The parable of the Good Samaritan is offered by Jesus in response to a challenge by a Hebrew lawyer, an expert on the law, who asks “Teacher, what must I do to attain eternal life?” Jesus responds with a question of his own, prompting the lawyer to summarize the law. Rather than listing the main categorizes and precepts, the lawyer says [NIV Luke 10:27]:
‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’
To which Jesus affirms:
You have answered correctly. Do this and you will live.
Obviously the focus is not this life on Earth, but the life of eternity lived with God. It is in this vein that we should also interpret his warning to the disciple in the Garden of Gethsemane [NIV Matt. 26:52]:
Put your sword back in its place, for all who draw the sword will die by the sword.
This is not a prophesy of human retribution, but one of a piece with his testimony that eternal life can only be found through him. When we depend upon violence for our security, we sunder ourselves from the spirit of love that forgives all sins – the same spirit that thereby gains the power to heal the wounds in our souls.
So to those that both:
- see gun ownership as a necessary antidote to governmental over-reaching, and
- threaten those that see violence as the greatest wound to civil society:
You may be able to assert your power in this world, but you surrender participation in the world to come. You may assert your freedoms in this society, but unless you lay down your weapons of your own volition, you will be left behind when the Prince of Peace welcomes souls into his kingdom.
You see, love amplifies all things, and to allow into heaven those that believe in violence would be to allow violence into heaven, and amplify its presence. That would be to betray those that have invested and suffered in peace for His promises. He will not bend to the ‘freedoms’ presumed by the NRA, even if they are enshrined in the US Constitution.
So if I love my neighbor enough to defend his life as I would my own, even if I must be violent to keep from them or I being harmed? if that causes me to draw an use the sword in this way I’m still a sinner??
In Islam, the principle is that you are allowed to defend yourself when under active attack. I align with this. To carry a weapon as a means of regulating behavior, however, is not Christian. If you see someone acting in anti-social fashion, talk with him. Don’t walk up with a gun and intimidate him.