Why Christians Do Not Respond With Violence
“Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.” (Romans 12: 14, 18)
For every major religion in the world, there are many who staunchly, vocally, and often offensively express their opposition to them. This is equally true for Christianity as it is for Islam or Judaism. The name of the Lord Jesus Christ is constantly being blasphemed not only in the public square but on university campuses, in books and in the media. According to the Bible, blasphemy is a serious crime against God (Exodus 20:7), and deserving of God’s punishment.
Not only that, but Christians are persecuted individually in various ways. Thankfully, here in Canada we are not often subject to physical persecution, but many around the world are consistently slaughtered for their faith. This is something that is incredibly difficult to measure, but estimates have been made that between 100,000 and 150,000 believers are killed every year on account of their Christianity – a number which greatly surpasses other religions. For the believer, this is no surprise. Jesus himself promised persecution in his name (Luke 21: 12-19).
As believers, we may have every reason to respond as the world would. But Jesus taught in Matthew 5:44 to not only pray for those who persecute you, but also to love your enemies.
I don’t in any way excuse those who have done evil towards Islam. But these offenses, such as the recent internet video made by unbelievers cannot be controlled. Evil actions are a product of a corrupt human nature. Our words and actions are a result of the depravity of heart (Luke 6:45).
We cannot control unbelievers’ blasphemy – be it against the Lord Jesus, or the prophet Muhammad. What we can control, is our response. We see the words of Jesus Christ, who Muslims claim to follow, plainly in Matthew 5:44. Why then, do we see these atrocities being committed? Thankfully, there have been Muslims who have clearly said that killing unbelievers is not congruent with the teachings of the Qur’an. But what about the attitude of hatred which is so prominent even among the non-violent? Crowds in these ‘peaceful’ protests are documented yelling ‘Death to America’ . Unfortunately, these people seem to assume that something done by an American citizen is equivalent to the actions of a Christian. This couldn’t be further from the truth, as the true believer acts with love, peace, kindness, and self-control, among other qualities (Galatians 5:22-23). And as we have discussed before, merely wearing the label of ‘Christian’ has no bearing on whether they are truly saved or not.
Christians trust in the character and goodness of God first and foremost.
“Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, ‘Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.’” (Romans 12:19)
Surrounding these verses I initially quoted instructing Christians to live in peace with all is verse 19, showing that God is the righteous one who will repay according to the deeds of men.
You see, Christians do not avenge themselves, because they trust the Judge to make everything right on the Last Day. God knows every sin that has been committed against his children, and will not tolerate this sin. In His forbearance, God gives more than generous amounts of time for the offenders of Christianity to repent. He has written his Law on their hearts, they know God exists, and have adequate knowledge to see their need before Him. Even more than that, Scripture clearly says that Jesus upholds the universe by the word of his power (Hebrews 1:3). He gives breath in the lungs of these people who curse him, and will not fail to judge those who do so if they are unrepentant.
But our role is made clear in the Bible. Pray for these people. Beg them to repent. This earth may be as good as things get for them.
Why don’t true Christians respond violently to ridicule and persecution? Because God is the Judge, not us.