Motive behind the devastating massacre of the faithful at a small Southern Baptist church in Sutherland Springs, Texas is immaterial. The assumption that Christians are easy targets is not.
There is a perception that Christians are unarmed and unwilling to protect and preserve the lives of the ones they love. It is a misconception. Christians base their faith in love, the all-encompassing love of God that is God, 1John 4:8.
Does this mean that Christians cannot stand up to physical assaults on their families, friends, nation and themselves because they honor the love of God and for His children, their fellow man, to the point that they allow themselves to be victimized? No, it does not. It is because they honor all these things that they stand their ground, which includes being prepared to defend themselves.
The concept of meekness is generally misunderstood, often by Christians as well as unbelievers. Many seem to think it is defined as timid, retiring or even cowardly. That could not be farther from the truth of how Jesus used it in His Sermon on the Mount, “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.” Matthew 5:5.
Being meek does not mean capitulating to the evil of the world by refusing to fight it.¬†The meek are those who humble themselves before their Creator, His Son Jesus and the Holy Spirit, allowing God to guide their lives as a horse is guided by the reins. Truthfully, Christians are exhorted to be bold in testifying for their faith, not shy, inhibited or cowed about sharing it. Hebrews 13:6 “So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me.” Also Ephesians 6:18-20.
Non-believers also misconstrue the following scripture to mean that Christians are instructed to go as far as dying for every truth-hating Tom, Dick, Harriet, communist, or jihadi on a mission of evil. Read it:
1John 3:16 “This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters.”
Be assured that Jesus sacrificed His life on the Cross for all mankind, taking upon Himself all sin, inviting every person to receive His gift of Grace, not forcing them to accept that gift. Yet John tells us in his inspired epistle that we show our love for Christ by being willing to die for fellow believers. This does not negate how many Christians, out of the overwhelming love deposited in their hearts by Jesus, will also give up their lives for unbelievers. In fact, they often do.
Christians are called to lay down their lives for their brethren, not enemies of the truth, though they are called to pray for them, forgive them and even love them. Vengeance is the Lord’s –
Romans 12:18-20 “If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men. 19Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord. 20Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head.
Believers do not seek revenge for they know God handles retribution. Self-defense is another matter.
If there are villains or evildoers out there who still presume that a church is easy prey for murder with their weapon of choice (that includes vehicles, knives, machetes, poison as well as guns), they should give it further thought.
Churches across this nation have members who pack. The last two churches I have attended in my travels are protected by members with conceal carry permits. And in states where there is open carry, members are free to wear their pistol in plain sight. There is no special legislation that need be passed to bestow upon churches the “right” to have members carry personal arms or to institute security measures.
As offensive as this may be to some, the tragedy in Texas is an event that the faithful should not permit to recur. All are invited to come and worship God together and to fellowship in peace. Believers love and pray for their enemies; they live to share the Life of Jesus. But when the body of Christ comes under gunfire they are not expected to refrain from shooting back.