God hates certain kinds of people. Among those are people who love violence (Ps. 11:5). In fact, God once destroyed the world because it was full of violence (Gen. 6:11-13).
While most Christians rightly reject pacifism, we should remember that violence always comes with a cost. Scripture clearly indicates that some instances of violence are necessary. On certain occasions, God Himself commanded the destruction of both property and life (1 Sam. 15:1-3). On occasion, God pronounced judgment over someone’s failure to destroy property and people according to His command (1 Sam. 15:10-23). A righteous person may even discover a kind of joy in the skillful prosecution of justified violence (2 Sam. 22:35; Ps. 144:1). Even when it is justified, however, violence alters the way that God perceives people who employ it, even to the point of restricting their freedom to serve Him (1 Chr. 22:7-8, 28:2-3).
Consequently, Christians who live in violent times and places are forced to confront an unfortunate dilemma. On the one hand, sometimes violence can be contained only by opposing it with violence. Most Christians have argued that the state may rightly employ violence in response to crime, most have supported some form of just-war theory, and most have accepted that self defense is a right or even a duty. To cite only one example, the Westminster Larger Catechism, commenting on the Sixth Commandment, prescribes the duty to “preserve the life of ourselves and others by…just defense thereof against violence….” While it recognizes that the commandment forbids all taking of life, it makes exception “in case of public justice, lawful war, or necessary defense,” and it forbids “neglecting or withdrawing the lawful and necessary means of preservation of life,” which would include weapons necessary for public justice, just war, and self defense. read more