Sunday our Pastor was speaking from 1Peter 2:4-12. It was an interesting topical sermon that posed a question which made me think.
He was talking about Christian character and whether people could tell that we love them by the way we live. He spoke about the increasing violence and protests against churches and Christianity. Protest that takes a more overt form these days than just verbal disagreement. The question he asked is if somone threw a brick through one of our windows than burst into the church in order to “protest” Christianity – would our love be such that they would be compelled to stop their protest and recognize the difference in our lives?
Of course it is a fairly unrealistic question – because no one knows exactly what they would do in that situation. If the protester were obviously unarmed, I suspect the deacons would be on him in a heartbeat. On the other hand, if he were armed – well best case scenario would be we had one of our “men in service” attending that morning and he would respond appropriately. If not, well – who knows what would happen. Perhaps someone in attendance would be carrying and intervene. It is unlikely, people would stand around while a shooter takes out the congregation, hoping he would eventually see the love of Christ as bodies fall. But it does pose an interesting question.
We live in violent world. Everyday, it seems, gunman snuff innocent lives simply for a few bucks or some household items. There used to be a time when you could simply say, “Take what you want, just leave my family alone.” Those days appear distant. Often I play the scenario in my mind as to how long it would take me to get to my gun were someone to kick our front door down and attempt to enter. Granted, we don’t have much, but the evil men don’t know that. Then the question comes, could I or would I be willing to shoot?
I would like to ask the question, “What would Jesus do?” However, I’m not sure it is appropriate. Would he stand by and watch his disciples become random victims, simply hoping that the perpetrator would sense God’s love and lay down his weapon?
Yes, we live in disturbing times. Perhaps not as disturbing as days past, we simply have more access to coverage of such events. Nevertheless, what should a Christian’s response be to personal or family attack – IF there is an option? Should we defend ourselves and others, or simply let it happen?