Q. I am currently taking a course in self defense. Unfortunately this has set up a conflict in my mind regarding the violence required in some situations (some to protect others) and what I understand to be the teachings of Christ. Give me some guidance here regarding these matters.
A. I think you’ve been subjected to some incorrect teaching. There’s nothing in the Lord’s teaching that forbids defending oneself or those we’ve sworn to protect.
When Jesus said to turn the other cheek in Matt. 5:39 He was in the middle of a passage explaining the kind of behavior it would take to earn one’s own way into the Kingdom. These were not instructions for everyday living as some have been taught, but a way to become perfect as our Father in Heaven is perfect (Matt. 5:48).
And when Jesus told Peter to put his sword away because all who draw the sword will die by the sword (Matt. 26:52) He was warning Peter that he was about to single handedly take on an entire contingent of trained professional solders and would surely be killed.