This response to is from pages 70-74 of The Kingdom that Turned the World Upside Down © David Bercot. Used by permission. Copies can be obtained from Scroll Publishing Co., P. O. Box 122, Amberson, PA 17210 or see their website at http://www.scrollpublishing.com.
What if someone were to break into your house and were about to harm your wife and children? Surely you wouldn’t just stand there and let them do it!
This question naturally plays on the strong protective instinct that men have toward their families. But the answer a kingdom citizen must give to that question is the same he would give to any other question concerning breaking the commandments of Jesus. Let me ask you. “What if your government told you to deny Jesus Christ and offer a sacrifice to Satan–or else they would violate your wife and kill your children? What would you do?” For kingdom citizen, the answer is quite clear. Jesus has already told us that if we love our families more than Him, we cannot be His disciples. And He has also told us, “Whoever denies Me before men, him I will also deny before My Father who is in heaven” (Mt. 10:33).
Now, what if, instead of denying Christ, my government ordered me to murder my next door neighbor or to sexually assault his wife? And if I didn’t, they would harm my wife and children? Would the situation be any different from offering a sacrifice to Satan? In one instance, I would be denying Christ with my mouth. In the other, I would be denying him by my actions.
What if a foreign government ordered me to drop a bomb on a United States city, or to assassinate the American president–or else they would harm my wife and children? What should I do? I think most Americans would allow their wives and children to be harmed, or even killed, before betraying their country.
So how is the situation any different when it concerns loyalty to Jesus? Jesus’ teachings on nonresistance are quire clear. It’s a matter of either denying Him or denying my family. To be sure, that’s a very difficult choice, but I already made that choice when I gave my life to Christ.
Does that mean I would do nothing to protect my family? Of course not. I have already done the best thing that I could possibly do to ensure their safety: I have entrusted my home and family to the care and protection of Jesus. And that isn’t some naive trust. There are tense of thousands of other Kingdom Christians who have similarly beat their swords into plowshares and entrusted the safety of their families into the hands of their King. And although Jesus has not promised that no harm can ever come to our families, I can say this: that, except in times of religious persecution, it’s very rare for kingdom families to be harmed by ordinary criminals.
One example that comes to mind is the encounter of the desperate criminal fugitive, Stephen Roy Carr, with a nonresistant Mennonite family in Pennsylvania in May of 1988. Earlier Carr had fled from Florida, where he was wanted for grand theft. He was hiding out in the Appalachian mountains, ready to kill anyone who threatened his freedom. Before long, he met two female campers on the Appalachian Trail, and he shot them both–killing one and seriously injuring the other.
Fleeing from the scene, Carr found an abandoned cement-mixing tub and used it to float down the Conodoguinet Creek to the farm of of Chester and Esther Weaver. As conservative Mennonites, the Weavers had no television or radio, and so they had heard nothing about the murder. The fugitive Carr asked the Weavers for food and shelter, which they gladly provided him. Carr stayed in the Weaver home for five days–and yet he neither harmed them nor stole from them. Carr would have stayed longer, but the police finally caught up with him.
It reminds me of the account given by the Christian author and speaker, Winkey Pratney, concerning the Great Blondin, an incredibly gifted tightrope aerialist of the nineteenth century. To demonstrate his abilities, Blondin stretched a 1100 foot rope above Niagara Falls. To the thrill of huge crowds, he walked across the Falls on his tightrope, performing various spectacular stunts. He even did a back somersault in the middle of the rope. Yet, Blondin had no net underneath to save him if he fell.
A newspaper reporter who had come to witness the spectacle was awe-struck. “I bet there isn’t anything you can’t do out there on the tightrope,” he told Blondin.
“Do you think I could cross the rope pushing a wheelbarrow?” Blondin asked the reporter.
“Oh, I’m sure you could.”
“Do you think I could cross the rope while pushing a wheelbarrow with a man in it?” Blondin asked the reporter.
Looking the reporter straight in the eye, Blondin then asked, “Do you think I could cross the rope pushing a wheelbarrow with you in it?”
But that’s what genuine faith is all about–getting into the wheelbarrow for Christ. Any other kind of faith is not really faith. It’s just words. Most Christians will readily acknowledge that God is all-powerful. They will proclaim that God is in charge of the universe. They say nothing can happen outside of God’s active or permissive will. They’ll plaster bumper stickers on their cars saying, “His angels are watching over me!” But, no, they won’t get into the wheelbarrow. They won’t entrust their family’s safety to God.
Sadly, every year Christian families suffer death and injury from their own weapons because they didn’t put their trust in God. One of the most heartbreaking episodes occurred a few years ago when a man and his wife returned home from a trip. Their daughter was staying at a friend’s house. However, the daughter thought she would surprise her parents by coming home early and hiding in their bedroom closet. When her parents came home, they heard a noise in their closet. Thinking it was a burglar, her father got out his loaded pistol and slowly approached the closet. When the closet door suddenly burst open, her father instinctively pulled the trigger. He immediately realized it was his daughter, but it was too late. She murmured, “I love you, Daddy,” and fell over dead.
This was not some rare occurrence. A gun kept in the home is 22 times more likely to kill a family member or a friend than to kill or wound and intruder. Evil can be confronted with less dangerous methods than guns.
A number of years ago, some Christian friends of mine, Decio and Olivia, were staying at a motel in Atlanta. There had been a number of armed robberies and murders in the city. In these robberies, the assailants had ordered their victims to lie face down on the floor and then shot them in the backs of their heads. So Decio was on his guard.
It was a mild October evening, and Decio and Olivia had momentarily left their motel door open for a friend. Suddenly two teenage thugs appeared in the doorway with guns. They ordered everyone down on the floor. Decio hesitated and then knelt down, praying and trying to think of a way to foil the robbery.
His wife, Olivia, thinking it was a Halloween prank, remained seated on the bed. So one of the young robbers waved his gun at her and ordered her to lie on the floor. Instead, she started singing out loud “Jesus Loves Me,” as she got up from the bed and slowly walked over to the two young men. One of them raised his pistol, pointed it at her face, and cocked it. But when she continued singing and walking toward him, he suddenly yelled to his partner, “These are a bunch of Jesus nuts! Let’s get outta here!” And with that, the two young men vanished into the dark.
Over the years, I have heard and read many other accounts of how a prayer, a hymn, or a testimony effectively disarmed a would-be bruglar or assailant. There’s no point singing “Our God Is an Awesome God,” if we don’t really believe that He is.