Saturday, July 23, 2011

Of Excrement, Fans, Guns and Christians

So, when the excrement hits the fan and society breaks down into chaos, what is a Christian supposed to do? About self-defense, I mean. I mentioned in my last post that I planned to get a gun and learn to use it. Homestead self-defense and all that. Sounds a bit like some of the militia groups who already are drawing their lines in the sand and protecting it with a cache of weapons, doesn’t it? One might rightly ask: Tina, would you kill another person who came to seek food or help to survive? Would you be generous, kind, and sharing of what you have in your pantry? Is “preparedness” just another code word for hoarders with guns?

These are actually questions we each need to ask ourselves. If we have a three year pantry, and IT happens --and we obviously don’t know how long we are going to need to eat off that pantry – do we share with those who ask or shoot all comers on sight? If we feed one, will others follow? How many can we help without risking the well-being of our family? Do we stand and defend or stand and depend? In other words, in whom do we trust – Smith & Wesson or Jesus Christ? Do we compromise our testimony by strapping S&W on our hip?

Well, if you are expecting me to hand you an easy answer to those questions, you are going to be pregnant a long time. I wish I could say I have the definitive answer to give you. Okay, well, I guess the first thing we need to do is look at scripture. Here are a few relevant passages:

[25] "Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? [26] Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? ... [31] So do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' [32] For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. [33] But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. [34] Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. - Mat 6:25-26, 31-34 NIV

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, And do not lean on your own understanding. Pr 3:5

[32] Remember those earlier days after you had received the light, when you stood your ground in a great contest in the face of suffering. [33] Sometimes you were publicly exposed to insult and persecution; at other times you stood side by side with those who were so treated. [34] You sympathized with those in prison and joyfully accepted the confiscation of your property, because you knew that you yourselves had better and lasting possessions. - Hbr 10:32-34 NIV

[39] But I tell you, Do not resist an evil person. And if someone wants to sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. [42] Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you. – Mat 5:39,42 NIV

Does that help you any? How do YOU interpret those passages in light of each other and as they may…or may not…apply to our dilemma? Some would, and have, argued with me that I’m taking a “doormat” position if I interpret or apply these scriptures to mean that I am to literally allow anyone to come and take my stuff if they want it. To some extent, my willingness to “be a doormat” depends on just which “stuff” is at risk of being taken. I see no reason not to stand aside and allow the taking of material possessions such as electronics, furniture, car, money. It’s all just so much stuff. As I see it, what matters more to God, a TV or a soul? Where are my treasures stored, here or heaven? Doesn’t scripture admonish us to be willing to forfeit our “rights” and our “stuff” for the cause of Christ?

But, more to the point, what about the one who comes to take away the food, water, or medicines I’ve stored up for my family? If I learn to shoot a gun as a homestead defense measure, how does that measure up to the scripture about “they who live by the sword, die by the sword”? Some have argued that being willing to protect and defend my homestead and family is the essence of being a good steward. To be a good steward, according to their view, is to protect those provisions that God has given me to provide for my family. Scripture also tells us that not to provide for our own families is to be worse than infidels. Even Jesus (Luke 22:35-36) told his disciples to carry a sword – even to trade their coat for a sword if they don’t have one. He understood that His disciples were going to need to defend themselves. Since Jesus is God, He cannot change. It is impossible for God to be of two minds. Knowing this, we know that, somehow, His words in Luke 22 are not in conflict with His words in Matthew 6. There is a time to stand and defend. There is a time to stand and depend. And, always, it is time to trust in His wisdom.

So, all that said, where the rubber meets the road is that preparing for “in case of” is a practical, good stewardship, wise as serpents thing to do. Learning to defend the homestead also falls in that category. Knowing when to defend and when to depend will require reliance on the Spirit that indwells me. One of the benefits of being a Holy Spirit indwelt child of God is that we can trust that His power and His wisdom are available to us at all times and in all seasons.

Trust and obey. There is no better way. That is what we do here at the Not Quite There Yet Homestead.

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