But the concepts of Dr. Martin Luther King and Gandhi are compelling. And as much as evangelical thinking can be wrapped in defense--and if you are part of the religious right "national defense"--it is hard to get around Jesus asking us to turn the other cheek and telling Peter to put his sword away, then healing the man whose ear was cut off.
Recently, I was reading a piece on disarmament--which I usually think of in terms of nations, cold wars and big missiles in silos somewhere far, far away. While the piece started globally, it quickly got personal and asked some challenging questions...
What personal defense systems you have in place? Do you respect everyone's right to their own views or opinions or do you feel threatened by those who disagree with you? Are you armed, emotionally or literally, to protect yourself from potential threats, or do you arm yourself only with compassion, respect and faith? How are you willing to begin disarmament in your life?The idea of personal disarmament was a radical thought for me. Yet, completely Biblical. We are told not to seek vengeance. To trust God to defend us.
But to truly disarm, we would have to believe that love has power. And I'm fairly certain we don't actually believe that. Not only do we not want to "bless those who curse us, pray for those who mistreat us" we are afraid to. Certain that we will be destroyed. And, maybe we would be. After all, King, Gandhi and Jesus didn't exactly live their lives in comfort and safety.
But love is the only model we are given to bring about transformation. Not just for the person loving, but in those for whom it is poured out. The idea of personal disarmament is definitely one worth grappling with.