Does Training in Self Defense Make Me a Bad Person?
All of us muddle our way through this life, trying to make sense of things the best we can. We’re trying to understand our little spot on the planet, how we fit in, and what role we play. Evil is seen around us, and each person may process that information differently: How do we handle evil in our lives? Do we fight back; or, do we hold some belief that it is a higher social morality to resist evil; to resist an attack? The point here is not to smugly assert some superiority of one viewpoint over another. In the end, each person must analyze the information before them, form their own stance, and stick by it.
One of the cases made regarding not fighting back against evil is rooted within biblical principles. If one looks at the life and teachings of Jesus, it certainly doesn’t read like a battle plan to fight those who seek to harm us. The phrase: “turn the other cheek” seems fairly definitive: 38 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth’.39 But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also. 40 And if anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, hand over your coat as well. “
Recall what Christ doing here in the Sermon on the Mount: correcting false teaching. So the current practice must have been… someone gets you, you get them back. If someone is trying to sue, get a better lawyer and sue them for more. Christ was trying to focus on matters of the heart. He was trying to get people to not live their lives out of a checklist, letting laws and rules supersede having the right spirit. If one’s reason for striking back is simply out of anger/resentment that you were struck, then maybe reconsider your actions. If someone feels that you have wronged them, right the wrong; plus some.
So let’s assume that based on that passage Jesus meant for us to keep our motives and our hearts in check. For the individual who chooses not to fight back against evil, they may feel that emulating this lesson from Christ is the best way to always take the high ground.
So do we see any examples of “good” people in the bible fighting? The answer is… yes. Nehemiah opens with a heart-breaking revelation: the walls of Jerusalem were down. Not only meaning the city was vulnerable to attacks. But more importantly, the beloved city appeared weak, without protection.
Nehemiah 1: “The wall of Jerusalem is broken down, and its gates have been burned with fire. 4 When I heard these things, I sat down and wept.” It will appear at that moment, Nehemiah made a personal decision; a decision he wouldn’t look back on, have second thoughts about, or quit because the stakes got too high.
Rebuilding a wall seems... innocent enough. There shouldn’t be anyone not agree with that, right? One would think, but Sanballat and Tobiah were adamantly against the idea. Starting out as verbal dissenters, their anger grew until it fueled physical attacks. Evil’s logic (if that is the proper term) just extends within their own world and nobody else’s.
Continuing in Nehemiah 4: 14 After I looked things over, I stood up and said to the nobles, the officials and the rest of the people, “Don’t be afraid of them. Remember the Lord, who is great and awesome, and fight for your families, your sons and your daughters, your wives and your homes.” 16 From that day on, half of my men did the work, while the other half were equipped with spears, shields, bows and armor. The officers posted themselves behind all the people of Judah 17 who were building the wall. Those who carried materials did their work with one hand and held a weapon in the other, 18 and each of the builders wore his sword at his side as he worked. But the man who sounded the trumpet stayed with me. 21 So we continued the work with half the men holding spears, from the first light of dawn till the stars came out. 22 At that time I also said to the people, “Have every man and his helper stay inside Jerusalem at night, so they can serve us as guards by night and as workers by day.” 23 Neither I nor my brothers nor my men nor the guards with me took off our clothes; each had his weapon, even when he went for water.
So Nehemiah and his people took up arms and fought anybody who was going to obstruct their progress.
Did they get the wall rebuilt? You bet they did. But each one working on the wall had to make a personal choice; to fight. Because to them, even if it meant somebody getting hurt; the end-goal was worth more than that risk.
In summary, the decision to fight or not fight; is one’s own. Once you have made your decision, don’t look back, and don’t second guess. Consequently, if you feel the need to strike back at somebody, what is on your heart? Is it anger, ego or pride doing the talking? If yes, maybe… it might be worth stepping back and turning the other cheek.
If you are committed to protecting your family, property, or your own life, make sure you embrace the highest quality/ most realistic training available.
Sergeant Kesuke Miyagi: Julie-san, fighting not good. But if must fight... win.
Written by Brad Masters, 3rd Degree Senior Status Instructor in American Ninjutsu. Brad has been training in martials arts for more than 15 yrs. He teaches children and adult classes, but more importantly Brad is a strong biblical leader of his family and heavily involved with his church. Brad teaches various bible studies and understands the importance of an individuals spiritual life on their outward life. Brad strives to help others fully pursue Christ.