According to the teachings of Lord Jesus Christ, we have been told time and again that, Ã¢â‚¬Å“But I say unto you that ye resist not evil, but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if any man will sue thee at the law and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloak also. And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him two. (Mathew 5:39-41)
This passage of the Holy Bible, according to my study and research does not mean that Christians should become Ã¢â‚¬Å“CowardsÃ¢â‚¬Â and easy Ã¢â‚¬Å“PreyÃ¢â‚¬Â for any one who hates us and looks for excuses to destroy us. It teaches us Ã¢â‚¬Å“Not to Resist EvilÃ¢â‚¬Â. It is always taught that we the Christians are obligated to avoid any confrontation to the extent that we must bear any harm inflicted on us should become Ã¢â‚¬Å“Sitting DucksÃ¢â‚¬Â and let people beat us, take away our belongings and takes us in to Ã¢â‚¬Å“slaveryÃ¢â‚¬Â, just because Lord Jesus Christ had said so, without understanding what message our Lord is conveying? In these verses the Ã¢â‚¬Å“law of retaliationÃ¢â‚¬Â is expounded, and in a manner repealed. According to renowned Christian scholars. Ã¢â‚¬Å“What the New-Testament precept is, as to the complainant himself, his duty is, to forgive the injury as done to himself, and no further to insist upon the punishment of it than is necessary to the public good: and this precept is consonant to the meekness of Christ, and the gentleness of his yoke. Two things Christ teaches us here: 1. We must not be revengeful (v. 39); I say unto you, that ye resist not evil; Ã¢â‚¬"the evil person that is injurious to you. The resisting of any ill attempt upon us, is here as generally and expressly forbidden, as the resisting of the higher powers is (Rom. 13:2); and yet this does not repeal the Ã¢â‚¬Å“law of self-preservationÃ¢â‚¬Â, and the care we are to take of our families; we may avoid evil, and may resist it, so far as is necessary to our own security; but we must not render evil for evil, must not bear a grudge, nor avenge ourselves, nor study to be even with those that have treated us unkindly, but we must go beyond them by forgiving them, Prov. 20:22; 24:29; 25:21, 22; Rom. 12:7. The Ã¢â‚¬Å“law of retaliationÃ¢â‚¬Â must be made consistent with the law of love: nor, if any have injured us, is our recompense in our own hands, but in the hands of God, to whose wrath we must give place; and sometimes in the hands of his viceregents, where it is necessary for the preservation of the public peace; but it will not justify us in hurting our brother to say that he began, for it is the second blow that makes the quarrel; and when we were injured, we had an opportunity not to justify our injuring him, but to show ourselves the true disciples of Christ, by forgiving him. The plain instruction is, Suffer any injury that can be borne, for the sake of peace, committing your concerns to the Lord`s keeping. And the sum of all is, that Christians must avoid disputing and striving. (Henry Matthew)
Therefore a Christian is forbidden to take revenge, and suffer any injury that can be borne by an individual for sake of Ã¢â‚¬Å“PeaceÃ¢â‚¬Â. Yet this does not repeal the Ã¢â‚¬Å“law of self-preservationÃ¢â‚¬Â, and the Ã¢â‚¬Å“careÃ¢â‚¬Â we are to take of our families we may avoid evil, and may resist it, so far as is necessary to our own security. I may add here that Ã¢â‚¬Å“self-preservationÃ¢â‚¬Â and care of our family, we must add that we must take measures to save the Holy Bible and our churches and worship places and our property as well. The right of Ã¢â‚¬Å“self defenseÃ¢â‚¬Â is not only given to us by the Ã¢â‚¬Å“Word of GodÃ¢â‚¬Â, it is given to every person by the Ã¢â‚¬Å“law of landÃ¢â‚¬Â. Therefore a Christian is not a real Christian who does not take ensure his own self defense, and defend his family, property and most important the Ã¢â‚¬Å“SanctityÃ¢â‚¬Â of the Ã¢â‚¬Å“Holy BibleÃ¢â‚¬Â and Ã¢â‚¬Å“ChurchesÃ¢â‚¬Â that are called, House of God.
Here I am not saying that we must go and get hold of a person or persons, beat them up or kill them or destroy their property or their worship places and holy books, what I am trying to make our people understand that we must guard the sanctity of our worship places, the Holy Bible and the whole Christian community.
What we are being taught that is an angry Ã¢â‚¬Å“bullÃ¢â‚¬Â is running towards us, we must stay there and let it over run us or kill us. We must always Ã¢â‚¬Å“give inÃ¢â‚¬Â under any circumstances no matter what. Let an Ã¢â‚¬Å“angry mobÃ¢â‚¬Â burn our churches and worship places, desecrate the Holy Bible, burn or destroy our homes and we should watch it silently? This is against very nature of the teaching of Scriptures. We must fight back, not to kill or injure any one but for Ã¢â‚¬Å“self-preservationÃ¢â‚¬Â that includes our selves, our family, our homes and as a Ã¢â‚¬Å“Duty FullÃ¢â‚¬Â Christian, our worship places and churches and safe guard the sanctity of the Church and the Holy Bible.
Our Lord Jesus Christ commanded, Ã¢â‚¬Å“Then said He unto them, "But now, he that hath a purse, let him take it and likewise his pack; and he that hath no sword, let him sell his garment and buy oneÃ¢â‚¬Â. (Luke 22 Verse 36) And they said, "Lord, behold, here are two swords." And He said unto them, "It is enough." (Luke 22 Verse 38) Some say that these Ã¢â‚¬Å“two swordsÃ¢â‚¬Â are the sword of the Holy Spirit that Lord Jesus Christ is talking about. I strongly disagree with this interpretation of these verses. The Weapons of Ã¢â‚¬Å“Spiritual WarÃ¢â‚¬Â are not just Ã¢â‚¬Å“Two SwordsÃ¢â‚¬Â there is a long list of Ã¢â‚¬Å“Spiritual WeaponryÃ¢â‚¬Â. Please see Ephesians Chapter 6 Verses 10 to 17. I donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t agree that we are altogether obligated by the Holy Bible teaches us to face what we are facing in Pakistan in its very spirit. In February 1997 when Muslim mob attacked Ã¢â‚¬Å“Shanti NagarÃ¢â‚¬Â a predominant Christian village, the local Police advised the residents of Ã¢â‚¬Å“Shanti NagarÃ¢â‚¬Â to evacuate their homes and let the mob burn few houses and church so their anger is consumed by the flame of fire of Ã¢â‚¬Å“few houses and churchÃ¢â‚¬Â. In this situation, the Police should have dispersed the Ã¢â‚¬Å“Attacking mobÃ¢â‚¬Â yet it did not. If there was not enough Police, they could ask for re-enforcement. But the local Police was part of the Ã¢â‚¬Å“conspiracyÃ¢â‚¬Â against Christians, that encouraged the Ã¢â‚¬Å“Muslim MobÃ¢â‚¬Â of surrounding villages and cities. The Christian community had enough Ã¢â‚¬Å“swordsÃ¢â‚¬Â or Weapons to implement Ã¢â‚¬Å“law of self preservationÃ¢â‚¬Â and Ã¢â‚¬Å“law of self defenseÃ¢â‚¬Â. Yet the village was evacuated, the Ã¢â‚¬Å“angry mobÃ¢â‚¬Â came and burnt every house and all belongings of Christians. They even cut the Ã¢â‚¬Å“fruit treesÃ¢â‚¬Â and worst of all they burnt the Churches and the Holy Bibles. They were finally saved by a Ã¢â‚¬Å“PlatoonÃ¢â‚¬Â commanded by a Captain that was coming back from a routine exercise. Militarily speaking, Christians could stop and disperse the Ã¢â‚¬Å“attacking mobÃ¢â‚¬Â had they taken positions on top of the roofs and fired a few Ã¢â‚¬Å“shotsÃ¢â‚¬Â (bullets) at the Ã¢â‚¬Å“mobÃ¢â‚¬Â. The Christians were at a vintage point, well defended and fortified on roof tops and behind the walls, while the Ã¢â‚¬Å“mobÃ¢â‚¬Â was in open in clear Ã¢â‚¬Å“field of fireÃ¢â‚¬Â But they let the Ã¢â‚¬Å“House of GodÃ¢â‚¬Â at the mercy of the enemies of God and suffered heavy losses. The same situation was building up in Ã¢â‚¬Å“Sangla HillÃ¢â‚¬Â on Friday the 11th of November 2005. The Police was aware of the Ã¢â‚¬Å“conspiracyÃ¢â‚¬Â that had been going on for some time. The Christian community as usual made a Ã¢â‚¬Å“great escapeÃ¢â‚¬Â again leaving their own houses and Ã¢â‚¬Å“House of GodÃ¢â‚¬Â at the mercy of the ever angry Ã¢â‚¬Å“Islamic FanaticsÃ¢â‚¬Â. Knowing what is going to happen on Saturday the 12th of November 2005, having not been taught of the Ã¢â‚¬Å“law of self-preservation and self defenseÃ¢â‚¬Â the Christians fled, leaving their house and churches at the mercy of Ã¢â‚¬Å“Islamic FanaticsÃ¢â‚¬Â. The result was the same. Primary targets were the Churches, Christian Schools and Hostels, along with the houses of brothers of Youisaf Masih who allegedly set an Islamic Library (Quran Mahal) on fire by throwing a burning Ã¢â‚¬Å“MatchstickÃ¢â‚¬Â. What a joke, a casually thrown burning matchstick was so big that the Islamic Library caught fire and was burnt to ashes. The Islamic fanatics needed an excuse to burn churches, therefore the story was concocted. I my opinion the Islamic Library was burnt by the Ã¢â‚¬Å“conspiratorsÃ¢â‚¬Â after removing copies of Quran and other Islamic books. The plane to attack the churches was finalized on night 11th 12th November 2005 and was executed on 12th November. The Christian community knew what was coming on 12th November, yet once again they fled. I donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t believe that Christians were un-armed. Had they taken Ã¢â‚¬Å“positionÃ¢â‚¬Â to defend the churches and schools, they could repulse the attack.
We the Christians of Pakistan very well know that these acts of Ã¢â‚¬Å“terrorismÃ¢â‚¬Â are done with full support of Police, which comes a little too late and only resort to light Ã¢â‚¬Å“baton charge and tear gasÃ¢â‚¬Â. Arrests are made, action against few Police Officers is taken, and the government promises to rebuild the burnt Churches.
The situation for Christians in Pakistan is very serious and dangerous for the following Facts.
Christians are the most hated segment of Islamic Society of Pakistan, in that;
1. They are hated not only by the extremists, they face hate from almost all Muslims of Pakistan especially in the Province of Punjab.
2. The attitude of Police towards Christians also extremely hateful.
3. The Local, Provincial and Federal governments knowingly ignore the Ã¢â‚¬Å“hate tradersÃ¢â‚¬Â. They just pretend to Ã¢â‚¬Âwipe the tearsÃ¢â‚¬Â of Christian community. Had the government given exemplary punishment to the Ã¢â‚¬Å“ConspiratorsÃ¢â‚¬Â, the situation would have been different.
In this situation I donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t see any other solution of the problem from any government department. Therefore I as a Bishop advise the Christian community of Pakistan to take appropriate measures to avoid Ã¢â‚¬Å“Shanti Nagar and Sangla HillÃ¢â‚¬Â situation.
1. In that personal weapons must be kept by Priests and Heads of all Christian Institutions. Common Christians must also arm them with some weapon, (though there are already enough weapons in Christian settlements).
2. A high standard of vigilance must be kept.
3. Do not and I repeat do not harm any one.
4. Do not attack any person or place.
5. Do not take revenge.
6. Do not hesitate to fight back when attacked by Ã¢â‚¬Å“Muslim MobsÃ¢â‚¬Â. In that give warning to the mob that attacks you. If they turn back, you have achieved your goal of Ã¢â‚¬Å“self-preservationÃ¢â‚¬Â. If they do not stop and you feel that you, your family, your property, the churches and your institutions are in extreme, fire at the mob and keep firing Ã¢â‚¬Å“single roundsÃ¢â‚¬Â till the mob turns back. Once you are able to repulse such attack, the conspirators will think many times before attacking you.
This is the very meaning of what our Lord Jesus Christ commanded in Luke Chapter 22 verses 36 and 38. A Christian need not be taken away by those who teach not to defend your self. Self-Preservation is a Providential command. And right of self defense is your civil right given to you under Pakistan Law.
Lord Jesus Christ has commanded you, Ã¢â‚¬Å“And he that hath no sword, let him sell his garment, and buy oneÃ¢â‚¬Â. (Luke 22:36) Ã¢â‚¬Å“And they said, Lord, behold, here are two swords. And he said unto them, It is enoughÃ¢â‚¬Â (Luke 2:38)
May the Lord give you courage to defend yourself, your families, your property and most important defend your churches and institutions.
May the Lord bless you.