Are Christians Allowed to Fight?

“But I say to you, do not resist an evil person; but whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also.   Matthew 5:39
I have had trouble with this verse all my life. I thought it meant to never fight anyone for any reason. One day, the woman who lived next door to us was out on our lawn screaming. We looked out and saw her ex-husband was beating her. I called 911 while my husband ran outside. He tackled the man and threw him on the ground. He put his foot on his chest and told him to lie there until the police came. (Before he was a Christian, my husband was in a lot of fights.)
I believe we did what was right to do. But then I would come to this verse about not resisting evil and not understand. I used to wonder if we were supposed to fight Hitler. That seemed right to me too. Last night, I thought I would see what Bible commentators said about it. This has helped me understand what Jesus meant. So, if you are interested in this subject, here are two commentaries I found on Bible Hub, which is a wonderful sight for studying the Bible.
Barne’s Notes on the Bible.
An eye for an eye … – This command is found in Exodus 21:24Leviticus 24:20, and Deuteronomy 19:21. In these places it was given as a rule to regulate the decisions of judges. They were to take eye for eye, and tooth for tooth, and to inflict burning for burning. As a judicial rule it is not unjust. Christ finds no fault with the rule as applied to magistrates, and does not take upon himself to repeal it. But instead of confining it to magistrates, the Jews had extended it to private conduct, and made it the rule by which to take revenge. They considered themselves justified by this rule to inflict the same injury on others that they had received. Our Saviour remonstrates against this. He declares that the law had no reference to private revenge, that it was given only to regulate the magistrate, and that their private conduct was to be governed by different principles.

 

The general principle which he laid down was, that we are not to resist evil; that is, as it is in the Greek, nor to set ourselves against an evil person who is injuring us. But even this general direction is not to be pressed too strictly. Christ did not intend to teach that we are to see our families murdered, or be murdered ourselves; rather than to make resistance. The law of nature, and all laws, human and divine, justify self-defense when life is in danger. It cannot surely be the intention to teach that a father should sit by coolly and see his family butchered by savages, and not be allowed to defend them. Neither natural nor revealed religion ever did, or ever can, inculcate this doctrine. Our Saviour immediately explains what he means by it. Had he intended to refer it to a case where life is in danger, he would most surely have mentioned it. Such a case was far more worthy of statement than those which he did mention.

A doctrine so unusual, so unlike all that the world had believed. and that the best people had acted on, deserved to be formally stated. Instead of doing this, however, he confines himself to smaller matters, to things of comparatively trivial interest, and says that in these we had better take wrong than to enter into strife and lawsuits. The first case is where we are smitten on the cheek. Rather than contend and fight, we should take it patiently, and turn the other cheek. This does not, however, prevent our remonstrating firmly yet mildly on the injustice of the thing, and insisting that justice should be done us, as is evident from the example of the Saviour himself. See John 18:23. The second evil mentioned is where a man is litigious and determined to take all the advantage the law can give him, following us with vexatious and expensive lawsuits. Our Saviour directs us, rather than to imitate him rather than to contend with a revengeful spirit in courts of justice to take a trifling injury, and yield to him. This is merely a question about property, and not about conscience and life.

Elliott’s Commentary for English Readers.

Resist not evil.—The Greek, as before in Matthew 5:37, may be either masculine or neuter, and followed as it is by “whosoever,” the former seems preferable; only here it is not “the evil one,” with the emphasis of pre-eminence, but, as in 1Corinthians 5:13, the human evil-doer. Of that mightier “evil one” we are emphatically told that it is our duty to resist him (James 4:7).

Shall smite.—The word was used of blows with the hand or with a stick, and for such blows fines from a shekel upwards were imposed by Jewish courts.

Turn to him the other also.—We all quote and admire the words as painting an ideal meekness. But most men feel also that they cannot act on them literally; that to make the attempt, as has been done by some whom the world calls dreamers or fanatics, would throw society into confusion and make the meek the victims. The question meets us, therefore, Were they meant to be obeyed in the letter; and if not, what do they command? And the answer is found (l) in remembering that our Lord Himself, when smitten by the servant of the high priest, protested, though He did not resist (John 18:22-23), and that St. Paul, under like outrage, was vehement in his rebuke (Acts 23:3); and (2) in the fact that the whole context shows that the Sermon on the Mount is not a code of laws, but the assertion of principles.

And the principle in this matter is clearly and simply this, that the disciple of Christ, when he has suffered wrong, is to eliminate altogether from his motives the natural desire to retaliate or accuse. As far as he himself is concerned, he must be prepared, in language which, because it is above our common human strain, has stamped itself on the hearts and memories of men, to turn the left cheek when the right has been smitten. But the man who has been wronged has other duties which he cannot rightly ignore. The law of the Eternal has to be asserted, society to be protected, the offender to be reclaimed, and these may well justify—though personal animosity does not—protest, prosecution, punishment.

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From Then Until Now. Bio of the Last 8 years.

I’m embarrassed to write this post because by the time a person is 63 or 64, she should be smart enough not to mess-up in such a spectacular fashion. Especially a Christian. But then, I’ve never been a normal Christian, so that may explain it.

Okay, so my husband and I lived with our daughter, Christine, and her family, for 10 years so I could take care of her daughter, Faith, who had OCD. When Faith turned 14, she was doing quite well and didn’t need me anymore. My daughter sold their house and when it came time to move, my husband and I rented an apartment. Christine and her family moved to another city because of her husband’s job.

I didn’t know I would slowly fall apart. I was used to seeing both of my daughters and my grandchildren every day. Suddenly, I’m alone all day in an apartment without a car. My husband works in another city 45 minutes away. I thought about getting involved with a mental health program for adults. I could meet other people like myself and they had painting classes and outings. I really wanted to try this, but I became sick with digestive problems which made me afraid to leave the house. I simply couldn’t get on a bus and ride around town because I never knew when I would get sick.

When this happened, I felt devastated. I was very lonely. I couldn’t even visit my mom except on weekends when I had the car. We couldn’t afford two cars. That would have solved my problems, but it was impossible.

My husband and I would sometimes drive and go see Christine and family in their new digs, but I have fibromyalgia and traveling is painful. I rarely saw my oldest daughter anymore. She had a lot on her mind taking care of her son and step-children. So, there I was, lonely and depressed. No one to talk with; no one to be with.

I started asking God to take my life. I couldn’t see any reason to hang around and be bored to death. Sometimes, I stayed in bed all day. Nothing interested me. I didn’t like TV and you can only read so much. Empty hours stretched ahead of me and seemed like a life sentence in jail.

I was having trouble sleeping, I always have, and decided to take some sleeping pills. After I took one, I thought, “Why don’t you finish the bottle?” So I did. All together only 11 sleeping pills. I hoped it was enough, but wasn’t sure. Before I took them, God spoke to my heart and said, “Call a suicide hotline.”  But I felt embarrassed to do that. I was very embarrassed by who I was. It is embarrassing to be mentally ill.

Long story short, my husband came home and I was passed out on the floor. I woke up in the hospital in a delirium. It took hours for the effect of the pills to wear off. And let me tell you, being delirious in front of tons of people is embarrassing.  I should have called the hotline. As usual, God was right.

The chief psychiatrist wanted to admit me, but my husband told him of a time years ago when I was admitted into a hospital for a suspected heart attack and had lost my mind. I disassociated and became a little girl again, afraid of being raped and crying non-stop. They drugged me at that hospital so I was calm enough to have tests. So, my husband told the psychiatrist the same thing would happen again.  He didn’t admit me, but I had to go to counseling. 

I went back to see my previous counselor, who is a Christian. She helped me quite a bit and I started making journals of my life from birth until now. I joined, Brave Girl’s Club, which is online. They charge a small fee, but it was well worth the money. The site helps you with journal ideas and encourages you to like yourself.

Then I read something that changed everything for me. I can’t remember what book or blog I read this on, but the author wrote, “Whatever you want to kill yourself over, you love that thing or person more than God.”

Well, that shocked me, but after reading the whole chapter, I believed it was true. Why did I want to kill myself? Quite a few reasons, but the biggest was I was lonely and missed my girls and grandchildren. So, I thought, I must love them more than God. I thought I loved God above all people and all things, but I was wrong. Sure I was lonely, but shouldn’t having God in my life been enough? 

I said to God that day, “Okay, God. It’s just you and me now. I’m going to spend tons and tons of time with you. I need you to be enough for me because I have no one else.”

Lo and behold, he was enough. Each day got better and better. I was still waking up depressed though, and remembered what Joyce Meyer says about quoting Scripture out loud when you are depressed. I still do that every morning. As I do, I feel God’s peace and love. My shoulders relax and I smile – first thing in the morning! Lol  A miracle for me.

I told the Lord how bored I was. I asked him to find some activity for me that I would enjoy. I went on the internet looking up different crafts when I came upon wood carving. I had always been interested in sculpture and wood carving looked easier and cheaper. So, I bought some firewood, pine and balsa wood. I wasn’t strong enough to do it by hand, so my husband bought me a Dremel with a bunch of sanders and cutters. I really enjoyed working with wood. I made quite a few items. I’ll post some pics.

Afterwards, I decided to try my hand at painting and I like doing that even more than working with wood. I talk with God about my projects and ask him to help me. He does. I still spend lots of time with him, because I know it is him who keeps me alive and interested in life. I’m rarely ever depressed, and if I feel sad I run to Him right away and stay there til I feel better. 

What have I learned through this? I’ve learned if all you have is God – he is enough. I think that if I hadn’t gotten sick or had a car and gone out a lot etc. I wouldn’t have found out how little I loved and appreciated God. I wouldn’t have learned what a wonderful father, brother, friend, counselor and husband he is. I thank God now for what I went through and how I suffered, because through it, I learned the most wonderful thing I have ever known in my life – God loves me and I love God.

 

 

My 60’s With God. The Valley of Death.

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Craig with his aunt Christine.

I was going to write about my 60’s in one post, but I can see that isn’t going to happen. I felt I left out a lot about my grandson and his relationship with God in my last post about him, so I’m going to write about that today. When I sit down to write, I’m never sure what will end up on the page. I hope Craig’s story will help someone.

When I was 61, my beloved grandson, Craig, died. When Craig was a teenager, he told me he was an atheist. His step-father was one and he thought that was right. We talked about that a bit and over the years he came to believe there was a God.

Craig was in mental pain most of the time. His biological father had died of a drug overdose. Craig had never gotten to really know him and his death was devastating for him. He had hoped one day to connect with him and have a relationship. He and his brother started doing drugs and getting into trouble with the police. It was a very sad time for all of us. He once got in trouble with a gang who threatened to kill him. One day, I had to wash his blood out of his new winter jacket because they had beaten him. He was in fights a lot. He had a lot of anger inside. He went to jail and had a trial in Vancouver when he hurt someone badly in a fight. He was found not guilty though, because he hadn’t started it.

When he moved to Kelowna, he used to come over and talk with me about his life. He said he had so many regrets. We talked about God. He thought God could not love someone like him, but I told him God loved him even more than I did. He gradually began praying. He went to visit his step-father, who had not been a good father to him. They had long talks and the rift was mended. He went to visit his real father’s ex-wife and his two half-siblings. They all loved Craig. Then he came home, and there was another trial because he was in a fight at a party in Kelowna. He knew we were praying for him. He was also praying. He wanted to be a better person and told us he would like to go to schools and warn teens about drugs. But he was still doing drugs himself.

At his trial, he was found innocent again because it was a free-for-all fight, but he was put on probation. If he did one wrong thing, he would go to jail for a year. When I heard that, I knew he would probably not be able to be good for a year and he would be going to a prison up north. After the trial, Craig was happy and the last thing he said to us was, “Thank you for praying for me.”

That night, he was at a party and drank too much. He passed out face down on a soft sofa and smothered. The coroner said he had seen many teen boys who died this way. Their bodies are too much asleep to turn over and breathe. 

Of course, the whole family was in terrible mourning. My daughters, his cousins – just everyone. But we did all believe he was saved because he had been praying and talking about God. I know I will see him again. That hope is what kept me going, plus the peace of God that came upon me. The Lord is a great comforter. I believe he took Craig, because life was just too hard for him. I said to someone, “I’ve been praying for that boy since the day he was born. I know the Lord has saved Craig from something worse that was going to happen.” I still believe that.

After the funeral, a friend of his wrote on his memorial page, “You taught us the meaning of unconditional love.” Many, many young people came to the funeral and we were comforted by their stories of how Craig had helped them. Even kids from his  elementary school came and told us of Craig’s kindness. We were actually stunned at how many people he had helped during his short life. He was 21 when he died.

Okay, this was going to be about my big mistakes when I was in my 60’s, but I think I will do that next time. I just want to praise and thank God for giving Craig to us for the years he was here. I want to thank Him for taking Craig to himself where he can finally be at peace.

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Craig, with his father, Gerard.

Miracles in Motion. God in My 50’s.

 

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God did some wonderful things for our family when I was in my 50’s. I was babysitting my grandsons, Craig and Jordan aged around 3 and 4, when their mother was transferred to a better job located 9 hours north of us. The boys were upset and didn’t want to move. They didn’t want to leave me and the rest of the family. But it was a permanent job, whereas her regular job was not. She felt she had to  go.

We were sad about it, and I went up to Prince George with her to get the boys settled in a daycare center. Sandy, my daughter, found a lovely daycare in a church and run by Christians. I was very happy about that. The first day I took the boys, we looked around and it was a very large area in the basement of the church. There were wonderful toys and books all around the room. The people were very friendly. I could see the boys would be okay; I stayed for a week and took a train home.

I didn’t think I would see the boys very often after the move. Nine hours was a long way to go to just spend a weekend. The Lord knew how much I loved and missed them because miracles started happening right away. My husband works for a gas utility company. He used to travel to different cities for his work. That year, they asked him to go to Prince George, which was the city Sandy and the boys lived in. The company gave my husband money for gas, food and a hotel. I was allowed to go with him. I don’t remember how many times we went, for a week at a time, but I think it was three or four times during the year Sandy worked there. They had never asked him to work there before, and after Sandy moved to Vancouver, they never asked my husband to work there again.

So, Sandy got an even better job in Vancouver, BC, a huge city by Canadian standards. They only lived 5 hours away now, which meant we could visit them and they could visit us. It was lovely. In fact, my husband’s company now started sending him to Vancouver! We stayed in lovely hotels off and on for two years. 

When the boys got older, they went to elementary school and then to a daycare, next door to the school, until Sandy was off work. Well, they were very unhappy in the daycare. They were the oldest ones there and they started getting angry and acting up. Sandy asked if maybe we could move to Vancouver and help with the boys.

By this time, the managers in Vancouver really wanted Dan to move there. Dan had said no before, because we loved living in Kelowna. But since the boys needed us, he told the company we would move there. So, that seemed a miracle to me also that just when they needed us, God made it possible to move where they lived.

When the boys were 12 and 13, my younger daughter, Christine, called from Kelowna. Her daughter, Faith, was sick with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. Christine had to work. They could not live on what her husband made. There was just no choice for her. She asked if we could move back to Kelowna. I told her I doubted we could since there was no work there, as far as I knew. But I told her we would pray about it.

My husband told me there was no jobs for him there and would not be; everything had been closed down there.  I told him how much Christine needed us, and she needed us right now! We prayed and for the first time in my life, I asked God for a sign. Because if God showed us we would be able to move there then I would go now and my husband would go when the job came up.

That night, I had a dream. I was in an airplane with my mother. She was beside the window. I leaned over and looked through the window and saw Kelowna. “We’re home,” I said to her. Then I woke up. I told my husband God had sent us a sign and I could move right away, and I did.

A year later, my husband had a job in Kelowna with the same company. They had decided to move the main warehouse from Vancouver to Kelowna. My husband had to take a step downward in his career, but he was okay with that. Family has always come first with him. During the year we were apart, he would drive down every other weekend to visit.

Now we say, “God moved a warehouse for us.”  Yep, he did, and I’ve very grateful. We lived with Christine and her family for 10 years, until Faith was 14 years old and didn’t need me anymore. I treasure the time I had with her. She has suffered with her disease, and still has some problems, but she has grown into a wonderful, vibrant adult.

I never thought I would be happy living in a huge city with millions of people, but I fell in love with Vancouver. I count those years as some of the happiest of my life. One reason was where we lived, which was across the street from where the boys went to school. We had asked God to help us find a place near the school. We were thrilled with what he gave us.

The school was in a beautiful neighborhood, one block from English Bay and three blocks from Stanley Park. I walked along the beach and through the woods and saw so many beautiful things of nature. Every day the weather was nice, I walked. The boys and I had such fun. We walked or took the bus to the bowling alley, comic book store, arcade, movies, and swimming pool. When you live in the heart of a city, you don’t have to drive anywhere. 

How do you thank a God who does such things for you? There is a line in a song that says something like, “It’s gonna take forever to exhaust my gratitude. But I’m never gonna stop, til the whole world knows that I’m grateful…”  That’s how I feel sometimes about God. Forever is not enough time to say thank you. 

 

My Life with God in My 40’s.

My grandsons and granddaughters. Taken 8 or 10 years ago.

I must warn those who keep reading that this story is partly about sexual child abuse.

My forties were half wonderful, half crazy painful. When my daughters got married and left home, I fell into a depression. I had lived for my children and my life and  home felt empty. I went to a psychologist and he suggested I go to university and work towards a career. I liked that idea, so I did go and enjoyed it immensely. However, something happened that made it impossible to keep going and get a degree.

When I was 46, I went to stay with my father when my mother went to Florida to visit my sister. My father had been dizzy and falling, so I went over to make sure he would be okay. That night, alone with him in the house, he knocked on the bathroom door while I was in there getting ready for bed. All of a sudden, I became terrified. I thought he was going to rape me. I ran out and went in the bedroom I was to sleep in and tried to lock the door, but I couldn’t. I went to bed very frightened of him. The next morning I went home as soon as I woke up.

I shook all this off and decided I was just imagining things. Then I started having dreams. Dreams of him chasing me, harming me, abusing me. I told my sisters what had happened. They told me secrets they had kept all their lives. My older sister said our father’s brother had touched her sexually. My youngest sister said the same uncle had also molested her. I was shocked and horrified. I decided to go to my psychologist and talk with him about it.

He was skeptical at first, but after a few visits trying to sort things out, if it was my father or someone else, he concluded I had been molested by him. He wanted to use a therapy where they tap your hand while talking; it was supposed to bring the memories back clearly. I didn’t want that. I felt if God had made me forget the details, then I didn’t want to go around God and find out more than my mind could take.

Well, from then on I have had mental problems, breakdowns and dissociation, which is when you kind of stop being an adult and  you become the child again. It is kind of spooky. I don’t realize it is happening when it happens, I just start crying like a little child or start talking in a child’s voice. My daughters always know when this happens. My voice sounds the same to me. This happens if I am under stress or sad.

I would have to write a book to describe what all I went through, and I have no plans to do that. I went to a few more psychologists and was an outpatient one time when I was hearing things. I am much better now, my biggest problem is social phobia and not wanting to drive or leave the house. But since I’m 67, I’ve decided not to fight that and just stay home for the most part. I really enjoy my life at home.

God was with me through all of this. He gave me a few beautiful dreams where he was right beside me. In the first dream, he looked at me with sorrow for what I was going through. The second dream was amazing. I was in church and saw my father there. I said to him, “You can’t hurt me anymore. God’s angels are with me.”  Then I turned and left the church. I was surrounded by many angels. We walked outside to a field and sat on the grass and sang a beautiful song to God. I looked up and saw a hill with three crosses on top. Suddenly, roses began growing and climbing up the middle cross until it was covered in pink roses. I stood up, and as I did I saw Jesus himself coming into view over the hill. I ran to him crying and flung myself into his arms. He was smiling at me and held me close.

The third dream was of Jesus and I riding beautiful, black horses. We were riding fast through a field. Jesus and I were laughing and enjoying the experience. All of a sudden, the horses grew beautiful, large, black wings and we rose into the sky and up to the stars. I knew we were going to heaven.

The wonderful part of my 40’s was when my grandchildren came into the world. I feel the best gift God has given me personally is my children and grandchildren.

God has shown me through the years to quote Scripture when I get depressed or have nightmares. No matter how bad I feel in the morning, or how bad I feel about my mother’s illness, I quote Scripture. I ask God for strength of mind and spirit. I thank him for being here with me and walking with me through life. My mind is transformed; I actually feel great peace and happiness. He is an amazing God. He is the strength of my life and my portion forever.

 

 

A Trip to the Hospital.

My mother woke up at 11pm feeling very sick. We called an ambulance and followed her to the hospital. At 5am they had a diagnosis. They are 90% sure she has colon cancer. We didnt want her to have a biopsy because they said it was painful and we didn’t  have to do it. 

She is out of pain now. There had been a blockage in her colon, but it passed. Now all we do is make sure she is as comfortable  as possible. Canadian Health Plan is wonderful. When she is in a bad way, they will be sending 4 nurses a day to give her whatever she needs. 

  • So, this is why I haven’t  been reading or commenting on many blogs lately. I’m  pretty tired physically  and mentally. The Lord is with us and giving us peace and strength. I’m  thankful for his presence. May God bless you all with the Holy Spirit. I pray we will all grow in the knowledge and love of the Lord Jesus.

Continued Bio: My 30’s with God.

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My husband and I wanted to send our children to church school so we moved to a city called, Kelowna, which was a small city then. My husband got a job at the gas company and we have lived here ever since, except for 5 years when we lived in Vancouver because of his work.

We joined a church and I would say my 30s were full of a lot of happiness with some problems. My husband was active in the church in many roles. I taught the little children. Our daughters loved living in Kelowna because it has a large lake to swim in and mountains all around  for hiking and camping.

We did have some problems in our marriage off and on, like most people, I would guess. My husband had been physically abused by his father and step-father as a child. He had not been raised in a loving family. But a wonderful thing happened after he became a Christian. He went home and told everyone what God had done for him and almost all his family became Christians as well. His mother embraced Christ and they are all still walking with God.

We had many Christian friends from our church. We really enjoyed their fellowship. We would have a meeting every Friday night at our house and would talk about God and sing songs. We did a lot with our girls. We took them to Disneyland twice. We had just enough money to drive down there, stay two or three nights and drive straight back home, but it was so much fun. Mostly, we took them camping, which they still love doing in their 40s.

At 37, my husband became sick. It took a year for the doctors to find out what was wrong. He had a carcinoid tumor on his bile duct. They operated, but there was hardly any of the bile duct left and they said he may have 10 years to live at most. After the operation, he never got his original strength back. They found he had Carcinoid Symdrome, which is chemicals coming out of the tumors and making one tired, nauseous and debilitated. He decided to try to keep working in spite of feeling sick and he has done that for 30 years. He has had many opportunities to tell people about God, because many people at work asked him why he wasn’t angry and bitter about being sick. He would then share his faith in God and how this is not the only life we have.

His bile duct did give out, but there was a new invention to replace it with a stent. That is why he is still alive and I am grateful to God and also to those who invented it. He has had two other stents put in, I think in his intestines.

When my husband became sick, he stopped going to church and going camping etc. He didn’t want to see our friends any longer.  It took all his energy to go to work. On his vacations, he wasn’t as tired, so we would drive to the U.S. to visit my sisters and see the sights.  He would still feel tired and pain, but he took pills and we didn’t walk far.

I am so thankful to God for helping my husband all these years. He loved his job, and he has been happy working there. For myself, I loved raising our daughters. I’m so thankful God gave them to us. They are such a blessing and joy. Of course, we did have trouble when they were teens. I want to thank God for helping us through all that. Neither of them wanted to be a Christian, which was a heartache, but we kept hoping and praying and they are both Christians now.

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