Tough Guys

Confession: this is a reactionary post. I am thinking out loud here... I have grown weary of "tough guy" Christians. Lately I have been hearing and reading tough-guy approaches to life in America that simply do not reflect the attitude and actions of Jesus. Men are writing glibly about their right to kill someone in the name of protection or justice. Don't misunderstand me. I believe a country needs an active military, that war is sometimes necessary, and that self-defense and the protection of the innocent sometimes demands the use of force. I believe the Constitution allows American citizens to bear arms. In fact, a rifle is resting 10 feet away from where I am sitting at this very moment.

What is bothering me is how some Christians seem to be war-happy, endorsing any war our country is involved in as "just." I am troubled by the visceral response to evil and violence with vengeance while calling it justice. At this moment, I am frustrated with the Dirty Harry attitude toward violence.

One famous blogger recently said that were he to see Osama Bin Laden at the store he would try to kill him. It would be funny to me if I didn't think he meant it. It is sad that even in a ridiculously hypothetical situation killing is the course of action for this Christian. Where does this casual, swaggering, tough-guy verbiage come from? Certainly not from Jesus.

I wonder if these guys talk tough because they have never really been a part of violence. The men I know who were formerly violent do not glory in it. The men I know who were formerly real "tough guys," don't have an interest in being one any more. Men I know who have killed do not speak or write of it lightly. It is no joke. Killing is an awful thing, even when it is done for the right reasons.

I am guessing, and I could be wrong, that were some of these "Christian" tough guys in a situation that actually required violence or force they would wet themselves. All the talk and the provocative blogs aside, I doubt most would do what they claim. I also wonder if we don't confuse constitutional rights with Biblical mandates. I wonder, I am not sure, if we synthesize what our Country allows us to do with what God desires of us. This much I am certain of. The tough guy attitude has got to go. It is not humble or thoughtful. It is arrogant and presumptuous.

It seems preferable for the Christian to make peace, and when making peace must come at the cost of violence, that sobriety and humility be its character. That should at least be the tone of our conversation.