MARTIAL ARTS : As a Christian and a fighting styles student, I have often wrestled with the idea of self-defense. Does God expect me to protect my family and myself when physically attacked or am I to “turn the other cheek” and endure it in the name of Jesus? As I considered the many comments I encountered with this topic, I became even more confused. Some advocates for “religion” have gone so far as to say that anyone who practices any form of fighting techinques is let me make it clear bound for hell. It wasn’t until I committed myself to a far more thorough study of the scriptures that I came across the facts for myself. The Bible gives higher than a few samples of the practice of self-defense and the idea of martial arts. I wish to share a number of what I have discovered in this study of the Bible – Old Testament and New. The Bible is, actually, the word of God (II Timothy 3:16-17).
God and Warfare
The first example of a real struggle in the Bible is in Genesis chapter 4. It will be here that Cain kills his brother Abel. This is an act of violence condemned by God for 2 reasons. First, the violence was out of anger and jealousy because his brother’s actions were better than his own (Genesis 4:4-7). Secondly, the violence was pre-meditated. God confronted Cain before this violence occurred. He told Cain that he will have to work out how to understand the sin of anger and jealousy that was wanting to overtake him. What this scripture teaches is that God does not need us to initiate violence but he wants us to train ourselves to understand our emotions when tempted with feelings of anger, jealousy and rage. He wants us to get ready our hearts to respond humbly.
I think the research of fighting techinques provides this sort of training. I have seen it within my son’s fighting techinques class. His sensei (teacher) may spend up to 1 / 2 of the one-hour class teaching the youngsters humility, manners, concern for others and peace-making. They’re taught in order to avoid violence and stay calm in situations of conflict. This type of character training is right in accordance with the example of God’s training of Cain. Another biblical example of a conflict involving a real struggle is found in Genesis chapter 14. In this chapter, kings are in war and Abram’s nephew, Lot, and Lot’s family are taken captive. In reaction to hearing the news headlines about his relatives, Abram sends men to rescue them.
In Genesis 14:14-16, Abram sent out “the 318 trained men born in his household”. It appears that although Abram wasn’t at war, he had an exercise program for his family and household. It was obviously an exercise program for warfare of some sort – and a great one, at that, since these were victorious in returning Lot, his family and all their possessions from the hands of warring kings. After Abram’s successful rescue, he is honored by God and reminded that God had made him successful against his adversary. God later renames Abram, “Abraham” and he becomes the founding father of faith for the Jewish people (and later Christians as well). To clarify the meaning of the term “martial arts”, Webster’s defines the term martial arts as “warfare” or “warrior”, and arts as “a skill acquired by study”.
In the story of Abram rescuing Lot, the Bible gives us an example of warrior training. Not everybody in Abram’s household was a part of the 318 trained men, but those who were had excellent fighting techinques training. And God helped them to be victorious as they executed their warfare skills. Listed below are a few other brief samples of warfare, from the Old Testament, that might be studied further:
- Genesis 32 – Jacob avoids war along with his brother, Esau. He prepares for battle but orchestrates a peaceful resolution.
- Deuteronomy 20 – God goes with the warriors to combat their enemies.
- II Samuel 23:8-39 – the Bible describes David and his mighty men of battle.
- Nehemiah 4 – the builders of Jerusalem’s city wall carry weapons to protect themselves through the rebuilding.
There are many more examples in the Old Testament, with a wide selection of scenarios and many unique resolutions. The topic of warfare is very complex and each situation needs to be considered carefully. Therefore, when faced with adversity, wisdom needs to be applied.
An Eye For An Eye
Despite having the Old Testament of the Bible showing support for martial arts training, some might argue that the God of the Old Testament is different than the God of the New Testament – that God’s position on warfare changed when Jesus came on the scene. It could be stated that the God of the Old Testament was about war and the God of the New Testament is approximately peace. The Bible, however, does not support this. James 1:17 says that God does not change, and Hebrews 13:8 says that Jesus Christ [God] is the same yesterday, today and forever. Therefore, the God of the Old Testament is the same God of the New Testament. Once we continue to study this topic, we will have that the New Testament also discusses self-defense and the idea of martial arts.
Matthew 5:38-42, by which Jesus talks about “an eye fixed for an eye fixed and a tooth for a tooth”, has been used to condemn martial arts. It reads, “You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’ But I tell you may not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the best cheek, turn to him one other also. And when someone really wants to sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. If someone forces one to go one mile, choose him two miles. Give the main one who asks you, and don’t turn away from the main one who would like to borrow from you.” In the beginning glance this passage seems to be advocating a reversal of the Old Testament laws.
I was swayed by this argument myself, and was torn within my convictions for a few time. Nevertheless when I finally made a decision to dig deeper into the Bible, I was amazed and encouraged to locate some answers. Many individuals who wish to obey the Bible simply gloss over this scripture, like I did, since they are torn between what they think the Bible says and their consciences telling them to organize for warfare and to protect. The reality is that Jesus never designed to abolish the Old Testament laws. He only designed to clarify them, to bolster them, fulfill them, and reveal God’s heart behind them. This is what Jesus says just moments earlier in Matthew 5:17: “Don’t think that I have come to abolish the [Old Testament] Law or perhaps the Prophets; I’ve not reach abolish them but to fulfill them.”
When Jesus speaks about “turning one other cheek”, in Matthew 5, he’s discussing the Old Testament Mosaic laws found in Exodus 21, 22 and 23. These chapters in Exodus offer the laws God gave to his people, which reinforce and additional detail the famous “ten commandments”. Jesus is specifically discussing Exodus 21:22 where God explains what punishment should be provided if men are fighting and a innocent by-stander is harmed (in this instance, an expectant woman). This is simply not a scripture about self-defense but about restitution and punishment for the crime. Jesus referenced this scripture since the people, in religious self-righteousness, were employing this particular scripture to justify retaliation and vengeance.
“A close look on an eye” became justification to get intolerant and merciless toward one another. A closer look with the “act of aggression” that Jesus identifies for a strike within the cheek, can tell you that he is talking about a insult instead of fighting fist. Your message “strike” is translated with the Greek word “rhapizo” which is often used interchangeably while using the word “slap”. Inside the Jewish culture (as in a great many other cultures), a slap in the face was a kind of humiliation or rebuke. It was not necessarily a physical attack and hasn’t been supposed to end in physical harm. Even Exodus 21:21 (regarding “a close watch on an eye”) says that if, caused by a conflict, an expectant by-stander needs to supply birth pre-maturely option to no serious damage to at least 18 or perhaps the baby, “a close watch on an eye” shouldn’t be applied for a punishment.
Jesus is confirming that this Old Testament law regarding punishment is not to ever be part of any excuses for retaliation when inconvenienced or insulted. Jesus is exposing the very center of human and it’s further clarifying the Old Testament Law. God’s desire is that do not retaliate but rather that individuals restrain our emotions in the heating of conflict and keep righteousness and mercifulness. We’re not to pounce on our adversary at the initial sign that i am offended. The eventual goal of God will be to make an impression on the offender, help him to check out God’s mercy and institute a big change of heart inside the offender (see 2 Peter 3:9-15 and Luke 9:51-56 for even more study).
Guidelines For Martial Arts
The Bible provides some guidelines for practicing self-defense and martial arts simply because it aims to clarify what exactly is and isn’t acceptable in the face of conflict. II Timothy 3:16-17 says, “All Scripture [the Bible] is God-breathed and will last teaching, rebuking, correcting and education in righteousness, so the man of God could possibly be thoroughly equipped for each good work.” I Corinthians 13:7 says, “[Love] always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres”. Using the Bible as helpful information, a person can become thoroughly equipped being a protector. Permanent injury or death may appear caused by practicing martial arts. It doesn’t make martial arts unacceptable to God but God clarifies what exactly is and isn’t acceptable in regard to deadly force in various situations.
For instance, Exodus 21:12-14 says that if someone else is killed unintentionally, the killer isn’t accountable for murder. Should it be intentional, the killer is usually to be sentenced to death. Exodus 21:18-19 says that if men are quarreling then one strikes one other and injures him seriously but is not permanently (even by using a weapon), he’s responsible only to make up the injured man for decrease of some time to medical expenses. I point out these scriptures to show that God cares while using the attacker’s as well as the defender’s intentions as well as the result of the conflict. We simply cannot simply express that anyone that harms or kills another man is guilty and possesses committed a sin. It relies on his intentions.
Also, we see that using extreme force, maybe a weapon could very well be acceptable the expense of used in such a way relating to not intentionally inflict permanent damage. The Bible refers to another situation whereby self-defense should be considered down robbery, in Exodus 22:2-3. Any time a man has been robbed, he can be permitted protect his property, his family and himself. Generally if the attempted robbery arises after sunset and the actions of self-defense result in the death for the robber, the defender isn’t guilty. Generally if the attempted robbery arises with the daytime and the robber is killed, the defender is guilty of sin. A real difference could very well be that with the daytime, the defender should have additional control of his actions and you must subdue the robber without killing him.
Self-defense is warranted but control ought to be applied. During the nighttime, at midnight, maximum force could possibly be acceptable free of cost . near impossible to assess the threat the robber poses. In the home . more hard to tell if the attacker stood a weapon, or to assess his physical strength. God expects us to constantly make decisions about the situations everyone is in. In regard to martial arts training and self-defense, it would appear that God is concerned with our intentions. Guilt and innocence, to him, are to do with the heart. God expects us being directed from the heart for the scriptures with the Bible. We have to be directed in your actions by scriptures like Deuteronomy 5:17, which says, “You will not murder” not to mention I Corinthians 13:7 which says, “[Love] always protects”.
For the reason that Bible states in II Timothy 3:16-17, all Bible scripture is relevant and useful. During an example of my martial arts training classes, an example of my fellow students asked our sensei, “What attack should I make now?” He had just finished practicing several intense self-defense tactics on his partner, rendering him harmless. Sensei replied, “Run”. No final “kill-move”? No, it is time to make another decision about the threat the attacker poses. Generally if the attacker has become successfully rendered harmless next you shouldn’t hang around to inflict more damage or further risk your special safety. The Bible gives us specific guidelines for martial arts training but God also communicates his heart about how exactly he wants us to deal with one another. He wants us to deal with eath other with love – even conflict.
I in addition have wrestled in the question of irrespective of whether it has been right for weapons specifically as a way of defense. Should I own a fighting knife, a sword or simply a gun? Isaiah 2:4 says, “…They are beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will require up sword against nation, nor do they really train for war anymore.” If this type of scripture were taken out of context with the rest of the Bible, to employ a weapon has got to be sin. But this scripture is to be balanced with others. While in the context, this scripture is describing the contrast concerned with the nations of this time and as well as the nation Jesus would establish with the future.
The continent that Jesus would establish would don’t have a military and there’d be no physical walls to defend. It has got to be spiritual nation, not an actual one. The New Testament clearly confirms the ability to bear arms. Romans 13:4 says, “For [the governing authority] is God’s servant to do you good. But should you choose wrong, hesitate, for he doesn’t bear the sword for nothing. He’s God’s servant, a stimulus of wrath to take punishment for the wrongdoer.” Even Jesus directs his disciples to accumulate weapons as the moment of his crucifixion approached. Luke 22:36 says, “He believed them, ‘These days assuming you have a purse, carry it, together with a bag; and without a sword, sell your cloak and get one.’
” Whilst in the Luke 22:38, “The disciples said, ‘See Lord, right here are two swords.’ ‘That is sufficient,’ he replied.” Peter just after uses the sword to defend Jesus and Jesus rebukes him for it. This is not saying it is wrong try using a weapon to defend someone. Peter had earlier been rebuked by Jesus for trying which keeps him from fulfilling his mission of dying towards the sins around the globe (see Matthew 16:21-28). Jesus was re-stating that Peter wasn’t to defend Jesus from likely to his death. This is not a suitable enough time to makes use of the sword. Jesus had his disciples arm themselves because Jesus was not going to be with these, physically, any longer. They would need to protect themselves and the other and Jesus gave them the authority to bear arms home so.
Martial Arts Is Not Religion
You must observe that fighting is absolutely not religion in it is no institute and services information and worship of God. It is only a tool to perform a necessary training. You might have flaws every one fighting training and perhaps things taught that happen to be contradictory on the Bible. This could happen even as soon as fighting style or device is advocating biblical-based training. Romans 3:4 says, “…Let God be true every man a liar.” My son was recently taught by a school teacher during class to protect yourself from revealing politics and religion to avoid conflict. Though I appreciate efforts made to train your children to keep your peace, the style is biblically flawed.
I spent the in the near future teaching Bible scriptures to my son which includes Acts 4, “Judge for yourselves selecting right in God’s sight to obey [man] as an alternative to God. For we can’t help talking about that which you may see and heard.” It’s always each person’s responsibility to be a Christian to be aware what the Bible teaches. Even during Acts 17:10-11, as soon as apostle Paul taught people of Berea, the Bereans were honored by God for having a noble character because, “they received the material with great eagerness and examined the scriptures regularly to see whether what Paul said was true.” Each of folks is the same responsibility to examine the scriptures to see whether that which you think you are taught holds true, may it be a teaching from your fighting instructor, school teacher, neighbor, or religious leader.
Fighting technique training has many place. It helps people learn to deal with the inevitable conflicts in life. There’s no escaping battle in life. God wants people to anticipate to handle these battles, selecting to show the other one cheek to the insult, obtain a peaceful resolution, or physically defend themselves or others. Fighting technique and self-defense may not be sinful or inherently wrong, but with no guidance of God as well as Bible, fighting could possibly be misapplied. Without correct biblical training we remain to some of our sinful nature, which tends toward retaliation, haste, fear, hatred, pacifism, and intolerance. Fighting technique is usually a biblical concept, but especially attention must be fond of biblical training. The Bible must be used with fighting training. So, I Timothy 4:7-8, which says, “Have absolutely nothing regarding godless myths and old wives’tales; rather, train you to ultimately be godly. For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for the present life and also the life to come.”
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