Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Further Clarification on Pacifism/Guns

I guess it is possible to assume from a previous post that I have pacifist leanings. But recently, in my son's "reading book" published by an Anabaptist source, a story came up which took the didactic posture that calling the police on someone who commited or would commit a crime against you constitutes disobedience to God. Further, it was deemed to be sin if somebody locked their doors at night, as this evidenced a lack of faith in the protection of God.

Now before I start, I would say that there are, admittedly, cases where seeking justice against an offender is not the best course. What if your victimizer is close to repentance, for one possible example?

The issue is not as simple as all one perspective or another. Again, be like Solomon and pray for wisdom. Ecclesiastes 4 is again the governing principle. To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven. Having said that, I believe there are more dangers from a passive response than a justice model. If you do not seek justice, you may live with anger the rest of your life. And the wrath of man does not work the righteousness of God. Are any of us prepared to carry that anger the rest of our days?

When my son was younger, I had a practice of occasionally omitting punishment from him when it was due. This was to teach to concept of Grace. My hope was that he would experience the feelings of lack of justice, and understand that God dealt justly with our sin at the cross, and on that basis, can forgive us. But that did not mean that, most of the time, I took a lenient position with him.

Of course, we face that old "what if he/she does it to somebody else" question. If you believe that is a real possibility, then it almost seems immoral not to seek justice. So again, my answer is going to be frustrating to the "binary" mind that only wants one definitive answer once for all, in all situations.

For once in my life, I did not try to explain all of this to my 11-year old. Let him grow up and at least become a teenager before he tries to tackle biblically-derived ethical questions. Right now, that is like trying to have him bench press 400 pounds. We are just not going to read the aforementioned story. That is not a cop-out. That is parental wisdom, preparing the mind of my son in accordance with the way he should go.

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