evil: but if well, why smitest thou me?"
Jesus was hit wrongfully and He did not turn the other cheek but he asked why he was hit. Obviously what Jesus said about turning the other cheek in Matthew 5 can not be taken literally. The key phrase is "whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek" because this is being struck with the back of the hand which infers a personal insult. So, according to Matthew 5 if a person attacks us verbally we should turn the other cheek to their insults.
The Apostle Paul was brought before the Sanhedrin in Acts 23 and the High Priest Ananias commanded that they hit Paul on the mouth and the Apostle Paul did not turn the other cheek. The Apostle Paul vigorously defended himself from a physical battery:
"And the high priest Ananias commanded them that stood by him to smite him on the mouth. Then said Paul unto him, God shall smite thee, thou whited wall: for sittest thou to judge me after the law, and commandest me to be smitten contrary to the law?"
From these two incidents with Jesus and the Apostle Paul it is crystal clear that "turning the other cheek" refers to personal insults and not to physical battery by a violent attacker. If you are still not convinced despite the overwhelming evidence I will leave you with the words of Jesus:
Jesus commanded his disciples to arm themselves with a sword for their own protection:
"Then said he unto them, But now, he that hath a purse, let him take it, and likewise his scrip: and he that hath no sword, let him sell his garment, and buy one,"
Jesus made this statement about a man defending his property in the Gospel of Luke:
"When a strong man armed keepeth his palace, his goods are in peace,"
Jesus also told a parable about his Second Coming and he made this statement about a homeowner physically resisting evil and protecting his property:
"And this know, that if the goodman of the house had known what hour the thief would come, he would have watched, and not have suffered his house to be broken through,"
Luke 12:39 (see also Matthew 24:43).
Scriptures Dealing With This Subject:
"Although my house is not so with God, Yet He has made with me an everlasting covenant, ordered in all things and secure. For this is all my salvation and all my desire; Will He not make it increase? But the sons of rebellion shall all be as thorns thrust away, because they cannot be taken with hands. But the man who touches them must be armed with iron and the shaft of a spear, and they shall be utterly burned with fire in their place,"
2 Samuel 23:5-7.
"Cursed be he that doeth the work of the LORD deceitfully, and cursed be he that keepeth back his sword from blood,"
"And I looked, and rose up, and said unto the nobles, and to the rulers, and to the rest of the people, Be not ye afraid of them: remember the LORD, which is great and terrible, and fight for your brethren, your sons, and your daughters, your wives, and your houses,"
"And I said unto them, Let not the gates of Jerusalem be opened until the sun be hot; and while they stand by, let them shut the doors, and bar them: and appoint watches of the inhabitants of Jerusalem, every one in his watch, and every one to be over against his house,"
"Blessed be the LORD my strength which teacheth my hands to war, and my fingers to fight,"
"God is my strength and power: and he maketh my way perfect. He maketh my feet like hinds' feet: and setteth me upon my high places.
He teacheth my hands to war; so that a bow of steel is broken by mine arms,"
2 Samuel 22:33-35.