Because Of Who I Am

Stanley Hauerwas is America’s most notable theologian on the topic of Christian non-violence.  When explaining why he believes in non-violence he’s known for giving the simple response ”I’m a pacifist because I’m a violent son of a bitch.”

I don’t particularly care for his choice of words but I’m a big fan of his honesty.  His brief explanation gets directly to one of the most convincing (at least for me) reasons I, a follower of Christ, must embrace non-violence: I am, by nature, violent.

I am sinful so I must embrace virtue.

To be more specific…

I lust after women who are not my wife, so I must embrace monogamy.

I covet your cell phone and your neighborhood and your jeans, so I must embrace simplicity.

I lie to get a laugh or make my life easier, so I must embrace honesty.

I think I’m smarter than you, so I must embrace humility.

I need to be in control, so I must embrace submission.

I’m a loner, so I must embrace community.

I want to ruin your name, so I must embrace forgiveness.

I want to be served, so I must embrace service.

And I want to harm when I’m harmed, so I must embrace non-violence.

The sinful nature of mankind is often cited in arguments against Christian non-violence.  Violence, it’s said, is sometimes necessary to slow or even stop sin’s march across the world.

Mankind’s nature?  What about my own?

Non-violence stops my sinful nature’s march from within me into the world.  Into your world.

I’m a pacifist because I know who I really am.


In memory of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., who battled evil with good and won.