Flatlander Faith

Apologetics from an Anabaptist perspective

Tag Archives: violence

The weapons of a Christian

The whole world is in a mess. What can we do about it?

The answer Jesus gives is :

Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you.

That’s counter-intuitive isn’t it? Our intuitive response is to answer anger with anger, hatred with hatred, violence with violence; guns with guns. But that always leads to more anger, more hatred, more violence, more shootings.

Some people say that citizens need to be armed to defend against the rogue element in our society. But the shooter at Uvalde was wearing a bullet proof vest. And where is a teacher going to keep a gun so that it will not get into the wrong hands, yet be instantly available when a threat arises? And how is a teacher to know the difference between rowdiness and a life-threatening situation?

There has to be a better way. The way of love and peace may seem weak. It is entirely possible that we may get hurt while countering evil with love and peace, yet they are still more powerful than any weapon used against us.

For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds

The breaking point

Dad and I had never been close; fear of his impatience and anger made me keep a safe distance. As I grew up the gulf between us widened and neither of us knew how to bridge it.

One Sunday in June of 1959 we were on our way home from church. I was driving, Mom was on the passenger side and Dad between us. Dad began berating me about some little thing that grew bigger and bigger as he spoke. His voice grew louder and his hands waved in agitation. Suddenly he was trying to wrest control of the steering wheel away from me. Then we were driving in the ditch, Dad shouting in incoherent rage. I broke his grip, pushed him away from the wheel, steered the truck back onto the highway and made it the rest of the way home.

Dad continued his tirade as we walked into the house. In the kitchen he grabbed a piece of firewood and began shouting that he was going to teach me a lesson I wouldn’t forget. A series of thoughts flashed through my mind: “I am 17, Dad is 67; I am as big as he is; I am as strong as he is; I can yell as loud as he can.” I reached down and picked up another piece of firewood, brandished it at him and bellowed back “I dare you to try it.”

Dad’s arm slowly went down, he put the wood back in the box beside the stove. “Next time I will teach you the lesson you need to learn.” I put my piece of wood back and went for a walk.

When I came back into the house Mom had dinner on the table and we all sat down. Dad said a prayer and we ate in strained silence.

I never knew what would trigger Dad’s anger and I doubt he did either. This was the first time he had completely lost control of himself and become violent. When I stood up to him, we knew we had each crossed a line and our relationship would never be the same.

My father was not an evil man. He meant well, but by the time his only child came along when he was 50 he didn’t have a clue how to teach me to be the son he wanted. All I ever wanted was a Dad who would love me and let me talk to him without fear.

What is wrong with the world?

Yesterday at the Walmart checkout there was a lady with three children ahead of me. The oldest child, a boy of about eight, was sitting in the shopping cart. The mother kept asking him what happened to a small toy that he had picked up, and he denied knowing anything about it. Finally she wrestled him up and pulled it out from under him and placed it with the other items on the checkout belt. The boy wailed his frustration.

A little later, while I was eating supper at Tim Horton’s, a mother and a boy of about ten were standing in the lineup to order. She gave him some money and he immediately barged up in front of others who were waiting to order and ordered a hot chocolate. He repeatedly called his mother to join him, but she refused and waited her turn. I noticed the design and printing on the back of the boy’s jacket: “bad boy,” ” bow to no one,” “warrior.”

There are children in our cities who dare not go home at night for fear of drug and alcohol fuelled violence. Many children are removed from homes where they are not properly cared for and placed in foster homes. At the first hint of trouble they are moved to another foster home. Many who would make good foster parents are afraid to try because of the heavy hand of the social service agencies.

Violence against women is increasing, there are many unsolved disappearances and murders. Violence against police is increasing. Police officers are more heavily armed than ever before and occasionally they overstep their authority, yet instances of assault and even murder of police officers far outnumber instances of assault by police officers.

Where can we look for answers to set aright the things that are going wrong in our society? To the schools? It is the schools that are teaching children that all ideas of right and wrong are only someone’s opinion. That is the source of the problem, not the cure.

What about the news media? They have succumbed to following every turn of the wind  of political correctness.

Politicians? They rule by public opinion polls and the polls reflect what the schools and media teach.

The churches? There was a time when the churches stood for something, now most are like the politicians: they stand for what they think the people want to hear.

Yet if there is any hope for our society, it will have to come from those who have convictions based on reality. The Bible understands us better than we understand ourselves, because it was inspired by our Maker who understands what we really need in order to experience peace and happiness.

But we cannot help the world by continually pointing out what people are doing wrong. People already know that things aren’t working out quite like they hoped, yet they continue to hope that the same “experts” who got them into the current mess can lead them to happiness.

The Bible has better answers for people’s needs. They are not easy answers, but they work. Let us be clear though that we do not have the answers. If we talk and act like Pharisees we will not be any more useful that they were.

What the world needs from Christians is compassion, understanding and a conviction to teach and live the basics of the faith which we claim. Simplistic answers and pep talks will not help. We need to steadfastly refuse to be swept along with the madness of the world and we need to have the courage to explain why. Many will consider our explanations scandalous, but some will listen.

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