Pastor Says ‘Love Your Neighbor Not Your Gun’

turn_the_other_cheekDaniel Darling, the senior pastor of Gages Lake Bible Church in the northwest suburbs of Chicago, is saying that some people might think “we love our guns more than our neighbors.” Pastor Darling is not saying that keeping and bearing arms is sinful. While Jesus told Peter to put away his sword (Matt. 26:47–56; Mark 14:47; John 18:10–11), He did not tell him to destroy it. Jesus did not propose any word buy-back program. Jesus and the Bible generally sees man’s problem as one of the heart. It’s not what goes into the man (or a man’s gun) but what comes out of a man that’s the issue. “All these evil things proceed from within and defile the man”  (Mark 7:14–23).

This passage might apply as well:

“If you have died with Christ to the elementary principles of the world, why, as if you were living in the world, do you submit yourself to decrees, such as, ‘Do not handle, do not taste, do not touch!’ (which all refer to things destined to perish with use)—in accordance with the commandments and teachings of men? These are matters which have, to be sure, the appearance of wisdom in self-made religion and self-abasement and severe treatment of the body, but are of no value against fleshly indulgence” (Col. 2:20–23).

Liberal do-gooders do not understand these principles. (Pastor Darling doesn’t seem to be one.) They believe that things and circumstances are a person’s behavior determiners. (I don’t want to dismiss the effect that psychotropic — mild-altering — drugs might have had on some of these crazed killers. David Kupelian of WND asks: “But where, I’d like to ask my colleagues in the media, is the reporting about the psychiatric medications the perpetrator – who had been under treatment for mental-health problems – may have been taking?”)

Note that Jesus said that “those who take up the sword shall perish by the sword” (Matt. 26:52). That perishing could mean in self-defense or by the civil magistrate (Rom. 13:4). Jesus knows we live in an evil world. There were those who wanted to stone Him to death (Matt. 14:14; John 8:59; 10:31). He eventually met a terrible death by execution.

How should we understand Jesus’ injunction to “turn the other cheek” (Matt. 5:38–39)? There’s quite a difference between being slapped across the face and someone wanting to take a baseball bat to your head. Self-defense is a biblical option in such a case:

“If the thief is caught while breaking into [your house], and is struck so that he dies, there will be no bloodguiltiness on his account” (Ex. 22:2).

The homeowner can assume that someone breaking into his house at night has nothing but bad intentions. Does the application of this law apply to the Martin shooting? We don’t have all the facts to know. That’s why we have courts, rules of evidences, and cross examination of witnesses.

The apostle Paul tells Christians, “If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men” (Rom. 12:18). Sometimes peace isn’t possible. If it comes down to defending my family against people who want to do them harm, turning the other cheek is not applicable. Will I incite someone, go out of my way to cause trouble, or put my nose into someone else’s business where it does not belong? No. Here’s some good biblical advice:

“Like one who takes a dog by the ears is he who passes by and meddles with strife not belonging to him” (Prov. 26:17; see 3:30)

To protect hearth and home, life and limb is a biblical, constitutional, and common sense right.

In the movie Ben Hur (1959), there is a discussion between Balthasar and Judah Ben Hur about seeking revenge.

Judah Ben Hur: “I must deal with Messala in my own way.”

Balthasar: “And your way is to kill him. I see this terrible thing in your eyes, Judah Ben-Hur. But no matter what this man has done to you, you have no right to take his life. He will be punished inevitably.”

Overhearing their conversation, Sheik Ilderim speaks wisdom: “Balthasar is a good man. But until all men are like him, we must keep our swords bright!” If all those in the world had the heart of Balthasar, then there would be no need to discuss what the right response is regarding evil.

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Jesus nearly final words were, "Father forgive them, for they know not what they do". If you think you know whether you are to defend yourself to the extent of killing someone, you know more than I do.

Ken Hilton
Ken Hilton

The sword was to be used for defense against the violent world the disciples were to shine the light of Christ into. Jesus didn't tell Peter to get rid of their swords after he rose from the dead. We are to turn the other cheek if someone slaps us, but if someone continues on?? Defense is allowed. Jesus gave us that option, even deadly force, if necessary. The 'sword' was the AR-15 of their day. Good article Gary. Thanks for challenges us to think about the whole Bible, not christian sound bite verses used by the Left and Right in and out of the church. Keep calling us up to the Biblical worldview.

Daniel Greer
Daniel Greer

While we are citing Biblical references, let us not leave out Psalm 149: 5-9. We are to let the high praises of God be in our mouth and have a two-edged sword in our hands. Why? execute vengeance on the nations, punishments on the peoples; to bind kings with chains and their nobles with fetters of iron; to execute on them the written judgment----This honor have all the saints. Relative to The Lord's admonition to Peter to lay down his sword; it seems to me His intention is to preserve Peter from almost certain death against such overwhelming odds. The Lord had further work for Peter to do and that was not the time for Peter to die. Relative to The Lord putting up no resistance to His execution, He knew His mission all too well. He came to die and the time was at hand. Just minutes before he was captured He and His Father in heaven came to a clear understanding of what He was to do. The cup was not to pass. He had to drink it all.

Harry Beadle
Harry Beadle

“I do not love the bright sword for its sharpness, or the arrow for its swiftness, nor the warrior for his glory. I love only that which they defend.” -- J.R.R. Tolkein