A Christian author once wrote the following, which may be useful to start this answer with:

The question is sometimes asked: “What would you do if you saw someone attacking a member of your family?”

A simple answer to this question is by no means easy. Shield the person attacked? Restrain the attacker, using as little force as possible? It is difficult to know what action one might take in these circumstances. But the Bible says very comfortingly: “God . . . will not let you be tempted beyond your strength.” (1 Corinthians 10: 13.)1

Currently, God has asked followers of his son to refrain from killing other people. The following passages directly refer to this, or necessarily imply it:

You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ {39} But I say to you, Do not resist the one who is evil. But if anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. (Mat. 5:38-39)

You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love, your enemies and pray for those who persecute you (Mat. 5:43-44)

…one of those who were with Jesus stretched out his hand and drew his sword and struck the servant of the high priest and cut off his ear. {52} Then Jesus said to him, “Put your sword back into its place. For all who take the sword will perish by the sword. (Mat. 26:51-52)
Do your part to live in peace with everyone, as much as possible. (Rom. 12:18, NLT)

…the fruit of the Spirit is … gentleness (Gal. 5:22-23)

Pursue … gentleness (1Tim. 6:11)

Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord. (Heb. 12:14)

So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them… (Mat. 7:12)

There isn’t an allowance for killing people, even if it saves other people’s lives. The example in Mat. 26:51-52, from the Lord Jesus’ own life, is perhaps particularly instructive: here someone attempts to kill a violent person in order to protect another person, the Lord Jesus; Jesus stops this, though, and even heals the violent person (Luke 22:52).

We are asked to trust God in situations like this, knowing that he is wise and will do the right thing, whatever that might be (Mat. 26:53; Rom. 12:19; 1Cor. 10:13).



1. Peter Watkins, War and Politics: the Christian’s duty (pub: Christadelphian Bible Mission). Available to download here (.doc).

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