Should Christians Carry Concealed Weapons?
Should Christians carry concealed weapons? That is the fascinating question that comes in this week. It is the very, very interesting and incredibly relevant question that comes in this week. And it comes in with another question. The question isn’t just should Christians carry concealed weapons? There’s another question right after it. And it is this, aren’t we supposed to turn the other cheek? So there’s a little bit of suspicion in the question about carrying concealed weapons because there is an assumption that if we’re doing what Jesus says and turning the other cheek, then it seems like carrying concealed weapons, we’re not doing that. So first, before we answer the question directly, let’s talk about this issue of turning the other cheek since there’s a temptation here to have that be what informs our answer to the question. Jesus’ teaching on turning the other cheek comes in the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5:39. Jesus says, “But I say to you, do not resist the one who is evil, that if anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn him the other also.” These are the words of Jesus. These are recorded in the sacred text of Holy Scripture. They are binding on our consciences, they are binding on our lives as Christians, and we must do what they say. Jesus Christ, the King of kings and Lord of lords, tells us he commands his people. You must turn the other cheek if somebody smacks you on the first cheek. Well, what does this mean?
Turn the Other Cheek
Well, first of all, we need to be honest. In this context, Jesus is talking about something that is a little bit different than carrying a concealed weapon because a smack on the cheek is a nonlethal act of aggression. It’s an aggressive act, it’s a physical act, it is a nonlethal act. In fact, in the ancient world, it was more in line with an insult. Jesus’s teaching is that when this insulting, nonlethal act of physical aggression occurs, you’re supposed to let it pass. This is not somebody who is initiating a series of physical dangers on your person that could end up in your death. It’s more of an insult. When that happens, you need to let it pass. Why? Why would you do this? Well, because a larger teaching in Scripture, a larger teaching of Jesus is that when we come to know Jesus, when I come to know Jesus, I am not living my life for myself anymore. What it means to turn from your sin and trust in Jesus means to put yourself in the backseat. And Jesus is the priority. Jesus is the King. I’m not living for myself anymore. I’m living for Jesus. When I overlook insults and offenses, I show a couple of things. I show even though you’ve insulted me and offended me when I don’t insult you and offend you back, I show that I love you. And that I am not willing to fight to get you to respect me or to honor me or anything else. And then, why do I love you is the obvious question. Well, the reason I love you is because I love Jesus. And why do I love Jesus? Because Jesus loves me. So Jesus’ love overflows from the cross into my heart, and he reshapes my heart so that I love him. And so that I love you. I can love you if you’re my friend, I can love you if you’re my brother in Christ, and I can love you when you are my enemy, and I don’t have to respond to you in the same aggressive, harsh, offensive way that you have responded to me. I love Jesus more than I love getting even. Jesus gives a sort of a framing teaching on this, and it’s in Matthew 5:16, “He says, “Let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” When people offend you and insult you, they are supposed to see you turn the other cheek. And that is amazing. That is overwhelming. Why isn’t this person being offensive back? Why aren’t they being insulting back? Well, when they see that behavior, they are supposed to give glory to the Father who is in heaven. So that is a glorious passage. It is a true passage that teaches us that our new allegiance to Jesus gives us a new way to handle insults, offenses, and nonlethal acts of aggression.
Do Good to the Household of Faith
When you think about it like that, you see that it is probably then not the best passage of Scripture informing whether we would carry a concealed weapon because when we’re talking about carrying concealed weapons, we’re not talking about insults. We’re not talking about offenses. And we’re not talking about nonlethal acts of aggression. We’re talking about life-and-death situations. When we think about another passage to address that issue that’s more in line with the one with concealed carry. Well, there are a lot of passages that we can talk about in the Bible. I’m going to talk about one just for the next few minutes. It is Galatians 6:10. It says, “So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.” So I want you to remember Galatians 6:10. And then I want to talk specifically about this question, should Christians carry concealed weapons? The logic of concealed firearms is based on the truth that bad guys already have firearms. They already have deadly weapons. And they do not, as they carry these weapons, have ethical dilemmas about whether they should be carrying them. They’re not wringing their hands about, oh, my goodness, should I be carrying this gun? Should I be carrying this switchblade? They feel really, really good about having their lethal weapons. And they feel really, really good about using them against other people who do not have these lethal weapons. In fact, much of their lethal force is predicated on the good people that they would victimize, not being able to respond to their lethal force in any sort of effective way. These folks who feel really good about having their weapons to hurt people will mistreat folks unless good people thwart their wicked intentions. That gets to Galatians 6:10. In that world where there are wicked people with wicked intentions, waiting to do wicked things to innocent people. In that world, the command comes as we have the opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith. Who is everyone? Who is the everyone that we are to do good to? One everyone is the neighbor’s wife, whose husband is out of town, and she is screaming for help with an intruder in her home. You need to do her good. And you will not be able to do her good with an armed intruder with a negotiation. One, everyone are her kids. Some people who are everyone or innocents who are shopping at the mall when an active shooter opens fire. Some innocents are your fellow church members who are screaming and exposed as a shooter comes into the church. These are some of the every ones that we are supposed to do good. And so one way that we could do good to them is by being able to protect them as we have the opportunity, being able to protect them. Being able to help them, being able to stand not for the weak and the oppressed. This is not a requirement that every Christian must carry a firearm. But it is to say the Bible more than makes room for people who want to be a good steward, for people who want to do good to everyone to protect weak people who would be victimized unless a good and righteous person is able to counter the threat. So should Christians carry concealed weapons? Well, in obedience to Galatians 6:10, I think the answer is yes.