HOUSMAIL No. HM#006 : CHRISTIAN RESPONSE UNDER ATTACK
This is my answer to yet another question about Christian Non-violence
Should young ladies carry mace etc. to protect against attacks?
Would gouging at eyes be sin if being wrestled into a kidnappers vehicle?
Spraying someone with mace, or gouging their eyes, is hardly "turning the other cheek", is it? There must be a better way to do this, without compromising the words of Jesus!
In Australia Mace is prohibited. (So are other alternatives such as capsicum sprays) It is ILLEGAL to carry them, or use them for self defence. So of course, in this country that is not an option for Christians. (Romans 13:1-5 & 1 Peter 2:13-15) I suspect that at least some USA states probably have similar laws.
However the illegality of mace is NOT the real issue. The REAL issue is whether or not we BELIEVE Jesus enough to lay our safety on the line, by doing things His way instead of ours. Believing Jesus that way is called FAITH. It is also called "taking up our cross".
The Sermon on the Mount has a lot to say about how Jesus wants us to handle things when our "legal rights" to personal comfort, financial security, possessions, safety, and even life itself, are threatened. Radical obedience calls us to abandon all of the usual HUMAN concepts of safety through justice in the courts, or superior strength in battle. It calls us, instead, to follow the way of peace and non-violence, as God's best answer to aggression and oppression.
It is a TOTAL way of life ..... not a "part time rule" to be followed only when there is no danger to test our faith!!!
Of course it does take REAL faith to lay down our "rights" that way, and not return evil for evil, when we are threatened with harm. (Especially when it might cost us our lives!) However that is an essential element of our Christian calling! (1 Peter 2:20-21)
One of my favorite stories in the Old Testament is about those three young men, who were threatened with a terrible death by burning, if they refused to bow down to the King's idol. (Daniel Chapter 3)
They told the king that God was indeed able to save them, IF HE CHOSE TO. But that wasn't the real issue. They were going to obey God, whether or not He saved them ..... even if it should cost them their lives! (Verses 15-18)
That is the challenge of The Sermon On The Mount. It calls us to measure our safety in terms of our LONG TERM eternal security, by God's ETERNAL standards ..... not by human standards for short term comfort in this present mortal life!
Of course there are some other practical issues which the question does not address.
What if the kidnapper snatches the handbag BEFORE the young lady can get the mace out? What if he has a knife at her throat, or a gun at her head? What if he is bigger and stronger? What if he has a Black Belt in Karate, and knows how to defend himself against "eye gouging"? What if he has taken the victim by surprise, and has already rendered her unconscious before she can attempt to retaliate?
Those questions only serve to emphasise that the HUMAN answer has a VERY limited and uncertain chance of success. It can't EVER be GUARANTEED to work EVERY time!
Our REAL safety will ALWAYS lie in God's hands, not our own. I have come to BELIEVE that the best way to place our safety in God's care, is to do things EXACTLY the way Jesus says ..... even at the risk of losing everything! (Luke 9:23-26)
Just in case that all sounds a bit too threatening, there is a promise from which I personally take great comfort. God says that He will NEVER allow us to be tested beyond our strength! God PROMISES that when temptation comes, there will ALWAYS be a way of escape. (1 Corinthians 10:12-13) Most often, the best way to find it will be to respond to temptation with a difficult CHOICE to do what Jesus says!
Sometimes God waits for that choice from us, before sending the angel to walk with us in the furnace! (Daniel 3:25-28)
And sometimes, in the face of personal danger, the wisdom of God postpones "rescue" until the OTHER SIDE of the grave. Jesus does promise that even if obeying Him should cost us our life, that is NOT the end!
When Jesus returns from Heaven, there WILL be a resurrection to ETERNAL LIFE for those who belong to Jesus!
THE SHORT ANSWER?
"Do not resist one who is evil". (Matthew 5:39)
"Repay no one evil for evil .....
Never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God .....
Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good."