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Should Christian Men Use Physical Force To Defend Their Wives?

March 28, 2022

The internet is in an absolute uproar after Will Smith slapped Chris Rock in the face on the stage at the Oscars. The comedian took a shot at Smith’s wife, saying “Jada, I love ya, GI Jane 2, can’t wait to see it” referencing the actress’s bald head, which she has from an autoimmune disorder known as alopecia:

Shortly after the incident, Smith won the Best Actor award for his role in “King Richard”, where he seemingly addressed the incident saying “love will make you do crazy things”

The big question everyone seems to be wrestling over is whether or not it was right for Will Smith to get up on stage and slap Rock for the joke made at his wife about what may be an insecurity for her.

Before I get into this, I want to say that I am looking into the specific scenario of whether a man should use physical force to defend his wife against jokes or verbal attacks. If your spouse is in physical danger, I believe every spouse should step in to save and protect them from harm.

That being said, the first thing we need to look at is what is expected of us in a marriage. In a biblical definition, when married, two entities become one, so it’s important to fight for, and defend each other fully as a team. That means if someone is making fun of your spouse, or spitting verbal attacks at them, we should absolutely stick up for them and defend them.

When it comes to physical violence is where it gets more controversial. There are a lot of Christian men out there who love to flex their muscle and say things to the effect of “Mess with my wife and you’re messing with me”, giving off veiled physical threats to those around them, but is this Biblical?

If we truly think of a marriage as a unity of two becoming one, then any insult to your spouse is also an insult to you, personally, so it’s important to see what the Bible says about how we should defend ourselves against similar attacks.

Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult, but with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing

1 Peter 3:9

While this verse in context is actually talking about how spouses should communicate with each other, I believe it can also be applied to those who are affecting a marriage from the outside as well. If someone is hurling insults at your spouse, it is absolutely correct and Biblical to hold them accountable on their hurtful actions, let them know that they’re causing harm. However, to meet a verbal attack with a physical attack is the literal representation of “repaying evil for evil” and “insult with insult”, which we are called NOT to do.

Is there any case where physical force would be justified? One interesting thing that has been pointed out to me is that the disciples who followed Jesus carried swords. In the Garden of Gethsemane, the disciples had swords just in case they needed to be used for the protection of Jesus. This shows us that while we are called to be peacemakers, Jesus understands that there are sinful people in the world who will use violence in selfish, hurtful ways, and that we may situationally have the necessity to protect ourselves from physical harm.

However, one point should rule above the rest when looking for how to react in any stressful situation: In the book of Matthew, Jesus Himself says “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God” in the same breath that says blessed are the meek, pure in heart, merciful, and those who hunger for righteousness.

In striving to be like Christ, we are called to be peacemakers. Our goal in any interaction should be peace, not harm.

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