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More on fighting

on June 27, 2006

So I promised some more of my own thoughts on whether Christians are to be nice all the time and whether we can fight.

First let’s clarify that by fight I mean stand up for ourselves and others – not necessarily physically – as opposed to being doormats.

A couple of you mentioned turning the other cheek. As geezer_also said, in context turning the other cheek definitely does not mean being a doormat. It was actually a way of saying “I’m not inferior to you, even though you are treating me like that” – think Gandhi and you have the idea. As I understand it, a person who slapped you was intimating that you were inferior. But it was not acceptable to slap someone twice, so by turning the other cheek it was like daring them to slap you again, but if they did that proved to all present that they were in fact a bully. Something along those lines anyway. The same applies to the other example Jesus gave, of the soldier taking your coat and you giving him your shirt as well. (Which leads me into a little side note… given that turning the other cheek today is not particularly related to who is or isn’t a bully, how does one achieve the same effect of showing the truth of a situation?)

What I find weird about the modern-day world is that Christians are often perceived (as Ned is) as being very naive and idealistic, as well as very black-and-white and judgemental of anyone different. And yet the Biblical Christians weren’t like that at all. Like someone said, I think it was ablueskier, they were well aware of how unpleasant the world was, and they didn’t expect it to change for the better, in fact if anything they expected it to get much, much worse. So they weren’t naive or idealistic about society as a whole. And yet they didn’t go round waving placards and shouting that Mormons are whores (good example, eloisem), but they did set high standards for themselves and lived in a way that demonstrated love and caring for each other, so as to show that there is a better way. They didn’t expect everyone to live the way they did, but they lived like that as much as they possibly could, with God’s help, so that people would know the option was there.

An alternative way of kindness and community and love – not mushy love that goes all gooey and ignores all flaws and difficulties, but love like you love your children or spouse and work through stuff with them. “The most excellent way”, Paul called it. Is that what you guys see when you see Christians today? (That’s a real question)

Which brings me back to fighting. If you look at fighting as defense (of a person for instance), then showing love and concern to those around us is one way of fighting – fighting against apathy, fighting aganst isolation (which seems to be growing in the world now), fighting against depression and hatred and racism and abuse. Things that needed to be fought back in early first century, and still need to be fought now.

I’ve run out of thought-process… but my general feeling on physical violence is that sometimes it is necessary for a greater good, in the same way that sometimes smacking your child is necessary, it hurts now but does good for the future. For instance if you see someone unable to defend themself being attacked physically (a child for example), then physical intervention seems like a good response. I also feel that sometimes physical violence is less evil, for want of another word, than psychological violence. A smack is much less harmful than someone in a position of authority telling your child that they will never amount to anything.

Thoughts anyone?


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