Over the last few weeks I have read numerous arguments from religious people insisting that Jesus would absolutely support Stand Your Ground legislation. And the truth is God has given mankind volition, so it is up to every individual to discover His will and make their own decisions about how to live life. We are all free to ignore God’s plan and deal with the consequences or follow the guidance of the Spirit of Wisdom and Truth. But there is a growing trend among professed believers to wear the façade of “Christ follower” while twisting the words of Jesus to allow for a full expression of the darker desires of human nature. This is what I see happening when people pretend that Stand Your Ground legislation is aligned with biblical principles.
This is what I know. Jesus commands us to love each other just as He has loved us. This includes even people who hate, curse and mistreat us. (See Luke 6:27-36)
1 Corinthians 13:4-7 tells us that love protects, however it does so with restraint. One who loves as Christ commands is patient, humble and respectful. He does not keep a record of wrongs, is not self-serving or easily angered.
The dark side of human nature often fires a need to aggressively stand our ground even when violence isn’t necessary to save life or limb. But Jesus urges us to be humble, to look beyond our present circumstances and consider the big picture. Our lives on earth are brief. The task that should be foremost in our minds is living the kind life that inspires others to discover the source of our inner happiness. The question to ask is what approach would be more likely to reflect the glory of Christ. A self-righteous rumble in the street resulting in bloodshed or an exercise of self-control, forbearing to do what the sin nature tells us is our right. There is no question, if circumstances allow us to walk away from a confrontation then that is what God wants. That is not cowardice, it’s obedience.
Galatians 5:22-23 tells us that “the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law
Love for Enemies
27 “But to you who are listening I say: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, 28 bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. 29 If someone slaps you on one cheek, turn to them the other also. If someone takes your coat, do not withhold your shirt from them. 30 Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back. 31 Do to others as you would have them do to you.
32 “If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners love those who love them. 33 And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners do that. 34 And if you lend to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, expecting to be repaid in full. 35 But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. 36 Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.
1 Corinthians 13:4-7
4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. 46 If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? 47 And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? 48 Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.
12 My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.
1 John 4:7-21
God’s Love and Ours
7 Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. 8 Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. 9 This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. 10 This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. 11 Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 12 No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.
13 This is how we know that we live in him and he in us: He has given us of his Spirit. 14 And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. 15 If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in them and they in God. 16 And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them. 17 This is how love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment: In this world we are like Jesus. 18 There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.
19 We love because he first loved us. 20 Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen. 21 And he has given us this command: Anyone who loves God must also love their brother and sister.