Protecting the Innocent

I received some comments on the God is not missing from anywhere post from a few days ago. These comments were specifically about protecting the innocent. I decided to respond in a post where I can better format the look and offer more information.

First I want to thank the commenter that I have not and will not identify in this post unless I get permission to do so. I believe from his comments that he shows the love of someone who would put himself in harms way for another. There will be positions that I disagree with, but I have a great deal of respect for anyone willing to respectfully discuss the Word of God as he has in these comments.

Commenter:

Sorry, I am a Christian and gun owner and I believe it is my duty to protect innocent people if, God forbid, that scenario ever occurs. It’s true that God exists everywhere, but obviously, God uses people to protect the helpless. The first thing we do to stop a crazy person with a gun is to call good people with guns to come help. And there is some truth to the idea that we don’t allow God into schools, they have become secular places. Does this mean God is bringing judgement by allowing evil to happen? I don’t know. I don’t think it’s quite that simple.
I agree that we let people express their opinions freely on all these issues. I don’t agree that we should be laying down our guns and leaving our children unprotected from the next shooter.

My Response
Those who are irreligious believe we have religion because of fear, money, brainwashing, and outdated traditions. The big one is fear; they believe we fear death so much we’ve made up a deity and a paradise destination to make ourselves feel better about life. The best thing we can do a Christians is to walk as Christians through the same secular school they are in and show them that isn’t why. I’m certain every school that avoids religion has Christians walking the halls as principals, teachers, office staff, and students.

Our brothers and sisters shouldn’t be afraid that symbols aren’t present in schools, that God isn’t mentioned in schools, or that the bible isn’t taught in schools. God lives in schools within our children and the brothers and sisters of Christ who work there. People don’t choose not to believe in God because of school, they do it because many of us are convincing them there is no God. They are seeing our fear, and if we are afraid, how can our faith be real? If our faith isn’t real, how can God be real? We should be showing them hope and our faith in God.

Telling unbelievers how afraid we are that they are destroying our faith in some way isn’t a good way to spread the hope of Jesus Christ.

Now, I’ll address guns.

Me:

What in scripture leads you to believe that your job (from God) is to protect the innocent from weapons with weapons?

Commenter:

Psalm 82:3-4
Give justice to the weak and the fatherless; maintain the right of the afflicted and the destitute. Rescue the weak and the needy; deliver them from the hand of the wicked.”

My Response
This psalm is more speaking to the judicial system that was established under Moses. The laws of Exodus and Leviticus called for fairness and that certain people wouldn’t be judged unfairly because of their status.

“Needy” in rescue the weak and the needy clearly turns this into a situation of status and not physical protection. Deliver them from the hand of the wicked is most likely referring to protecting them from people of the world who would take advantage of them. This is clearly still about protecting from harm, and it is possible physical harm is part of this, but it doesn’t give any indication that is the case.

This doesn’t suggest we protect people through violence or use of weapons.

Commenter

“So it is not the will of my Father who is in heaven that one of these little ones should perish.”

My Response
This quote is from Matthew 18:14. This lone quote makes it sounds like he’s calling us to protect the innocent. However, if you read the full scripture of the lost sheep it clearly means something different.

Matthew 18:10-14
10 “See that you do not despise one of these little ones. For I tell you that their angels in heaven always see the face of my Father in heaven.

12 “What do you think? If a man owns a hundred sheep, and one of them wanders away, will he not leave the ninety-nine on the hills and go to look for the one that wandered off? 13 And if he finds it, truly I tell you, he is happier about that one sheep than about the ninety-nine that did not wander off. 14 In the same way your Father in heaven is not willing that any of these little ones should perish.

This scripture is talking about believers, not children. He does earlier reference children, but what he is saying doesn’t support the point that one should use violence to protect them.

Matthew 18:1-5
At that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Who, then, is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?”

2 He called a little child to him, and placed the child among them. 3 And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. 4 Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. 5 And whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me.

Jesus is asking you in this chapter to be like a child. Why? What is it about a child that our Lord wants us to be like? Children are trusting, innocent, unaware of dangers, full of joy and happiness, and dependent on their parents.

How can Jesus telling you to be like a child be turned into protecting them? He wants us to be innocent, not be guilty of sin trying to protect them.

Commenter:

Nehemiah 4 17 Those who were rebuilding the wall and those who carried burdens took their load with one hand doing the work and the other holding a weapon. 18 As for the builders, each wore his sword girded at his side as he built, while the trumpeter stood near me. … 21 So we carried on the work with half of them holding spears from dawn until the stars appeared. …. 23 So neither I, my brothers, my servants, nor the men of the guard who followed me, none of us removed our clothes, each took his weapon even to the water.

Here we have people who are surrounded by enemies who hate them and they are doing God’s work by rebuilding the city, and carrying weapons for self defense.
I know a lot of people use Jesus words about putting away the sword, but we have to read them in context. Jesus isn’t saying they don’t have the right to defend themselves. He’s saying that he is deliberately submitting so that God’s plan for salvation will be accomplished. In scripture we find there are times to kill (ecc.) and times to heal. The time to kill, IMO, is when defending the helpless and the time to heal is when helping those who have suffered loss, whether it is school shootings or car accidents or whatever.
Matthew 26:51-56 51 And suddenly, one of those who were with Jesus stretched out his hand and drew his sword, struck the servant of the high priest, and cut off his ear. 52 But Jesus said to him, “Put your sword in its place, for all who take the sword will perish by the sword. 53 “Or do you think that I cannot now pray to My Father, and He will provide Me with more than twelve legions of angels? 54 “How then could the Scriptures be fulfilled, that it must happen thus?” 55 In that hour Jesus said to the multitudes, “Have you come out, as against a robber, with swords and clubs to take Me? I sat daily with you, teaching in the temple, and you did not seize Me. 56 “But all this was done that the Scriptures of the prophets might be fulfilled.”

John 18:10-11 10 Then Simon Peter, having a sword, drew it and struck the high priest’s servant, and cut off his right ear. The servant’s name was Malchus. 11 So Jesus said to Peter, “Put your sword into the sheath. Shall I not drink the cup which My Father has given Me?”

Nehemiah again: “Do not be afraid of them; remember the Lord who is great and awesome, and fight for your brothers, your sons, your daughters, your wives, and your houses…. 20 “At whatever place you hear the sound of the trumpet, rally to us there. Our God will fight for us.”

My Response
In Matthew 5:21, Jesus says that anyone who has contempt for a brother or sister will be in danger of the fires of hell. This was taking murder a step further. Later in Matthew 5:38-39 Jesus says this:

38 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’[h] 39 But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also.

This is telling you to not return an evil act with an equal response. Unless Jesus is contradicting himself, nothing you have provided can be an approval for using a weapon on someone, for any reason.

Nehemiah was before Jesus was born. The purpose of the Israelites in the Old Testament was to lead to the birth of Jesus. A lot of things in the Old Testament do not reflect what God wants of us. It’s presence is meant to teach us what not to do and about the character of God. What happens in the Old Testament is not to be used as evidence to support doing those things. I’d hope we don’t believe that worshiping golden calfs, complaining about not getting enough meat, becoming a power hungry, becoming an adulterer, and worshiping other Gods is acceptable today because it was present in the old testament. There is a lot of bad that happens in the Old Testament and it is almost all God’s chosen people doing it. They certainly were not doing God’s work.

Additionally, Jesus says love your enemy, and I don’t think there is a better term to describe a person pointing a gun at you.

In the scripture where he says put your sword away, he asks peter if he thinks he couldn’t call on his father and have legions of angels swoop down to his aid. He is suggesting here that he doesn’t need protection, but he’s also showing the faith that only our Lord, Jesus Christ can show. If it was to be, he would have taken care of the soldiers himself.

Lastly, not once in the new testament does a disciple of Christ pick up a weapon to defend himself from being persecuted, jailed, or killed. Why?

Commenter:

We fight when we must, not because we want to, but to defeat evil, but we trust in God. A gun is just an inanimate object.
I have nothing against pacifists. I’m just not qualified to be one, God didn’t make me that way.

My Response
Our purpose is not to save the mortal lives of people, but rather to save their eternal lives. God doesn’t want anyone to suffer, so he asks us to take care of the poor, the hurt, the orphans, the widows, etc.

In all that you have said, one thing is true. Our duty is to protect the innocent. But where you are wrong is who you are protecting them from and how. We are supposed to protect the innocent from sin and from permanent death.

We have a habit of believing God views death as we do, he doesn’t. God’s view of death is that we are coming home. It is a celebration, not a sorrowful moment. On our end when someone dies, we lose someone close to us and we mourn. Or in the case of a shooting in a school, we lose children and everyone mourns the senseless death.

Sin does not defeat sin. Sin creates more sin.

Picking up a gun and pointing it at anyone makes you their judge. Jesus said judge not or you will be judged by the same measure. Think about that for a second. If you shoot and kill someone for shooting and killing someone else, you have done the very same thing. You will be judged the same way as the murderer you protected people from.

8 Finally, all of you, be like-minded, be sympathetic, love one another, be compassionate and humble. 9 Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult. On the contrary, repay evil with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing.
10 For,
“Whoever would love life
and see good days
must keep their tongue from evil
and their lips from deceitful speech.
11
They must turn from evil and do good;
they must seek peace and pursue it.
12
For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous
and his ears are attentive to their prayer,
but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.”[a]

Being a Christian isn’t just believing Jesus is Lord. It is about actively pursuing a character that reflects the character of Jesus. It is about seeking to be without sin. It is about spreading hope. Guns don’t spread hope, they spread fear.

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