A Question I Was Asked:

Is It Prohibited for us Christians to Defend Ourselves, or To Refuse to Loan to Others?

My question: Should we not defend ourselves because of what Jesus recommended and said to his disciples, 'but I tell you not to resist an evil person and give to him who asks you and from him who wants to borrow from you do not turn away.' Matthew 5:39,42. I have even loaned my money, but they don't repay me, so I have decided to care more for my income; I won't lend my money anymore. Proverbs says: the just has mercy and lends, but the wicked borrows and doesn't pay.

So what do you advise me mainly about Jesus words: not to resist an evil person? Is it then prohibited for us Christians to defend ourselves?

UK Apologetics Reply:

No, it is not prohibited for Christians to defend ourselves; in fact, we always should do so but without being difficult or rebellious; do it with tact, dipomacy and a friendly and generous sprit. If you have loaned anybody money and it was never repaid, do not loan to that person again! In that way, you are helping that person to be more responsible and more respectful of others. But do it tactfully and privately, avoiding a situation which might lead to a major argument.

In such verses Jesus was not teaching us never to stand up for what is right and correct; He possibly had in mind the behaviour of the Jewish religionists (the Pharisees etc), who were apparently uncaring and frequently not willing to help those in need. Also, in applying the admonition to "borrow and not turn away" (verse 42), He was certainly not referring to those who borrow and never repay. We know this because responsibility, accountability and wise stewardship are always stressed in the Bible. Rather, Jesus was saying, if there is a genuine case and a person wants to borrow a little, if you are financially able, why not let that person have a little more even than they wanted? This is all about generosity of spirit, not about throwing one's money around in an irresponsible manner.

Jesus was teaching of the need to determinedly not give offence where it can be avoided and to be always ready to reach out to help others (where one is able, of course). Yes, it is important to resist evil people but also important to reach out to the needy. Also, we should not be too quick to judge, maybe a person who has shown questionable behaviour in the past now really wants to be trusted. There is no easy or all-encompassing answer here which covers every possible eventuality which might arise. This is why we should always be praying about such areas, asking the Lord to grant us more of His Spirit and more of His wisdom to evaluate some of these areas in our lives. There is a time to 'turn the other cheek,' but there are also times when we show more love by standing firm.

Robin A. Brace. November 22nd, 2017.