I live in a big hunting state and one that allows concealed carry (unless the business posts that guns not be brought in). In the end the legal regulations regarding weapons determine first what jws do. Then if it is legal the WTS has its own rules. Verbal statements by individual jws are not binding on the WTS or what individual jws conceal from the official WTS administration indicate approval. This articles shows that the WTS does not expect jws to use weapons for defense.
*** w98 12/15 When Armed Robbers Strike ***
Some people desperately seek security by arming themselves with guns. Christians, though, take seriously the words of Jesus, who said: “Those who take the sword will perish by the sword.” (Matthew 26:52) God’s people have ‘beaten their swords into plowshares’ and do not buy guns to protect themselves from robbery or assault.—Micah 4:3.
What about arranging for armed security guards? While this would be a matter for personal decision, remember that such an arrangement puts the gun in the hands of someone else. What would an employer expect of the guards if a robber came along? Would he expect the guards to shoot the thief if necessary to protect the people and possessions that were being guarded?
The stand that Christians take in rejecting magic and weapons as tools of protection may seem foolish in the eyes of those who do not know God. The Bible, however, assures us: “He that is trusting in Jehovah will be protected.” (Proverbs 29:25) While Jehovah protects his people as a whole, he does not intervene in every case to shield his servants from robbery. Job was outstandingly faithful, yet God allowed marauders to plunder Job’s livestock, with loss of life to the attendants. (Job 1:14, 15, 17) God also permitted the apostle Paul to experience “dangers from highwaymen.” (2 Corinthians 11:26) Nonetheless, God teaches his servants to live by principles that reduce the risk of robbery. He also equips them with knowledge that helps them to react to robbery attempts in ways that will reduce the likelihood of injury.
Reducing the Threat of Robbery
The wise man observed long ago: “The plenty belonging to the rich one is not permitting him to sleep.” (Ecclesiastes 5:12) In other words, those who possess many things may become so anxious about losing their possessions that they lose sleep worrying about it.
So one way to reduce not only anxiety but also the threat of robbery is to avoid amassing an abundance of expensive possessions. The inspired apostle wrote: “Everything in the world—the desire of the flesh and the desire of the eyes and the showy display of one’s means of life—does not originate with the Father, but originates with the world.” (1 John 2:16) The same desires that move people to buy costly things move others to steal. And a “showy display of one’s means of life” can be an invitation to those who are inclined to plunder.
Apart from keeping a low profile, another safeguard against robbery is to demonstrate that you are a true Christian. If you show love to others, are honest in your dealings, and are active in the Christian ministry, you can build up a reputation in your community for being a good person, one deserving of respect. (Galatians 5:19-23) Such a Christian reputation can be far more protective than a weapon.
When Armed Robbers Come
What should you do, though, if robbers manage to enter your home and confront you? Remember that your life is more important than possessions. Christ Jesus said: “Do not resist him that is wicked; but whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other also to him. And if a person wants to . . . get possession of your inner garment, let your outer garment also go to him.”—Matthew 5:39, 40.
This is wise counsel. Although Christians are not obligated to give criminals information about assets, robbers are more likely to become violent if they sense resistance, lack of cooperation, or deceit. Many of them, “having come to be past all moral sense,” are easily provoked to vicious, ruthless behavior.—Ephesians 4:19.
Samuel lives in an apartment complex. Robbers blocked off the building and moved from apartment to apartment, plundering. Samuel heard gunshots, doors being smashed, and people shouting, crying, and wailing. Escape was impossible. Samuel told his wife and three sons to kneel on the floor, raise their hands, close their eyes, and wait. When the robbers stormed in, Samuel spoke to them with downcast eyes, knowing that if he looked at their faces, they might think he would identify them later. “Come in,” he said. “Whatever you want, take. You are free to take anything. We are Jehovah’s Witnesses, and we will not resist you.” The robbers were taken aback by this. Over the next hour or so, a total of 12 armed men came in groups. Though they made off with jewelry, money, and electronic equipment, the family was not beaten or hacked with machetes as were others in the building. Samuel’s family thanked Jehovah for their lives.
This exemplifies that when it comes to money and material things, victims of robbery who do not resist may reduce the likelihood of injury.
Sometimes a Christian’s giving a witness can be a defense against injury. When robbers attacked the home of Ade, he told them: “I know things are hard for you, and that is why you are in this line of work. As Jehovah’s Witnesses, we believe that one day everyone will have enough to eat for himself and his family. Everyone will live in peace and happiness under God’s Kingdom.” That sapped the robbers’ aggression. One of them said: “We are sorry we have come to your house, but you must understand that we are hungry.” Although they stripped Ade of his possessions, they did not touch him or his family.
It is not easy to be calm in a dangerous situation, especially when a primary aim of robbers is to terrorize their victims into submission. Prayer will help us. Our cry for help, though silent and brief, can be heard by Jehovah. The Bible assures us: “The eyes of Jehovah are toward the righteous ones, and his ears are toward their cry for help.” (Psalm 34:15) Jehovah hears us and can give us the wisdom to deal calmly with any situation.—James 1:5.
Besides prayer, another aid in being calm is to decide in advance what you will and will not do if you are robbed. Of course, it is not possible to know beforehand in what situation you will find yourself. Still, it is good to have principles in mind, just as it is wise to have safety procedures in mind in case you are in a building that catches fire. Forethought helps you to keep calm, to avoid panic, and to escape injury.
God’s view of robbery is clearly stated: “I, Jehovah, am loving justice, hating robbery along with unrighteousness.” (Isaiah 61:8) Jehovah inspired his prophet Ezekiel to list robbery as a very serious sin. (Ezekiel 18:18) Yet, the same Bible book also shows that God will mercifully forgive the person who repents and gives back what is taken in robbery.—Ezekiel 33:14-16.
Despite living in a crime-ridden world, Christians rejoice in the hope of life under God’s Kingdom, when robbery will be no more. Concerning that time, the Bible promises: “[God’s people] will actually sit, each one under his vine and under his fig tree, and there will be no one making them tremble; for the very mouth of Jehovah of armies has spoken it.”—Micah 4:4.
There are, of course, limits to cooperation. Jehovah’s servants do not cooperate in any way that violates God’s law. For example, a Christian would not willingly submit to rape.
*** g95 9/22 Should I Learn Self-Defense? ***
Use of Weapons
What, though, about packing a gun or a knife? Doing so may indeed make you feel confident. But that confidence could prove fatal if you started taking unnecessary risks or courting trouble. Warns the Bible: “As for the one searching for bad, it will come upon him.” (Proverbs 11:27) And if uninvited trouble comes your way, pulling out a weapon is sure to escalate the conflict. You could get killed—or end up killing someone else. How would God, the Source of life, view your actions if you could have avoided using violence?—Psalm 11:5; 36:9.
True, some do not really intend to use lethal force. They may say they carry a weapon just to scare off harassers. But says Health magazine: “Firearms instructors agree: Don’t get a gun if you aren’t prepared to use it. Waving a firearm around as a bluff can scare off some assailants, but will only enrage others.”
What about “safer” weapons, such as chemical sprays? Besides the fact that they are illegal in some places, these weapons have serious drawbacks. Instead of immobilizing a drug-crazed attacker, they may only succeed in infuriating him. It is even possible that the wind might blow the chemical into your face rather than the attacker’s—assuming you get the spray out in the first place. Seeing you rummaging through your pockets or purse, the assailant may assume you are reaching for a gun and decide to take some aggressive action of his own. One police detective thus comments: “There is no guarantee that mace [a chemical spray], or any other weapon, will work. Or that you will have it out in time. Weapons never help a situation. People put too much faith in them.”
Weapons—The Godly View
The threat of violence was real back in Jesus’ day. One of his most famous parables, commonly called the parable of the Good Samaritan, related an incident involving violent robbery. (Luke 10:30-35) When Jesus asked his disciples to equip themselves with swords, it was not for protection. In fact, it led to his stating the principle: “All those who take the sword will perish by the sword.”—Matthew 26:51, 52; Luke 22:36-38.
True Christians, therefore, do not arm themselves so as to harm their fellowman. (Compare Isaiah 2:4.) They follow the Bible’s advice at Romans 12:18: “If possible, as far as it depends upon you, be peaceable with all men.” Does this mean being defenseless? Not at all!
Wisdom—Better Than Weapons
In an age when there seems to be a gadget for everything, it may surprise you to know that you can have at your disposal a means of defense that is far more effective than any man-made device. At Ecclesiastes 9:18, we read: “Wisdom is better than implements for fighting.” This wisdom is more than what some call “street smarts.” It is the application of Bible principles, and it can often help you to avoid violent situations in the first place.
Jairo, for example, who earlier described his violent school, steers clear of trouble by applying the Bible’s words at 1 Thessalonians 4:11: “Make it your aim to live quietly and to mind your own business.” Says Jairo: “If you know there’s going to be a fight, you have to mind your own business and go home. Some hang around, and that’s when they get into trouble.”
“Letting everyone know I’m one of Jehovah’s Witnesses is my best protection,” states young Lola. “People leave me alone since they know I’m not going to be a threat to them.” “It’s more than just saying you’re a Witness,” adds Eliu. “They should see that you’re different.” Christians must be “no part of the world.” (John 15:19) But be careful not to project a superior attitude. (Proverbs 11:2) One youth put it this way: “Don’t walk down the hallways as if you own the place.” This could trigger resentment. Relates a Christian youth named Luchy: “I’m friendly, and I talk to my classmates; but I simply don’t act like them.”
How you dress is also important. “I’m careful not to wear things that attract attention,” says one youth. “I figure I don’t have to wear the most expensive brands to look good.” Following the Bible’s counsel to dress modestly may help you to keep a low profile and avoid trouble.—1 Timothy 2:9.
If You Are Confronted With Violence
What, though, if in spite of your efforts to stay out of harm’s way, you are threatened with violence? First, try to apply the principle at Proverbs 15:1: “An answer, when mild, turns away rage, but a word causing pain makes anger to come up.” Young Eliu did so when he was in school. He says: “Sometimes it’s just a matter of not taking aggressive statements so seriously. In a lot of cases, it’s how you respond that causes the trouble.” By refusing to “return evil for evil,” you may be able to keep a situation from getting out of hand.—Romans 12:17.
When diplomacy fails, however, you must take steps to protect yourself. If a group of youths demand that you give them your sneakers or some prized possessions, give them up! Your life is far more precious than the things you possess. (Luke 12:15) If violence seems imminent, walk away—better yet, run away! “Before the quarrel has burst forth, take your leave,” says Proverbs 17:14. (Compare Luke 4:29, 30; John 8:59.) If escape is impossible, you may have no choice but to ward off violence as best you can. Afterward, be sure to let your parents know what happened. Perhaps they can help out in some way.
Just as the Bible prophesied, we live in violent times. (2 Timothy 3:1-5) But toting a gun or learning karate kicks will not make you any safer. Be cautious. Use godly wisdom when faced with trouble. And above all, have faith and trust in Jehovah. Like the psalmist, you can confidently pray: “From the man of violence you will deliver me.”—Psalm 18:48.
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Martial arts are not the answer for Christians
*** g91 7/8 pp. 12-13 Self-Defense—How Far Can a Christian Go? ***
The Bible’s Viewpoint
Self-Defense—How Far Can a Christian Go?
“Why live in fear? Learn practical ways to defend yourself and to escape an attacker. Easy and effective defense techniques are demonstrated in detail. This instructional video could be the difference between being a statistic or a survivor.”—Advertisement for self-defense video.
NO ONE has to explain the selling power of such a video today. In the city of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.A., packs of youths chant “Beat, beat, beat” as they prowl the streets seeking victims to mug. “Fear of crime colors the character of the entire city” of Rio de Janeiro, reports Time magazine. In Hong Kong armed robberies and shootings are occurring in areas where violent crime has been almost unknown—until now.
Similar reports are heard worldwide. With what result? “Citizens weigh the risks of shooting back,” says Newsweek. Christians are not shielded from these “critical times hard to deal with,” but will shooting back really make “the difference between being a statistic or a survivor”?—2 Timothy 3:1.
Meet Violence With Violence?
‘If I carry a gun,’ some believe, ‘I’ll be safe. I’ll get him before he gets me. At least I’ll scare him off!’ However, it’s not that simple.
George Napper, Atlanta, Georgia, U.S.A., public-safety commissioner, says: “Owning a handgun means being prepared to live with the aftermath of killing another human being.” Is a Christian prepared to live with such a consequence, which may well include bloodguilt?—Compare Numbers 35:11, 12.
Also, God’s Word commands, ‘Beat your swords into plowshares’ and, “Seek peace and pursue it.” (Micah 4:3; 1 Peter 3:11) How can Christians seek protection in firearms and at the same time live in harmony with the Bible’s requirements? In any case, the attacker is likely to be quicker on the draw than the victim.
Jesus rejected armed resistance. True, he instructed his apostles to carry two swords to the garden of Gethsemane, the place where he would be arrested. But why did he do this? Having weapons, yet not using them, powerfully demonstrated that Jesus’ followers should not resort to carnal weapons. It is noteworthy that having a weapon available, Peter impetuously used it. Jesus strongly rebuked him for this rash act with the words: “All those who take the sword will perish by the sword.”—Matthew 26:36, 47-56; Luke 22:36-38, 49-51.
‘That is all well and good for owning firearms,’ someone may say. ‘But what about learning the martial arts for self-defense, such as judo, karate, and kendo?’ Ask yourself, is not the object of this instruction to fight or hurt others? And is not such training really equivalent to arming oneself lethally? (1 Timothy 3:3) Even practice sessions have resulted in serious injuries and fatalities.
Romans 12:17-19 offers wise advice in this regard: “Return evil for evil to no one. . . . If possible, as far as it depends upon you, be peaceable with all men. Do not avenge yourselves, beloved, but yield place to the wrath; for it is written: ‘Vengeance is mine; I will repay, says Jehovah.’” The Greek word Paul uses for “evil” (ka·kos′) could also mean “destructive, damaging.” Hence, Christians are to keep from all thought of vindictively damaging or harming another person.
Rather than impetuously expressing his own wrath, a Christian fully trusts in God, who says of his people: “He that is touching you is touching my eyeball.” In harmony with this, God promises to ‘annihilate the wicked’ in due time.—Zechariah 2:8; Psalm 145:20.
A Time to Fight?
‘I won’t give up my money without a fight!’ some daringly exclaim. Dick Mellard, manager of education at the National Crime Prevention Institute, cautions: “It’s human nature to resist, but human nature can get [you] killed in the wrong situation.” Many muggers are dangerously armed and are tense and nervous. Lost money can be regained, but what about a lost life? Is it worth the risk?
George Napper gives this advice: “Perhaps the best way to protect yourself is by risking your property rather than your life. Most robbers and burglars are there to steal, not to kill.” In situations where a person is simply accosted or when his money is demanded, a sound principle is: “A slave of the Lord does not need to fight.”—2 Timothy 2:24.
This is not pacifism, a policy of nonresistance under any circumstance. At Exodus 22:2, 3, a situation is described in which a thief is fatally struck while entering someone’s home during the day. Such a defensive measure was considered tantamount to murder, since the thief could have been identified and brought to justice. But during the night, it would be difficult for the householder to see an intruder and ascertain his intentions. Therefore, the person killing an intruder in the dark was considered guiltless.
Thus, the Bible does not uphold impetuous attempts at self-defense. In not supporting pacifism, however, the Bible indicates that there is a time to defend oneself. Christians may ward off physically aggressive attacks against themselves, their families, or others in genuine need of defense. But they would not initiate an attack, nor would they physically retaliate to save their possessions. They would not carry weapons in anticipation of such an attack; rather, they endeavor to “live peaceably.”—2 Corinthians 13:11.
While the context shows that Paul was here referring to verbal fights, the original language word rendered “fight” (ma′khe·sthai) is generally associated with armed or hand-to-hand combat.
A woman threatened with rape should scream and use any means at her disposal to resist intercourse.—Deuteronomy 22:23-27.
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Betrayal of Christ, by Albrecht Dürer, 1508
*** w83 7/15 pp. 23-24 pars. 9-12 “Seek Peace and Pursue It” ***
9 The Christian will find protection, not in possessing firearms, but in ‘seeking peace and pursuing it.’ (1 Peter 3:11) Trust in Jehovah. If you are confronted by a criminal, make it known that you are one of Jehovah’s Witnesses. Do not resist the one who threatens violence; give him the material belongings that he demands. Your life is more valuable than these. When cornered and threatened, call on Jehovah for help. Remember: “The name of Jehovah is a strong tower. Into it the righteous runs and is given protection.”—Proverbs 18:10.
10 However, would there not be occasions, such as in traveling through dangerous insurgent territory, when Jehovah’s Witnesses might be better off carrying firearms for self-defense? The answer emphatically is No. (Compare Ezra 8:21-23, 31; 2 Corinthians 11:23-27.) Take for example our traveling overseers in a certain African country. In recent years these brothers often were required to pass through war zones when serving the congregations. At times they were accosted by guerrillas or by security forces. If firearms had been found on them it would have cost them their life. With few exceptions, their identity as Jehovah’s Witnesses, along with the absence of any weapons of violence, gave them passage to their destination. It is the same in strife-torn Northern Ireland, where it has been said that “death is part of the landscape.” The neutrality of Jehovah’s Witnesses is well known, and as peace lovers they find protection in both Catholic and Protestant areas.
11 The Scriptures, backed up by the modern-day experience of Jehovah’s Witnesses, make it plain that it is inadvisable for individual Christians to carry, or have in their possession at home or in other locations, a firearm or other lethal weapon for use against human attackers or intruders. (Isaiah 2:4; 1 Peter 3:11) One who prepares for violence invites violence. Rather, the Christian’s main trust should be in Jehovah, his God.—Psalm 18:48; 140:1, 4; Proverbs 3:5-7.
12 In line with Romans 13:1, 4, the worldly “superior authorities” may set up certain peace-keeping agencies, such as police, that are armed officially to protect citizens and property. Since such arrangements permitted by God are described as “God’s minister, an avenger to express wrath upon the one practicing what is bad,” it would be in order for the Christian to request and receive protection from such an agency. But even if he finds it necessary to defend himself or his loved ones by whatever is at hand, he should not use firearms. Nor would he take the law into his own hands. In many countries it is illegal even to possess firearms for self-defense.—Matthew 22:21; compare Exodus 22:2.
It is similar if one of Jehovah’s Witnesses insists on carrying or having firearms for protection against humans, or on learning the martial arts. The spiritual elders should take immediate steps to counsel and help him to remedy the situation. (Micah 4:3) Anyone who thus continues to carry personal arms or otherwise equips himself to become “a smiter” would cease to qualify for special privileges in the congregation.—1 Timothy 3:2, 3.