November 30, 2017 by J.A. Hardgrave
Would Jesus Own a Gun?
What a tough subject, right? Especially if you’re like me and have a spouse and family, it’s incredibly difficult to imagine just standing there and letting a criminal hurt your family if you have the means to stop them. Then add in being a follower of Jesus, a Man who chose to suffer a violent death upon a cross at the hands of evil men rather than calling twelve legions of angels to stop them instantaneously (Matt. 26:53), and it makes the subject even more burdensome.
I wish I could say I am settled on this subject, but the truth is I am still wrestling with it.
Yesterday I posted on Facebook a meme that read, “Christians Carrying Guns: In Alignment With Biblical Principles Or Not?”. So far there are 125 comments and this post garnered responses from multiple perspectives. I will keep the names anonymous but some of the responses included:
“Nothing says, ‘I trust God’ like carrying a piece (gun)”.
-This person is humorously stating that carrying a gun is contrary to trusting God for our protection. I totally see where they are coming from and appreciate the humor in the presentation. I feel we also must consider that thousands of Christians have died due to gun violence and I am sure most of them had a general trust that God would protect them. Trusting God for protection is admirable and Biblical, but the tension still remains that it’s not a 100% guarantee we won’t be a victim of gun violence.
“Jesus told Peter in the garden to put down his sword. Not sell it or give it away or destroy it. In that instance, it was not God’s plan and Jesus also realized it was His time of arrest and trial, not Peter’s. Jesus must have known Peter commonly carried a sword but never forbid it.”
-This is truly a unique perspective I had never heard. This person is saying that Jesus was not telling Peter to never use a sword, but was simply telling Peter to not use a sword to stop such an important event (the arrest of Jesus) that would lead to the forgiveness of the sins of the world. The problem I see is that this argument seems to be contrary to what Jesus said in John 13:34, “So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other”, and also Luke 6:8, “Bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you”. Jesus didn’t say, “Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other, unless someone tries to hurt you, then feel free to lop that jokers head off with your sword.” He also didn’t say, “Bless those who curse you, unless they try to hurt you, then it’s cool to go Chuck Norris on their punk selves.”
But then yet another conflict arises when looking at owning a sword (a weapon designed to hurt others) in this context. How would the apostles preach the gospel if they were killed? Imagine if there were guns in the first century and the Apostle Paul, Peter, and John were all lined in a row and executed with a gun before they had a chance to do anything related to ministry. There goes the gospel reaching the Gentiles, and the Jews, and oh yeah, there goes the New Testament. Putting this in a modern-day context, think of all the incredible fruit God has called all of us to bear in this world. If we get killed prematurely, we won’t be able to fulfill the calling of God on our lives which may include thousands, millions, even billions of people being reached for the gospel. How can someone justify saving one mad-man with a gun over saving the lives of believers in Jesus who are destined to bear incredible fruit in their lifetime?
Then one man commented with a statement that I think settles this issue, as hard as it is for me to accept.
“Can you imagine Jesus packing a gun for self-defense?”
Imagine if guns were around when Jesus began His ministry. Can you picture Jesus walking around Galilee with a AR 15 hanging around his neck or a Glock 33 concealed under his robe? Could you imagine Jesus giving the sermon the mount and right when He says, “Love your enemies”, Peter notices his Glock 33 and speaks up, “Hey Jesus, what’s that on your hip there? Is that, is that a gun, Jesus?” Then Jesus may reply, “Well, um, about that. That’s just if people try to kill me, then I would have to go into beast-mode and cap those fools.” Peter may reply, “But what about all this love your enemies talk? Aren’t you supposed to die on the cross and forgive those who crucify you?”. Could you imagine Jesus responding, “Well, forgiveness and love should be our normal ethics, but when someone tries to kill you, all bets are off, shoot those fools.”
If reading that made-up scenario was tough, it’s because it should be tough to read something Jesus would never do or say.
But then I have to consider guns as it relates to military and protection our society. Is it really giving glory to God to let Kim Jong Un or some other dictator with ill-intent destroy our nation with a nuclear missile? If Kim Jong Un succeeded in wiping out every other nation than North Korea, that would be a huge set back for the gospel of the Kingdom, to say the least. Could you see Jesus telling an American military general, “Go ahead and let the missile wipe out you and America, it’s the loving thing to do”?
Do you now see why this is such a controversial issue? As I said, I am still wrestling with this but I think all Christians would agree that Jesus would never carry a gun and our overall attitude towards others should be loving them unconditionally and blessing those who curse us, not killing them. I also have a family and I believe it’s my job to protect them, but the question then becomes related to how far that protection extends. Does it include killing someone who tries to hurt my family, or is it more Godly to die a martyr and remain in love, which is exactly what Jesus did on the cross?
Written By J.A. Hardgrave
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