“We sleep soundly in our beds because rough men stand ready in the night to visit violence on those who would do us harm.”
The man responsible for those words is Sir Winston Churchill, a man for his times. Notice he says “those who would do us harm,” not those who did us harm. Many think we need a man like Sir Winston Churchill who understands our times and acts in light of that reality.
We have an interesting political battle going on as we have released our interrogation methods, yet refuse to put them into the context of the information received or circumstances in which they are used. This unfairly politicizes the issue- trying to make things black and white when they are a little less so.
This quote from Sir Winston is at the beginning of Vince Flynn’s latest Mitch Rapp novel, Extreme Measures. It is a novel for these times, trying to explain why it is important to have such rough men ready, for there are despicable men who hide behind religion to exploit others and protect themselves as they wage a war of terror on civilians.
Yes, Vince has found a formula that works (though he deviates from it at the very end of this novel), but I enjoy his books. I do want that man out there protecting my family from those who would harm them simply because they live in America.
As Christians we can often confuse the issues, misapply Scripture and really be muddle headed about these issues. Emotions can cloud the issue on both sides.
First, there is a difference in Scripture between the response of an individual to unjustice, and the response of a government. We see that clearly in Romans 12 – 13. The individual is not to seek revenge, but entrust such justice to God. The government, on the other hand, bears the sword to punish evildoers.
Turning the other cheek is about insult, and again is the individual forsaking retribution. This would not rule out self-defense should one want to physically hurt you. Context is key.
We see something of a wartime ethic in Scripture. Both the midwives and Rahab were blessed for deceiving those who sought to perpetrate evil. Truth is not a black and white issue- sometimes we have to consider what will be done with the truth. Will they use the truth to rob, steal or kill? The context of “speaking the truth in love” is the covenant community moving toward maturity. You can lovingly speak the truth to an evil person by calling their actions what they are, while refusing to divulge the information they want.
But we have some positive encouragements about the righteous man:
Those who forsake the law praise the wicked, but those who keep the law resist them. Proverbs 28(NIV)
The righteous man/person resists the wicked. He does not stick his head in the sand and let them commit great sins against others. This is because God is seen as the One who defends the defenseless. As those being renewed in God’s image, we are to act like Him. We are to defend the defenseless, protect the poor, care for the widows and orphans.