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ian letterman

can this be justified?

it occurs to me that considering the current political atomosphere i find myself questioning much of what i know about patience. Not so much the definition as the element of time that is imbedded in my understanding of the term. To clarify---as we exercise patience in our christian lives toward family, friends, enemies there is clearly, at least to me a timetable associated with the exercise. We are to practice patience with individuals sharing the truth in love when the oppurtunity arises or as we witness behavior unbecoming a child of God and though we do not agree with the behavior we are commanded to love one another---hate the sin not the sinner--after all we all fall short of the glory of God. My question is---when can a man justifiably act to stop the behavior, move against an entity or individual promoting dangerous ideas and ideologies even to the point of violence. Please do not misundertand me and assume that justified violence is what i seek, however, history is repleat with situations such as we face today where liberty(including freedom of religion) is under a full on assault by enemies from within and without. two questions to the members of this forum--1. When if ever is patience pushed to the breaking point? and 2. Do you believe that violence--in defense of ones way of life and his freedoms, paritcularly his right practice his faith-- can be justified?

Ian--great questions:

1. When if ever is patience pushed to the breaking point?  

2. Do you believe that violence--in defense of one's way of life and his freedoms, particularly his right to practice his faith-- can be justified?

My political anger hit its peak during the auto maker grovelling session at Washington D.C.  There was an economist who warned our brilliant politicians against throwing money at a problem that was bigger than we realized.  

Economist 1, Senate 0.  

Times are very uncertain.  You just had a child and you have to raise this blessing of God in a scary time and an unreliable place.  My guess is God is bringing this anger to a head in your life to show you something about yourself that will help you be a better father.  

What, specifically, is He trying to show you?  There's no point in guessing--He'll show you soon enough.  

Let's get down to the questions you posed and I'll give you my take (for what it's worth).

Question 1:  Patience can be pushed to a breaking point whenever outside distractions cause you to lose sight of what you were focused on being patient for.  There comes a time when you've analyzed the various scenarios that could come about--analyzing the "What-ifs" and nothing happens.  We've been socialized to get results, so much so, that we tend to be less patient for things that don't bring about quick results/resolutions.  What we really want subliminally shapes our desire to wait for shorter periods, and in the end the results we desire are less than those if we'd truly been patient (i.e. we used to dream bigger and were more willing to follow a process toward achieving that dream).  Now we're looking for short-cuts.  As we get older we realize how short a time we're really on this earth, so we get anxious for God to hurry up and provide answers before it's too late.  

Question 2:  Can violence be justified?  Absolutely violence can be justified.  You must follow that up with another question:  Who is justifying the violence?  You, a law enforcement officer, God?  Certain religions use violence to spread the Gospel.  Other messages are spread through combined efforts of people rallying, etc.

Violence is all about intent.  If you choose to be violent, you must intentionally act in violence.  Violence doesn't accidentally happen.  It's a choice.  Choices have consequences and one must be held accountable for his choices.  You can justify any choice you make, but the second you eliminate God from that equation, you're on your own.  God needs to be part of the decision making process and we all forget to send him the memo from time to time.  

Conclusion:  Don't lose your faith in God, in people you trust, and be the best father you know how to be at this time.  If you consistently focus on doing what's right in God's eyes, He'll give you the chance to be a hero down the line.  I sometimes say "don't try to be a hero" when something appears bigger than you (like the current political or religious environment) this case, I'll support you if you choose to be a hero but only after God has lead you into battle.  

Just my thoughts.



1. "When if ever is patience pushed to the breaking point?"  Certainly, you are correct that patience has a time element, or is perhaps seasonal.  This is one reason I believe patience has today been updated to tolerance.  God is patient, however, He is not tolerant.  The Bible promises that judgment will one day come.  God is not indifferent but cares deeply about the activities within this life.

For now, I believe we are to look to the precedence Jesus Christ and early martyrs have established as our heritage.        

2. "Do you believe that violence--in defense of one's way of life and his freedoms, particularly his right to practice his faith-- can be justified?"  Let's see, Peter cut off an ear and Christ reattached it.  Jesus said we are to love our enemies.  Jesus also judged actions within the Temple and took action against the participants.  Christ asked God the Father to forgive us for crucifying Him.  

So what are we to do?  Certainly, we must gain an eternal perspective on this subject and weigh that which is temporarily at risk against that which is eternally at risk.


Have you had any time to reflect on the questions you posed?

What are your thoughts.
Joshua James

"Do you believe that violence--in defense of one's way of life and his freedoms, particularly his right to practice his faith-- can be justified?"
First, let me say me too.
I have/am wrestling with this same question. Essentially I think you're asking, is it justifiable to submit to violence in order to protect oneself, family, friends, country, and the rights of the people. And in my mind I continue to return to what Jesus said to Peter. "... for all who draw the sword, will die by the sword."
From my understanding, in the reality of Jesus, we are to, as Rick stated, love our enemies, and do good to those who hate you, love our enemies, and pray for those who persecute you. Is this ever easy? Absolutely not. Is it ever the first thing that comes to mind? No. If someone is trying to hurt a loved one am I going to do everything possible to protect that individual? Yes. But vengeance is the Lordís, and as His children, being made in His imagine, I canít help but think He feels the same way about protecting ALL of His children, all of creation, as you and I do about protecting our way of life.
That being said, I feel there must be a better way than violence. That is not to say I'm a bleeding heart pacifist, but that I am struggling to see what violence solves. While Jesus did get angry and took action in the Temple, he is God and the only one who has the authority to bring a reign of judgment on any man.
Live by the sword, die by the sword.

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If you look for truth, you may find comfort in the end; if you look for comfort you will not get either comfort or truth only soft soap and wishful thinking to begin, and in the end, despair. --C. S. Lewis