Aren’t Christians supposed to be pacifists?
There are many misconceptions of Christians that abound in our day.
• They are cowards (1) and wimps.
• They are hypocrites. (2)
• They are detached from the real world. (3)
• They are militaristic right wing loonies. (4)
• They are pacifistic pushovers. (5)
I won’t bother going into the rest (for now) but I will for now park on the first and last.
Contrary to what many would want to believe about us, most of us are not “weak“, “sniffling pushovers“.
Christ did not call us to be any man’s doormat.
In the passage commonly called to the beatitude’s (6) Jesus says:
• Blessed are the meek for they shall inherit the earth.
• Blessed or the peacemakers for they shall be called the sons of God.
The word “meek” is also used to describe Jesus and can best be defined as, “calm of temper and not easily provoked” but also implies “power under control“. (The image is that of a powerful horse controlled only by the bit in it’s mouth.)
As followers of Christ we are to exhibit that control in our lives, to seek peaceful resolutions (7) and, as I’ve said before, show God’s mercy and grace in all of our actions.
There are times when “backing down” or “walking away” is the best way to show God’s glory. But there are also times when we need to press ahead, and bring an end to unjust and violent behavior.
There are times when war is what God has ordained, but even in that, the peaceful solution is always the desire.
In this “post 9-11” world people are quick to quote the one verse from scripture that they seem to know “eye for an eye”. (8) Taken in context (something people hate to do) the punishment is set by the judge not by the injured(9), as the judge is to be impartial and not swayed by emotions. This is to make public the offense and to halt the escalation of violence.
This escalation of violence can be seen on any playground or any gang related affairs in this country.
“Bobby hit me so I hit him, so he brought Billy and they beat me up, so I stole a gun and shot them both!”
Don’t think this is just silly illustrations. Reading any U.S. newspaper from the smallest town up, will show the truth that is laid out through the wisdom of the scriptures.
Jesus took it to the heart of the issue when he said in Matthew 5:38 “You have heard that is said, “`Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth`. 39 but I tell you, Do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turned to him the other also. 40 and if someone wants to sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. 41 if someone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles.42 give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you.”
His call is for us to step into His glory and to NOT repay kind for kind. Not retaliating by trying to extract our own justice.
Is He saying be a doormat? No!
James tells us that, James 3:17 “But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then piece-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere. Peacemakers who sow peace raise a harvest of righteousness.”
He is calling us to seek peace whenever possible. Not to be violent and vengeful, but forgiving and loving.
So are we to be pacifist? Yes. To the point that we seek peaceful resolution and in the absence of that to show mercy and restraint in our actions, not exacting our own vengeance.
Aren’t Christians wimps, cowards and pushovers? Ya’, right. You try carrying a bible around a college or high school for a few weeks.
Are we to exhibit grace, mercy, and meekness, to be humble and gentle of spirit? To be willing to lay down our lives for someone we may not even know?
O.K., I think I have calmed down now.
May the Lord bless you and your household.
(1)“Ask the Army Chaplin on the front line without a side arm or the Fire Dept. Chaplin about being a coward.”
(2) “You got me on this one, yes there are some who are “hypocrites”, While we are made new in Christ, we still struggle with the sins of our old selves. He didn’t make us perfect.”
(3) “Actually as we focus upon or Lord God the things of this world DO become less and less important.”
(4) “There are people who claim Jesus in every walk of life, by today’s standards though, if you accept the Bible as TRUE, you are a religious right-wing nut. ”
(5) “Alright lets look at this for a while, The media portrays Christian men as “Girly Guys” with only enough spine to walk upright, or as someone HIDING behind the Bible to keep from getting whipped, is that who we really are?”
(6) “Matthew 5:2 And he opened his mouth, and taught them, saying,5:3 Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.5:4 Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.5:5 Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.5:6 Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness for they shall be filled.5:7 Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.5:8 Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God. 5:9 Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God. 5:10 Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 5:11 Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. 5:12 Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.”
(7) “Romans 12:17 Render to no man evil for evil. Take thought for things honorable in the sight of all men. 18 If it be possible, as much as in you lieth, be at peace with all men. 19 Avenge not yourselves, beloved, but give place unto the wrath of God: for it is written, Vengeance belongeth unto me; I will recompense, saith the Lord. 20 But if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him to drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire upon his head. 21Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.”
(8) “Leviticus 25:19 And if a man cause a blemish in his neighbor; as he hath done, so shall it be done to him: 20 breach for breach, eye for eye, tooth for tooth; as he hath caused a blemish in a man, so shall it be rendered unto him. 21 And he that killeth a beast shall make it good: and he that killeth a man shall be put to death.”
(9) “Exodus 18:21 Moreover thou shalt provide out of all the people able men, such as fear God, men of truth, hating unjust gain; and place such over them, to be rulers of thousands, rulers of hundreds, rulers of fifties, and rulers of tens: 22 and let them judge the people at all seasons: and it shall be, that every great matter they shall bring unto thee, but every small matter they shall judge themselves: so shall it be easier for thyself, and they shall bear the burden with thee.”