With so much chaos happening in the world today one may be wondering what the Torah instructs us to do in certain dangerous situations.
In the past year, more people than usual have been confronted with such situations. With looting, vandalism, and threats of violence, and even entire cities falling to violent mobs.
It’s important to know beforehand what our Father expects of us when confronted with such difficult situations.
A disclaimer: I have never been in a dangerous situation so this article is not one written from experience. I’m simply basing everything written here on my interpretation of God’s Word.
Defending yourself in your home
One important verse in the Torah we can begin our discussion with is found in Exodus:
If a thief is found breaking in and is struck so that he dies, there shall be no bloodguilt for him, but if the sun has risen on him, there shall be bloodguilt for him…
This verse is translated a bit awkwardly.
But what this is saying is that if someone breaks into your house at night, if you defend yourself to the point that the intruder dies, you will not be guilty of bloodshed.
However, if someone breaks in during the day, and you kill the intruder, you will be guilty.
My understanding of this is that in the daylight one is able to judge the situation more clearly.
And so one has more options in regards to using non-lethal force against the intruder.
The Torah gives us clear instructions on our duty to protect others:
You shall not go around as a slanderer among your people, and you shall not stand up against the life of your neighbor: I am the LORD.
This, unfortunately, is a really misleading translation.
If one were to take this English translation as is, it seems to be saying not to hurt your neighbor. Which is not at all what it’s saying.
The actual Hebrew text in question is as follows: לא תעמד על־דם רעך
The much more literal translation of this is: “Do not stand idle if your neighbor is bleeding.”
This clearly means if we see someone in physical danger, we must act.
Our duty to protect others is further illustrated in one of the Psalms written by Asaph.
Rescue the weak and the needy; deliver them from the hand of the wicked.
So we can see that we are expected to do our best to stop whatever or whoever it is causing someone else harm.
Whether or not we can use violence to protect others is not mentioned in the Torah.
But I have to believe that we can as during a violent assault there really aren’t many other options.
Putting it all together
Love, mercy, and justice are all core tenants of the Torah.
With that in mind, I believe attempting to seriously injure someone who poses a physical threat should never be our first intent.
I realize “shooting to kill” is most often done out of fear of being hurt or killed and not out of malice.
But even still, whether we are protecting ourselves, someone we love, or a complete stranger, I think we should do only what is necessary to protect against serious injury.
And I believe Yeshua would teach the same.
With that in mind here are some guidelines to consider:
- Show mercy
- Be willing to defend others by whatever means necessary
- If available, use a weapon such as a firearm to take control of the situation in order to prevent injury for all parties involved
- Forgive and pray for someone who does harm to you. This is difficult but so powerful.
- Get the police involved in hopes that the courts will fulfill their duty to administer justice
As mentioned above, I am not speaking from experience so this is all hypothetical.
But I still believe it’s important to be equipped with the knowledge of what Elohim expects from us in times of distress.
And I pray that if I ever do find myself in such a situation that the spirit will give me the clarity of mind and the courage to react in such a way that is in accordance with God’s will.