Blessed be the LORD my [S]trength which teacheth my hands to war and my fingers to fight… (Psalm 140:1)
…[T]hou hast enlarged me when I was in distress… (Psalm 4:1)
We find multiple meanings for the word fight in Scripture. In our text we find the word fight to mean the fight of faith or the fighting to be faithful. Another meaning for fight in Scripture is prayer. In the Old Testament we find fighting to be in the very literal sense. We find many references to warfare whether it be in the days of Abraham, Moses, Joshua, the days of the Judges, during the reigns of Kings Saul and David as well as during the reigns of other kings.
In the New Testament however, there is very little reference to literal fighting. Some would teach that there is never a good reason to fight in the literal sense. Though much is said of the metaphorical fight.
Many would site our Lord’s teaching to turn the cheek as well as loving thy enemy, etc. These are of course right teachings and one is right to site them as long as they are qualified and in context with His meaning. Before anyone gets angry and stops reading, we are not disagreeing with the Master nor are we correcting Him, God forbid.
If a Christian is struck for being a Christian one should turn the other cheek. One should seek grace to demonstrate Christ’s love and patience to an enemy. If a Christ-ian is struck by another with the intent of harming his wife he is not to turn the other cheek but instead to physically turn the cheek of the attacker.
It is a truth that those that are persecuted for Christ’s sake are blessed. We have additional teaching from Paul who taught us to live peacefully with all men with as much as lieth in us. This is not a license to be violent. This “with as much as lieth in us” does not allow us to say, ” It did not lie within me to be peaceful.” There are no loopholes in Scripture nor should a believer look for one. Need we remind you that it is the Holy Spirit that lies within you?
Peter teaches us to revile not when we have been reviled and he uses the blessed Example of Christ.
All of the above is true and beyond reproach.
However, you may recall I used the word qualified when we quoted the Words of Christ. When we use that word we are not using it with the force of a “yeah, but.” Each of the Lord’s teachings are perfect and without assail when they are used properly.
We believe it was in the spring break of 2015 when a young girl was gang raped in Florida. There were, it was reported, approximately (100) one hundred persons watching and not only watching this crime but recording it with their phones. This is a fine example of human depravity at its worst and we are not speaking only of the rapist. The only innocents was the young girl that was attacked. It is days like that when depraved humanity should be glad that we are not king.
In Chicago in the Spring of 2016 a young woman was brutally attacked by multiple assailants on a train with onlookers doing nothing to intervene. When this girl was interviewed afterwards she stated how shocked she was that no one helped her. These types of brutalities occur on a regular basis with very little intervention. Think about the trauma these two girls and their families and friends live with daily. Think of the rage the fathers live with and the fear the girls live with. These girls, their families and friends have seen human depravity first hand. It is probably safe to assume that they have and hold very little hope in and for humanity. Let us hope that they find hope in Christ.
But what is the Christ-ian suppose to do in situations like these? The answer is obvious, isn’t it? The Christ-ian should turn the other cheek and show love to the enemy, right? Wrong. To do that is to show zero love to the suffering neighbor not to mention it is not your cheek to turn. The right and proper action to take is to step in and do whatever is appropriate. If the circumstances can be curtailed by simply speaking up then speak up. If speaking up is not enough and force is needed then be “slow to speak” and act. Call upon God for Samson like strength, ask God to enlarge you for the battle at hand and if you have any skill in battle thank Him for teaching your fingers to fight and your hands to war as well as when to do so and then …..fight a good fight.
What manner of love simply stands by while one of God’s creations is being abused? It is not Christ-ian love. The abused may be a Christ-ian sibling for all you know.
The Christ-ian response to physical evil should be appropriate. If we see an argument escalating we should not jump in and strike the one escalating the argument, God forbid. The proper response is to attempt to calm things down with right words. If we see a young girl being attacked and or raped save your words for the police, call upon others to help, you step in (after calling upon God) and step on. Step on means to do what is necessary to remedy the circumstances and make safe the situation. All of this presupposes someone has already called 911 (Romans 13).
Some may still be unconvinced with our arguments. Let’s try another. God gave us the law. Today they are called the Ten Commandments and they are clearly defined and understood. However, many miss the individual inferences.
When you look at the commandments individually you find them stated in the negative (Thou shalt not) or in the positive (Thou shalt). When you find an individual commandment in the positive or the negative you must convert that commandment to the opposite state to obtain the full meaning. We will use “Thou shalt not kill or murder” as an example. This command is in the negative so if we are to glean to full intent of the Law Giver we must convert it to the positive. The positive would command us to save a life. To save a life can take different forms. One form would be to stop gossip from harming or killing a good reputation and another is intervening on another’s behalf. The positive of “Thou shalt not steal” is the responsibility to cease another from stealing.
Two last pieces of counsel; “Take heed that ye do not your alms (good deeds) before men, to be seen of them: otherwise ye have no reward of your Father which is in heaven.” and number two: There cannot be, there must not be hate mixed in with your righteous indignation. If one is to act on the behalf of another let righteous indignation be the cause and not wrath for “The wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God.” If hate and wrath are mixed in and, God forbid, the assailant is killed you have committed murder. One may act in the defense of another in the names of righteousness, justice, goodness, honour but never in the names of hate, lust, or wrath.
If Paul had never ended a Christ-ian life being a (stand by and do nothing) witness to Stephen’s would be enough to call him a murderer.