|He who hesitates?|
Should we ever strike first and how do you define a first strike?
(c) 2011 by Tom King
Okay, what would you do in this scenario.
You are confronted by a man you know for a fact has killed and attacked his neighbors repeatedly. He has what looks like a gun in his side pocket. His hand is in the pocket. The shape of the gun points at you.
Your family is standing behind you. The man says I am going to kill you and all of yours. You have a gun in the back of your pants.
- Stand there and hope he doesn't really mean it when he says he's going to kill you and your family.
- Stand there hoping he really doesn't have a gun.
- Ask him to show his gun before you let him shoot you.
- Snap out your pistol and put 3 shots center mass before he can react and shoot you back.
I realize that as a Christian I am required by God to turn the other cheek if it's just me. When my family is standing behind me and are threatened, the ethos changes somewhat. I doubt many of these sunshine moralists have ever stood unarmed facing a guy with a two by four or an 8-inch hunting knife pointed at their bellies and the look of death in their eyes and been required to "turn the other cheek". I have. It's frightening and requires an incredible exercise in faith in your Maker, I'm here to say. I worked with mentally disturbed kids and adults for a couple of decades of my career and this kind of thing happend a lot, so don't tell me I don't understand how to turn the other cheek. When my family is threatened, however, my viewpoint on the matter changes radically.
My wife rags me constantly on my driving when she's with me. I asked her once how she thought I drove when she wasn't in the car? She said, "God takes care of you then, but when I'm here, but when I'm in the car, He expects me to do my part."
That's kind of my take on whether to adopt a passive or proactive response to defense. Don't get me wrong, I do trust God to look out for my family when I'm not around. It's just that when I am around, I think He expects me to do my part.
The command "Thou shalt not kill" by all surrounding Scriptural evidence should read more nearly "Thou shalt preserve life". Scripture shows God repeatedly sending his people to war when the lives of the women and children are threatened. He often seems to order a preemptive strike too with overwhelming force, especially when God knows the enemy plans to strike first.
Sometimes God hurls lightning bolts at the ravening hordes on our behalf as he did for the prophet Samuel on one occasion. At other times, he sends David to whack Goliath on the head with a rock. Now David was preemptive. Goliath had not, after all, actually hurled that spear with the 30 pound head and shaft like a weaver's beam. So far he had been nothing but talk and waving a sharp sword around.
When someone acts like he has weapons of mass destruction, denies he actually does, but has a history of outright lying about the subject, then "What do we do?" becomes a tougher question.
On a personal level, that kind of situation requires a personal relationship with God and some coaching on His part to figure out the answer - and I've found that, in such situations, God does present the answers.
On a national level......well I think God guides there too.
I think God placed G.W. Bush where he was at the time he was needed. For that matter, He also placed LBJ where he was for a specific purpose - probably Civil Rights legislation which no Republican president could ever have pulled off with a Democrat majority in congress. I think Vietnam was allowed, in order to teach us a lesson about arrogance in how we use our strength. In Vietnam we poured out American blood in order to test war toys (which coincidentally made wealthy arms dealers and ex-congressmen and senators and generals wealthy too). We learned from that never to go to war unless you fight to win. The Gulf War taught us not to quit till the job is finished. Iraq and Afghanistan may be about simply opening up the middle east to the idea of democracy, if only long enough to provide a window for God to rescue His people from among the soldiers of the evil one.
Scripture talks about the angels holding back the winds of strife at the very end of Earth's history. I suspect they're having to rope and hog tie those winds right now and that when they let them go, a horror will descend on this planet the likes of which we have never seen.
The United States, for all its flaws, has been a tool in the hand of God and the President's heart is, as the psalmist says, "In the hands of the Lord."
Doesn't mean I won't worry about this president. It doesn't mean I won't question the president or argue with him if I believe what he is doing is wrong. All it means is that I'm confident it will all work out as it should in the end.
Thank God for that.