Nationality vs Christianity

Good Morning Brothers…

About a month ago, I attended a Carry and Conceal class. I’ve never really had the desire to carry a handgun, but I wanted to take the class anyway. I was interested in the laws and the process and the reasons for lawfully concealing and carrying a handgun. I think a little background is in order before I continue. I’m not scared, I don’t go to bed at night in fear of intruders, I don’t travel around the country in fear of getting car-jacked (or…truck-jacked), I don’t have much faith in our culture as a whole but I do have absolute faith in an Almighty Sovereign God. This faith, however, doesn’t excuse me from the evils of this world. I am as vulnerable as anybody else, and if you think about it…probably more so. As Christians, we are the light of this world, which means we have attracted the attention of the dark forces. We are in the cross-hairs, so to speak, and should expect persecution and trouble to come our way. These ‘moments of testing’ won’t always manifest in the form of burglars or intruders, but they may. We should be prepared.

Saying that, our mode of preparation is the line which separates light from darkness, or, which separates our Nationality from our Christianity. To further explain this, let me recount some of what I learned in the Carry Conceal class. After the firearm safety rules, advice on ammunition types, and a lengthy review of State laws and Federal laws, our instructor gave us “Six rules of Self Defense with a Firearm”. He prefaced this list by explaining that ‘retreating and being a good witness’ is most often preferable, to the use of deadly force. The use of deadly force is always considered ‘defensive shooting’ and our goal is to stop the threat (My mind immediately went back to assorted Lethal Weapon movies where Murtaugh was admonishing Riggs for not shooting the bad guys in the leg, so they could be questioned later).

Six rules of Self Defense with a Firearm:

  1. Be alert. Whenever entering, or exiting, one environment into another…look around. Mark alternative exits in your mind, locate fire extinguishers, operate with a certain amount of situational awareness, etc. I like this one, reminds me of 1 Peter 5:8, “Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.”
  2. Be decisive. Make sure to have all of the moral conversations in your head, about using, or not using, deadly force before you find yourself in that position. This is good advice. Those moral conversations need to take place way before the need for force has arisen. The real question becomes, “By what standard do I have the conversation? By my Nationality…or my Christianity?” I’m reminded of Christ’s words in Matthew 5:38-39, “You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth.’ But I say to you, do not resist an evil person; but whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also.”
  3. Be aggressive. In fact, we were instructed to explosively violently counterattack to stop the threat. To stop the threat, direct as many rounds as possible into the chest of the perpetrator. (I guess Riggs was right.) I can’t help but think of Peter’s words in 1 Peter 3:8-9, “To sum up, all of you be harmonious, sympathetic, brotherly, kindhearted, and humble in spirit; not returning evil for evil or insult for insult, but giving a blessing instead; for you were called for the very purpose that you might inherit a blessing.”
  4. Use speed. Move fast, shoot fast, and balance this with precision. A moving target is harder to hit than a stationary one. Practice this at the range or with an unloaded gun in your bedroom. Develop a moving shooting counterattack with speed. This really falls back to situational awareness for not only our surroundings but for us…in those surroundings. I get that, makes sense, but why do these words from Matthew 5: 44-45 come to mind, “But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.”
  5. Keep your Cool. Do not lose your head and shoot up the whole place. Stay focused, keep calm, and deliver deadly force in a cold detached manner. I’m not even sure where to go with that one…in my Nationality it makes sense…in my Christianity it rubs me wrong.
  6. Be ruthless. Attack-attack-attack…to stop the threat. In the context of these 6 rules in defensive shooting, I’ve learned to ‘stop the threat’ by premeditated violence, through practice, intended to kill the perpetrator.

Paul talks about not conforming to this world and being renewed by the transformation of our mind onto the will of God (Romans 12:2). We often think of this verse as a “from now on I will be liberated” from the world’s influence. It is that, however, it is also a verse about liberation from all the world has already polluted us with. As we continually focus on Jesus, we need to unravel all of the worldly strands woven into our tapestry of faith. This is hard, because we begin to realize the foundation of truth we stand on is often filled with packed sand instead of solid rock. Separating our Nationality from our Christianity is about transformation. As we transform into the very image of Christ…our Nationality is slowly stripped away to reveal the unity found amongst all believers.

As I said earlier, we should be prepared. How we prepare is the key. My instructor is right, we should have these moral conversations in our head way before we actually need them. In my preparation, if I can find that cold calculating dark place and devise plans to kill another…that is murder. If my preparations take me to prayer and I place the burden of these things at the feet of my Lord and Savior…then I trust the Spirit, the Comforter, who will teach me in all things…to guide my actions when the time arises, then I can rest easy.

“Commit your way to the Lord,
Trust also in Him, and He will do it.”      Psalm 37:5

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