Every November we hold our regularly scheduled Fall Defensive Pistol II class. It is 3 full days of training including a night shoot and a full day of room clearing and force-on-force training. For the last couple of years there has been a good percentage of the students who have been in Church Administration or leaders of their Church Security Team. Now, that may not be surprising here in the Deep South. Most people in this area grow up clinging to a Bible, a gun, or both. What is usually unique about this group of students is their strong desire to help other people, and sometimes, because of their beliefs, a reluctance to engage a potential threat with lethal force. Often times, they will insert themselves into a 3rd party conflict to help what thought to be an innocent victim only to find themselves in grave danger. Conversely, when faced with a personal threat, they hesitate to act, again placing themselves in danger. This type of training can be intense and eye-opening. It is not uncommon to get follow up emails and phone calls from students concerned about the bad decision they made, the hit on an innocent bystander, that they acted too soon, or that they waited too late, or a number of other mistakes they made under stress. The only thing I can tell them is that we are all human. None of us are perfect and we all make mistakes. The reason we train is so that we will be less likely to make a mistake.
Self-Defense in Scripture
There is a good bit of scripture dealing with self-defense. One of the most prominent is found in Exodus. “If a thief is caught breaking in at night and is struck a fatal blow, the defender is not guilty of bloodshed; but if it happens after sunrise, the defender is guilty of bloodshed” Exodus 22:2-3. So there is clearly some biblical restrictions on the use of deadly force. Many believe that the difference between night and day in this scripture equates similarly to many modern-day justifiable homicide laws. Meaning that you must be in fear of death or grave bodily harm to you or your family before you are justified in using deadly force.
As a Christian, an Instructor, a Church Security Team leader, or even just a law-abiding citizen, I am often shocked to hear just how many of my fellow human beings seem to be willing and eager to pull the trigger at the first opportunity. Maybe it is just bravado on their part, but the willingness to take another person’s life over a car or other piece of property isn’t ethically, morally or legally justified in any book!
We Train to Save, Not Take Lives!
As we head into the Holiday Season, it is a good time to pause and reflect on how we as Christians, as Law Abiding Citizens and Responsible Armed Americans are called to act. While we are not required to turn the other cheek when someone is threatening our lives or the lives of our family or friends, we are also not immune from the consequences of acting unjustly. Those that choose to carry a firearm and take training seriously are often humbled by the experience. Their eyes are opened and the bravado is gone! They are also far less likely to ever use their firearm in self-defense and also less likely to make a mistake.