The nature of self-defense
I dare you to take a look at God’s creation and hold to the belief that God condemns defense of life. He created all of the animals on the earth, each with their own unique ability to defend themselves. Consider the porcupine, which is covered with sharp quills to protect themselves from would be attackers. The opossum is known for playing dead to turn away its enemies. However, it is actually an involuntary act in which the opossum falls into a comatose-like state after being overcome with fear. The armadillo is covered by an armored shell, which protects them from thorny bushes as they hide from their prey.
That is only scratching the surface on the evidence of God’s purposeful creation of self-defense characteristics found in various animals. There are so many other animals with their own amazing defense characteristics built into their bodies that could be discussed. It is clear that God’s design includes room for the defense of life.
Jesus’ examples and words regarding the defense of life
There are important questions that we need to ask ourselves, in order to understand how Jesus wants us to approach the idea of defending life. Is he for or against defending life? Did Jesus ever say that we should defend ourselves or not? What kind of example did Jesus set regarding the defense of life?
Jesus didn’t defend himself against the guards that beat him on the night he was betrayed, before he was crucified. It is believed by some that this is a reason for us not to defend ourselves. Although, if you further examine what he did by dying on the cross, you will come to know that he defended all of us by not physically defending himself. Therefore, it is clear by what Jesus did on the cross, that he does care about the defense of life. He had a specific purpose that none of us have – to die on the cross for the sins of mankind. “Do you think I cannot call on my Father, and he will at once put at my disposal more than twelve legions of angels? But how then would the Scriptures be fulfilled that say it must happen in this way?” Matthew 26:53-54
Jesus could have saved himself (he is God in the flesh), had it not been for a greater purpose that only he had. We must understand that Jesus was concerned more about the defense of others, than he was about his own safety. However, that is not an indication that Jesus condemns the idea of self-defense. Rather, it indicates that Jesus loves us so much that he would rather die than to see us live in eternal suffering.
Jesus didn’t say the exact words “you shall defend yourself”, but he didn’t say that we shouldn’t defend ourselves either. There are many biblical examples of men of God defending themselves or others. Consider Nehemiah’s words upon preparing for an enemy attack… “After I looked things over, I stood up and said to the nobles, the officials and the rest of the people, “Don’t be afraid of them. Remember the Lord, who is great and awesome, and fight for your families, your sons and your daughters, your wives and your homes.” ~ Nehemiah 4:14
Where our defense comes from
Through the revelation of God’s word and creation, it is evident that God is for the defense of life. God wants us to defend those who are in danger. “Rescue those being led away to death; hold back those staggering toward slaughter.” Proverbs 24:11
Most of all, we must always remember where our defense originates from. “The Lord is my strength and my defense; he has become my salvation.” Psalm 118:14