Jesus is well known for His emphasis on love, forgiveness, and "turning the other cheek," but many overlook Luke 22:36 when he advised the disciples to buy a sword, "But now if you have a purse, take it, and also a bag; and if you don't have a sword, sell your cloak and buy one." Was Jesus advocating the use of a sword for self-defense purposes? This is a question that Christians have argued about for centuries.
Christian pacifists believe it is always wrong to injure other humans, no matter the circumstances. And the same principles supporting pacifism carry over to nonresistance, the belief that any form of self-defense is wrong. This view is usually based on the exemplary life and teachings of Jesus. Christian pacifists believe Jesus rejected the existing political state of affairs and taught a form of radical nonviolence, mandating that one "turn the other cheek" when encountering violence (Matthew 5:38-48). When Jesus told the disciples to buy a sword, pacifists suggest He was only speaking figuratively.
While it is true that Jesus said to turn the other cheek, many scholars do not believe pacifism, or nonresistance, is the essential point of His teaching in this passage or that He meant to "turn the other cheek" in all circumstances. Even Christ did not literally turn the other cheek when smitten by a member of the Sanhedrin (John 18:22-23).
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