Idolatrous Oxymorons

“You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’ 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. And if anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, hand over your coat as well. If anyone forces you to go one mile, go with them two miles. Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you.

You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven.” – Matthew 5:38-45

“‘I have the right to do anything,’ you say – but not everything is beneficial. ‘I have the right to do anything’ – but not everything is constructive. No one should seek their own good, but the good of others.” – 1 Corinthians 10:23-24

“While he was still speaking a crowd came up, and the man who was called Judas, one of the Twelve, was leading them. He approached Jesus to kiss him, but Jesus asked him, ‘Judas, are you betraying the Son of Man with a kiss?’

When Jesus’ followers saw what was going to happen, they said, ‘Lord, should we strike with our swords?’ And one of them struck the servant of the high priest, cutting off his right ear.

But Jesus answered, ‘No more of this!’ And he touched the man’s ear and healed him.” – Luke 22:47-51

I never studied law, so I’ll refrain from commenting on the U.S. legal system’s operations in Kyle Rittenhouse’s trial and verdict. My focuses lie in theology and biblical exegesis. And in the wake of the Rittenhouse trial, a loud throng of digital voices have celebrated the results, cheering on (among other things) our “God-given right to self-defense.”

Let governmental systems be consistent within themselves, and I’ll do my Romans 13 best to live within them peacefully for the advancement of the true kingdom. But keep idolatrous oxymorons like “God-given right to self-defense” out of your political takes. There is a time and place to discuss American-given rights, but if you are a follower of Christ, your primary text is the Word of God – not the United States Constitution.

The consistent example of Jesus Christ is unwavering peace – a love that stands starkly bright against the darkness of this fallen world. To the point of his own death, when confronted with violence, he responds with restoration. We Christians – “little Christs” – need not bow to the ways of this world, as if fighting fallenness with fallenness is a necessary evil. No more defending and cheering on of darkness. No more dehumanizing those created in the image of God. No more of this.

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