An Open Letter to Christians Regarding “Defending Yourself”
It’s no longer news that the world is in chaos. It has always been but it gets worse by the day. Lately, some parts of Nigeria have been in news for murder (because there’s no better way to put it) as a result of well… both secret and open attacks. Crops are being destroyed, houses burnt, lives wasted, people are being displaced from their communities, reprisals… it seems like an endless cycle.
But worse than this is how those at the top (so-called political and religious leaders) are fuelling the hate by preaching retaliation to those aggrieved. They are encouraging us to buy weapons and defend our land. They are calling us cowards for refusing to fight back. If this isn’t a call for war, I don’t know what is.
It’s like a dare. The kind that Satan did when he tempted Jesus: If you are the Son of God… do this… (Matthew 4:3-6). But the difference between Jesus and us (Christians) is the fact that He knew who He was and didn’t have to prove it to the Devil.
When Jesus tells us not to retaliate but instead to forgive, when he tells us to love and pray for our enemies and persecutors, it’s not an act of cowardice but that of bravery and love.
Jesus knows that hate can never destroy hate, it only aggravates it. Love, however, destroys hatred and that is the greater picture.
Now, the devil knows this and doesn’t want that to happen. What does he do? He instigates hate using prominent leaders that the people will listen to and it becomes a never-ending cycle of war and terror.
In addition to that, Satan knows that once we operate outside the will of God, we are on our own thus giving him (the devil) full advantage to drag many to hell. If you’ve read this far, I want you to ask yourself this question:
- If I preach hate and act like my enemy, am I any better? Matthew 5:43-4
- What does Christ say concerning earthly treasures? Matthew 6:19-24
- If I choose to disobey Christ, will I spend eternity with him? Rev 21:8
Before I end this letter, I want to quickly point your attention to understanding dispensations.
I’ve noticed that oftentimes, some Christians and their leaders jump to the old testament to give reasons to support their arguments for retaliation amongst other things and that’s because they lack understanding.
The old testament gives us an insight into where we are coming from whereas, the new testament reveals what is expected of us now. The same way history tells you of your past and the present is literally your present. We are expected to learn from history not recreate it.
There are some things you did in your past that you can’t do now no matter how hard you try. For instance, you can never be a baby or even be treated as such in the literal sense of it. When you were a baby, your mum breastfed you. Do you expect that to be done to you as an adult? My guess is as good as yours.
But imagine being hungry as an adult and arguing that you need to be breastfed by your mum because she did that when you were a baby. Do you realize how dumb that sounds? That can’t happen because you are in a new phase in your life and they are things that are expected of you at this time. Quite frankly, trying to live your past isn’t one of them.
It’s the same in Christianity. So rather than going backward and selecting things that do not apply to you neither are they expected of you as it concerns your place in Christ, look to Jesus who you claim you follow and do what he has asked you to do. It’s literally that simple!
Jesus never defended himself with the user of weapons. He never retaliated neither did his disciples nor the Church in their time. Not a single one fought for anything with anything other than their voices.
What was their offense? The truth. The gospel. For that alone, they were persecuted (in some cases, even killed) yet, not once is it recorded that they retaliated or defended themselves. A very good example apart from Jesus is Stephen. He was being stoned to death for simply speaking against evil– for speaking the truth. See Acts 7
As he was being stoned, what were his last words? “Lord, do not hold this sin against them.” And he died. That’s a human being like you and me — a true Christian.
Did the Church at that time protest? Nope. Did they fight back? Nope. Did they buy weapons to defend themselves? Not at all.
Instead, they ran away and continued preaching because they understood the Christianity they had accepted. And guess what? Despite the persecution, the Church still grew.
So all this talk of “if we don’t retaliate or defend ourselves, they’ll finish us”, is absolute fallacy. No human is capable of wiping out mankind. Some have tried but did they succeed? Feel free to use Africa as a case study.
As Christians, the weapons we fight with aren’t weapons of this world (2 Corinthians 10:4) . Neither is our war against flesh and blood. We battle against spiritual forces in high places. See Ephesians 6:11-18.
That being said, I want you to ponder on what you’ve read and decide whose voice you’d rather listen to: Jesus or your leaders?
At the end of the day, the choice is completely yours.
Share your thoughts!
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