As of late, I’ve taken part in a number of conversations regarding Christian beliefs, specifically those pertaining to Jesus’ teachings of nonviolence, and what that means for us in the world we live in today. In at least one of those conversations, I was told that, no matter what happens, I should not react with any level of violence toward someone even if they threatened me or those around me with death. That made me feel both sad and angry for a whole list of reasons. I’ve read and been told that complete passivism is what Jesus’ teachings reflect, and that there should be no deviance from this interpretation of scripture. Again, that made me feel both sad and angry.
If protecting my family or my community from evil by stopping it (however it manifests) makes me a failed Christian, then so be it. I’ll own it. At least I will not have failed in what I perceive are my responsibilities as a parent, a spouse, and a caring human being should I someday have to use violence to stop the innocent from being harmed.
Shouldering the responsibility to keep my loved ones as safe from evil as possible is not “revenge” as I have seen it characterized. It is not even an angry act. It is preventing evil from hurting others, pure and simple. It is also not an act committed out of fear of nonviolence. Instead, stopping evil from harming others is accepting responsibility as a contributing member of something bigger than ourselves, caring for others enough to act, yet balancing all that with the willingness to remain peaceful when surrounded by other peaceful people.
I’ve been made aware that I possess a warrior’s soul, and in knowing that, I’m also aware I cannot stand by and let a monster hurt my family or an innocent bystander while I do nothing. That is cowardly and I feel it is wrong. I don’t see any way to change my feelings on that.
Passivism does absolutely nothing to help our society, a victim or the oppressed. It is a statement of indifference toward evil. I feel that absolute passivism is admitting and accepting complete failure as a human being at the most basic level. If we’re all going to embrace such failings as what is intended by our creator, then all of our suffering through all of our wars fought to save the lives of others was for nothing. I struggle with the idea that one must embark on a path of absolute passivism in order to be accepted into Heaven when that thinking stirs up such intense thoughts and feelings of self-centeredness and weakness of character. Surly we can do better as humans.
What’s equally troubling is that this troubling interpretation of Christianity dictates, for instance, that the next time a shooter enters a school and starts killing innocent children, the Christian thing to do would be to just stand there and let them murder the innocent, and having done that, we would have proven we are worthy of a Heavenly ever-after. Seriously? That is so selfish it offends me beyond words.
I was once bullied at a point that seems like a lifetime ago. I allowed it to go on at the time because I was afraid to stand my ground and do what was right and what was necessary to stop it. To this day, I harbor deep regrets about the physical punishment I took in order to avoid the conflict that would have resulted had I reacted. But those horrific moments as a young child re-defined me later in my life, and I feel, without a doubt, that I’m a better person now for being willing and able to stop evil when I am tasked to do that. No hesitation…and that is as it should be, good “Christian” or not.
Humans will always need warriors among us in order to survive and for there to be peace. That is a human constant and a reality of the decaying world we live in. Anyone can pretend this isn’t reality, but that will never make it so.
If you are willing to stand by and let your loved ones die in order to align yourself with your interpretations of Jesus’ teachings, then so be it, but should there be a violent monster harming others in our presence, I’d really appreciate it if you would kindly clear out of our way so those of us who are willing to stand can give our all so the victims can have a chance to see tomorrow morning’s sunrise.