Non-resistance?

I want to share some passages with you from the Bible.  I think that these passages fairly clearly call true believers who are seeking to do God’s will to a life of non-resistance.  As such, I think these passages fairly clearly call me to leave my position in the United States Air Force Reserves and, quite possibly, my position with the Nebraska Department of Correctional Services.  If you disagree, please feel free to comment or email me to let me know where I got it wrong:

Matthew 5:38-47

38“You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’[g] 39But I tell you, Do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. 40And if someone wants to sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. 41If someone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles. 42Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you.

43“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor[h] and hate your enemy.’ 44But I tell you: Love your enemies[i] and pray for those who persecute you, 45that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. 46If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? 47And if you greet only your brothers, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that?

Romans 12:14-21

14Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. 15Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. 16Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited.

17Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody. 18If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. 19Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. 20On the contrary:
“If your enemy is hungry, feed him;
if he is thirsty, give him something to drink.
In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.” 21Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

Interestingly, the following chapter, Romans 13, discusses submission to civil authorities (the ruler “does not bear the sword for nothing”).  So some could say my violent jobs are as the ruler’s right hand, as his sword.  But I don’t find any Biblical justification for such participation as a follower of The Way.

I know some will feel like I am stepping on toes, but I am stepping on noone’s toes more than my own.  And it hurts.

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3 Comments

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3 responses to “Non-resistance?

  1. There are certainly many examples from the Old Testament of God’s people fighting for just causes, and also needing government and even jail settings for justice to be done. I think of Moses ruling the people, the rules and regulations in Dueteronomy, King David’s rule, Joshua leading the armies, fighting for the Promised Land, also Jesus one day ruling with an iron sceptor. God of course is just and orderly, and sometimes this does mean resistance on the part of his people to uphold that. But the important thing here is that obviously He is convicting you of something. God will be faithful to where He is calling you.

  2. Sandbar Stolviks

    It appears to me that you are applying scripture commands given as a “personal” command in a situation where you are working for the government and not acting as an individual.

    For instance, the biblical command “Thou shalt not kill” is a “personal” command and not a command given to “government” which has scriptural authority to defend itself (and it’s citizens) as well as keep prisoners. Many folks get confused and think it applies to governments, too, but it does not.

    A Christian can certainly serve in the military and as a prison guard with God’s blessing. BTW, it’s a great witnessing opportunity, too. 🙂

    Sometime last year, I taught a Sunday School lesson on the biblical support for capital punishment. Many of the scriptural arguments for capital punishment are applicable to your concern. Simply put, though, there is no scriptural reason for a Christian to NOT serve in a military/prison position.

  3. Rob

    Donald,
    I enjoyed reading your post and am always saddened when I read humans use God/Christianity to justify violence. Applying the teachings of Jesus to the real world is a difficult thing at times and causes many conflicts. Incorporating your faith or compassion that you gain from your faith into your current jobs can only benefit those on the receiving end of US military or Nebraska correction facility actions and also sets an example for those others you work with that also may not employ appropriate compassion for those they use violence against. Hope the farm is doing well! Cheers, Rob

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