Friday, August 13, 2010

Self Defense and Mercy

Within the last week I have heard two professing Christians advocate dying at the hands of an assailant rather than defending oneself. To opt for death rather than self defense is not [Biblical] mercy.

One of these gentlemen stated that if he should die , he would go to heaven, but if any assailants who died would go straight to hell. The idea is that it shows mercy to keep the other person out of hell.

Let's think about that for a moment in light of Scripture:

That servant, who knew his lord's will, and didn't prepare, nor do what he wanted, will be beaten with many stripes, but he who didn't know, and did things worthy of stripes, will be beaten with few stripes. To whoever much is given, of him will much be required; and to whom much was entrusted, of him more will be asked. (Luk 12:47-48)

Theologians have long associated this passage with the idea that, even for the lost and hellbound, there will be degrees of punishment in eternity. The more sins (and the more egregious the sins) a person commits, the worse it go for him in the judgment.

Now, let's apply this to your assailant. If he kills you, he goes to judgment with your murder plus all the violent acts he commits for the rest of his life. If you kill him, he still goes to hell, but with fewer offenses and with a sentence of "fewer stripes".

I might also query whether one of these gentlemen would be so willing to sacrifice his Christian wife or child (or grandchild) in his mercy to an attacker. After all, if they are Christians, they will go to Heaven, too.

If he would defend his loved ones, then what about his neighbors? How many of them will die at the hands of this orc? How many victims will he send to hell before he goes there himself?

Since the Bible condones self defense, we can be assured that God is more concerned with protection of the victim than the assailant. For the rest of us, I would recommend that we not try to be holier than God.


The Warrior said...

EXCELLENT! As always.... What every Christian needs to here. It's time!

The Warrior said...

Oops, I meant "hear" instead of "here". My bad!