Click here to go to our Youtube Channel

How should we respond when being verbally or physically attacked?

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
September 22nd, 2014 | Filed Under: Author, Defense, Mitch Kuhn, Q and A0 Comments | Author:

Hi L________,

Thank you for this question. I always learn so much from researching the answers in scripture.

Say for instance someone that you know is being accosted – you know the person being accosted, they’re not a friend, but you respect them – what do you think Jesus would do in a situation like that?

This is a difficult question because our natural instincts and desires are completely contrary to the example that Christ gives us.

Christ tells us that however we want to be treated, we should do the same to others.

(Luk 6:31 NKJV) And just as you want men to do to you, you also do to them likewise.

(Mat 22:39 NKJV) And the second is like it: ‘YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.’

So let’s look at how Christ treated himself and how he responded to violence being done against him.

(Isa 53:7 NKJV) He was oppressed and He was afflicted, Yet He opened not His mouth; He was led as a lamb to the slaughter, And as a sheep before its shearers is silent, So He opened not His mouth.

He did not even open his mouth when being oppressed and afflicted, and certainly did not resist in any physical way.

When Peter tried to defend Christ he was rebuked sharply.

(Mat 26:51 NKJV) And suddenly, one of those who were with Jesus stretched out his hand and drew his sword, struck the servant of the high priest, and cut off his ear.
(Mat 26:52 NKJV) But Jesus said to him, “Put your sword in its place, for all who take the sword will perish by the sword.
(Mat 26:53 NKJV) Or do you think that I cannot now pray to My Father, and He will provide Me with more than twelve legions of angels?
(Mat 26:54 NKJV) How then could the Scriptures be fulfilled, that it must happen thus?”

Christ could have called for legions of angels to stop all that was taking place, but instead he let them take him to the cross.

Christ was obeying the words the Father gave him to speak.

(Mat 5:39 NKJV) But I tell you not to resist an evil person. But whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also.

The only thing we can do when faced with evil is to lay down our life and say, “take me instead”.

(Joh 15:13 NKJV) Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.

Here are a number of articles on this subject if you want to read more:

Please let me know if you need me to further clarify anything for you.


If we are being verbally attacked, then we can certainly speak the truth and rebuke those that are seeking to do us or others harm.
Christ did defend the woman caught in adultery. Sometimes we can reason with those doing evil, and sometimes they will not listen no matter what we say.

(Joh 8:7 NKJV) So when they continued asking Him, He raised Himself up and said to them, “He who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first.”

We also have an example of Paul using the laws of the land to protect himself from a beating.

(Act 22:25 NKJV) And as they bound him with thongs, Paul said to the centurion who stood by, “Is it lawful for you to scourge a man who is a Roman, and uncondemned?”
(Act 22:26 NKJV) When the centurion heard that, he went and told the commander, saying, “Take care what you do, for this man is a Roman.”
(Act 22:27 NKJV) Then the commander came and said to him, “Tell me, are you a Roman?” He said, “Yes.”
(Act 22:28 NKJV) The commander answered, “With a large sum I obtained this citizenship.” And Paul said, “But I was born a citizen.”
(Act 22:29 NKJV) Then immediately those who were about to examine him withdrew from him; and the commander was also afraid after he found out that he was a Roman, and because he had bound him.

The laws of the land are given to us by God and can be used for our benefit. We can certainly call the police and let them do the job that God appointed them to do.

(Rom 13:1 NKJV) Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God.
(Rom 13:2 NKJV) Therefore whoever resists the authority resists the ordinance of God, and those who resist will bring judgment on themselves.
(Rom 13:3 NKJV) For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to evil. Do you want to be unafraid of the authority? Do what is good, and you will have praise from the same.
(Rom 13:4 NKJV) For he is God’s minister to you for good. But if you do evil, be afraid; for he does not bear the sword in vain; for he is God’s minister, an avenger to execute wrath on him who practices evil.

The other thing we can do is run away or hide from evil.

(Pro 22:3 KJV) A prudent man foreseeth the evil, and hideth himself: but the simple pass on, and are punished.

(Luk 4:28 NKJV) So all those in the synagogue, when they heard these things, were filled with wrath,
(Luk 4:29 NKJV) and rose up and thrust Him out of the city; and they led Him to the brow of the hill on which their city was built, that they might throw Him down over the cliff.
(Luk 4:30 NKJV) Then passing through the midst of them, He went His way.

However the line must be drawn at physical violence. Christ did not resist with violence nor did any of his apostles. This is because we have a new command under the New Covenant.

(Mat 5:38 NKJV) “You have heard that it was said, ‘AN EYE FOR AN EYE AND A TOOTH FOR A TOOTH.’
(Mat 5:39 NKJV) But I tell you not to resist an evil person. But whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also.

When Stephen was stoned, he responded exactly as Christ did, “forgive them Father for they know not what they do”.

(Act 7:57 NKJV) Then they cried out with a loud voice, stopped their ears, and ran at him with one accord;
(Act 7:58 NKJV) and they cast him out of the city and stoned him. And the witnesses laid down their clothes at the feet of a young man named Saul.
(Act 7:59 NKJV) And they stoned Stephen as he was calling on God and saying, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.”
(Act 7:60 NKJV) Then he knelt down and cried out with a loud voice, “Lord, do not charge them with this sin.” And when he had said this, he fell asleep.

Once we have tried to flee from evil, and have tried to rebuke those seeking to us or others evil, there is nothing else to be done other than give our life in place of someone else. I understand that this seems crazy to the natural mind, but it is the commands of the scriptures. We have to accept that evil is the will of God to accomplish his plans.

(Heb 10:34 NKJV) for you had compassion on me in my chains, and joyfully accepted the plundering of your goods, knowing that you have a better and an enduring possession for yourselves in heaven.

(Isa 45:7 KJV) I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things.

(Amo 3:6 KJV) Shall a trumpet be blown in the city, and the people not be afraid? shall there be evil in a city, and the LORD hath not done it?

It is very difficult to understand why God causes evil and uses it for good in the end, because it just seems foolish to our natural mind.

(Rom 8:28 KJV) And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.

(1Co 2:14 NKJV) But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.

1Co 1:18 For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.

The message of the Cross is that we must follow in Christ’s footsteps and do what he did.

(1Jn 4:17 NKJV) Love has been perfected among us in this: that we may have boldness in the day of judgment; because as He is, so are we in this world.

It is important to understand that we are the Body of Christ and therefore are a part of accomplishing the salvation of all. This is why we are called to suffer for righteousness sake just as Christ did.

(1Co 6:15 NKJV) Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ? Shall I then take the members of Christ and make them members of a harlot? Certainly not!

(Col 1:24 NKJV) I now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up in my flesh what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ, for the sake of His body, which is the church,
(Col 1:25 NKJV) of which I became a minister according to the stewardship from God which was given to me for you, to fulfill the word of God,

Christ began the work, but he finishes his work through his Body, the Church. This is a very important concept to understand, because it explains why we are called to suffer and not resist evil. Here is a study that covers this in much greater detail.

I hope this is helpful to you,

We Welcome Your Comments