The Bible does not forbid Christians to defend their lives, loved ones, property, neighbors and the weak. God is not the destroyer, but rather the Creator and Sustainer of life. We have not yet discovered all the forms of living things which have come from His hand!

Such is not the case with mankind. Hatred and death are flowing through his veins by very nature. Enmity and animosity came about early on, as evidenced by Abel’s death at the hand of Cain (Genesis 4:8).

The Lord was grieved at heart by what He saw in man. Genesis 6:5 states: “And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.” He thought to “destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth” in Genesis 6:7. Thankfully, as we come to verse eight, we read: “But Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord.”

Not only does our DNA trace back to Adam and Eve, but it also is narrowed down to Noah and his wife. The human race then sprang from their three sons: Shem, Japheth and Ham. Even in this early day of man, “The earth was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence” (Genesis 6:11).

Violence seems to be the theme of our existence. It filled the earth in the earliest day of man, and nothing has changed in our day. We civilize it somewhat by putting on helmets and padding, yet we enjoy the earthly hatred for the other team who is our temporary “enemy.”

If it is not a sports team, our lust for warfare is depicted in road rage along our nation’s highways. It may even take on a softer tone as we murder folks in daily gossip on the telephone or in social media. Our inventiveness is endless, as we find new ways to express our natural quest for hatred and evil: “Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned” (Romans 5:12).

Pacifism is opposition to military preparedness and warfare. World War I was said to be the “war to end all wars.” It began about 100 years ago and initiated a century of untold wars, battles and “conflicts” like the world has never yet seen. The League of Nations and United Nations seem to have stimulated more war than ever!

God is the author of peace, while man seems to want pacifism. The two are not the same. We had little peace in Vietnam years ago, but the news media trotted in plenty of pacifists who claimed that we would be able to stop all the fighting if we would just lay down our weapons and be nicer to those who were killing us. The “peaceniks” and protestors of the ’60s and early ’70s made it even more likely that our men would be killed in greater

Because of the sin nature of man, God has had to deal severely with peoples and nations. The Bible records the bent of the human heart toward war. Violence and judgment are “strange works” that God must undertake in order for man to repent of his sin and begin to believe and trust God. The goal that our Creator has for each one of us is that we would surrender our hearts to His perfect way and be eternally saved. God is “long suffering to
us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9).

Meanwhile, and until the Lord Jesus Christ returns to earth to rule and reign, we will have war and hatred. There will be no peace until the Prince of Peace comes back to rule with a “rod of iron” (Psalm 2).

Exodus 15:3 records: “The Lord is a man of war: the Lord is his name.” He takes on this title because He knows that “The heart of man is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked” (Jeremiah 17:9). The ending of this verse implies that we have no idea of the depth of sin in our hearts. It asks the question: “Who can know it?”

Governments of nations are meant to provide security for their peoples. Knowing the nature of man, we are instructed to keep our powder dry and our armaments ready and inspected. The Bible does not forbid Christians to serve in military service or in law enforcement.

We must honor those who have served in the military and who have been in civil peacekeeping forces. Pray for sheriff, police, highway patrol and security men and women. It is just another aspect of sin and violence for folks to stir up hatred toward those who are working to keep our land safe from criminals and thugs who wish to plunder our citizens.

For a soldier or law enforcement officer to get rough with, or even put to death, an evil-doer in the line of duty is sometimes required. It is not forbidden by Scripture.

Of course, the Bible does not allow for enforcers to perpetuate cruelty just for the sake of meanness or vengeance. That must be dealt with when it does occur, and we wish it to be the rare exception.

Military and civil enforcement troops should be the first to desire peace. They are not the bloodthirsty ones because they know the blood may be theirs. It is with reluctance that a trigger should be pulled, but training and instinct usually dictate the split-second decision.

It is not murder to take the life of an evildoer in the line of military or law enforcement duty (Romans 13:1-4). Neither is it murder to put criminals to death for their heinous crimes. The man who takes a life in evil intent is to forfeit his own (Genesis 9:6). Civil government is to protect the citizenry by putting vile offenders to death. God grants authorities to “bear the sword” against evil (Romans 13). Capital punishment is mandatory for a society to be kept safe and the people free to work.

America has been blessed by the strength of our military servicemen and women. We need a powerful national defense, as well as an ample budget that will generously provide for the needs to get the job done well.

Our political leaders and appointed judges will do well to study God’s Word and perform the task given them, accordingly.

May God again bless America as we set forth to honor Him, as well as the servicemen and women He has provided.

R.D. “Bob” Hottle is a retired schoolteacher, farmer and pastor of the Anchor Baptist Church.