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VIOLENCE

Posted by Job on March 1, 2007

Genesis 6:11 – The earth also was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence.

One of the topics that the Bible dedicates the most time to is violence. In the Bible only idolatry and failure to help the less fortunate are denounced more often by God – whether in his own voice or speaking through his anointed messengers – are denounced more than violence. There are scores of references to God destroying violent cities and nations, as well as castigating murderers. God sent Jonah to warn the Ninevites to repent or be destroyed in large part because of their violence. In Ezekiel 12:19, God made desolate, or ruined and uninhabited, a land because of the violence of its people. Psalm 11:5 says The LORD trieth the righteous: but the wicked and him that loveth violence his soul hateth. And in Genesis 6:13, the only reason God gave Noah for destroying all people and animals on the Earth was violence.

Now in God’s eyes all sins are equal. A “white lie” will send you to eternal damnation just as certainly and quickly as a rape – murder, and by the same token you are forgiven of one in the same manner and ease as another (the consequences for one as opposed to the other is another matter). But God making such prominent and regular mention of violence meant that God knew it to be a particular threat to the individual and collective human nature and condition. A great example of this: God removed Saul from being king of Israel because Saul refused to kill the Amakelite king Agag. The reason why God wanted Agag killed was because he committed great violence with his wars, and God wanted to punish him for his violence and prevent him from committing even more violence. Before Samuel did the will of God after Saul refused, Samuel told Agag “As thy sword hath made women childless, so shall thy mother be childless among women”, letting him know the reason for God’s requiring his death.

So with violence being such a point of emphasis in the Bible, it is amazing the level of tolerance that even very observant Christians have for violence. Please do not mistake the “law and order” zeal even to the point of supporting regular use of the death penalty that religious conservatives possess for opposition to violence. Nay, what those people are against is CRIME. Many such people have feelings ranging from apathy to vigorous support to forms of violence that are not classified by governments as crime. Further, many of these people support excessive violence in the name of fighting crime. They are also actually more likely than the average person to support unnecessary violence under such notions as “standing up for yourself” and “defending honor.” Such persons, despite their professed or real dedication to God in other areas, in this manner put the law of man ahead of God’s law and plan.

The truth is that the only acts of violence by man in the Bible that were acceptable to God were those when God directed the person to use violence in a manner to accomplish God’s will. All other violence was sin. That is the case not only in the New Testament containing the New Covenant given by the Prince Of Peace, but in the “violent” Old Testament as well. And that applies today. Any act of violence that is not done according to God’s command is a sin. Now consider all the acts of violence that are considered not only acceptable but honorable and even necessary by so many Christians.

Self – defense of property, person, or family? Jesus refused to defend himself at every turn, and made the commandment to “turn the other cheek.” You are supposed to rely not on yourself but your God to defend and deliver you and all that you hold dear. Even if tragic damage is done, you must love the will of God more than you love yourself. You have to have faith that everything will still work out to your good because God said in his word that all things work together for good for those that love God (Romans 8:28).

Capital punishment, war, and other state violence? They are only justified if the nation itself is under the will of God. I am not talking about “One nation under God founded on and guided by the principles of Christianity.” I am speaking of a literal theocracy with leaders chosen by God himself and who only do God’s will, as was Israel. And how many among you want that? It is amazing that CHRISTIANS have accepted humanist tenets to the point where even many of the most fervent would violently oppose being governed by a theocracy similar to that in the Book of Judges but yet passionately support routine horrific wide scale violence waged by governments that are not only run by men, but by men that we KNOW are AT BEST deeply flawed, and may even be willful enemies of our Lord. Ask yourself if those who love and trust the rule of man on Earth will get to enter the theocracy that will be heaven. Better yet, ask God!

Realize why Jesus commands Christians to eschew violence. If you act in violence outside the will of God, you will certainly get angry, which goes against what The Word says in James 1:20. Christians are supposed to war in the spirit, not the flesh. See Ephesians 6:11-13. If you fight in the flesh, your victory will usually depend on your own merit. That means that when you go up against a more formidable foe, you will likely lose. Satan knows this, and Satan WANTS is for people, especially Christians, to fight their own battles or have other people fight them for them. (Such as, say, Christians who depend on the government to protect them and legislate and enforce morality.) But if you war in the spirit, God will fight your battle for you, and you will always win! And Jesus was the example. He offered no physical resistance to his crucifixion, and what is more he restrained Peter from doing so. Instead, Jesus warred in the spirit. Even though the flesh was tortured and then died a horrible violent death on the cross, Jesus won in the spirit. He rose again. He defeated sin and death for us and delivered us from the lake of fire.

And consider the magnitude. Jesus, a young healthy carpenter, probably could have taken down any number of his crucifiers. Or he could have called out to heaven and had all of them destroyed. But such a flesh victory would have been only in one place and one time for one person. And the real enemy, Satan, would still have the ability to come back another day and fight again using still more of his human agents. But by warring in the spirit, Jesus achieved a final victory for all people for all time! And those are the sorts of victories that God wants us to have.

Remember: the spiritual battle is the real fight. Physical fights (and even verbal ones) only serve to distract and remove us from the true victory. So, eschew violence and become a real fighter for your God and his people. Furthermore, be encouraged and strengthened with the knowledge that no matter what happens, you will not ever lose because your God cannot lose.

Father God, please remove all manners and forms of violence from me, from the Body of Christ, and from the Land. Please God make us over and renew us into spiritual warriors for your will. And Lord, if you and you alone ever require of me physical violence, may I not disobey and thereby sin. In the name of your Son and my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, Amen.

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