Defending self and family

With the gaining popularity of people obtaining concealed carry permits, I would like to ask WELS' stance on potential lethal use of a weapon. My thoughts are that in Exodus 22:1-3 lethal force can be used if yours or your family's lives are in danger, but not if it is clear the threat is non-life-threatening. In either case, it should only be used as a last resort.

The Hebrew word in the Fifth Commandment (Exodus 20:13 and Deuteronomy 5:17) prohibits murder—the illegal and inappropriate ending of human life—and does not forbid all taking of life. So, for example, governments can rightly implement capital punishment (Romans 13:4) if they so choose.

What about individuals who want to protect themselves and their families, you wonder? Some Christians look to Matthew 5:39 and Romans 12:17 as absolute directives not to resist physical threats. In their context though the verses advocate love toward others instead of seeking revenge.

Others look to sections of Scripture like Proverbs 24:11-12 and Luke 22:35-38 as the basis for defending oneself and one’s family from physical threats.

Protecting our own life (self-defense) could result in the death of another person. That is not murder. Exodus 22:2-3 illustrates the law God gave his people of Israel regarding defending oneself from a thief.