Questions From Readers
Can a Christian maintain a good conscience if he accepts employment that involves being armed?
Jehovah’s Witnesses the world over take seriously their God-given responsibility to provide materially for their families. (1 Timothy 5:8) However, certain forms of employment are in clear violation of Bible principles and should be avoided. These include employment connected with gambling, the misuse of blood, and the promoting of tobacco products. (Isaiah 65:11; Acts 15:29; 2 Corinthians 7:1; Colossians 3:5) Other types of work, though not directly condemned in the Bible, could violate one’s conscience or the conscience of others.
Engaging in secular work that requires carrying a firearm or another weapon is a personal decision. However, armed employment exposes one to the possibility of becoming bloodguilty if called upon to use one’s weapon. Hence, a Christian needs to consider prayerfully whether he is willing to accept the burden of making a snap decision where human life is involved. Carrying a weapon also exposes a person to the danger of injury or death from an attack or reprisal.
Others may be affected by one’s decision as well. For instance, a Christian’s primary responsibility is preaching the good news of God’s Kingdom. (Matthew 24:14) Would it be possible to teach others to “be peaceable with all men,” while at the same time earning a living by carrying a weapon? (Romans 12:18) What about children or other family members? Would having a handgun in the house put their lives in danger? Moreover, could others be stumbled by one’s stand on the matter?—Philippians 1:10.
In these “last days,” more and more people are “fierce, without love of goodness.” (2 Timothy 3:1, 3) Knowing this, could a person remain “free from accusation” were he to choose armed employment that might bring him into conflict with such individuals? (1 Timothy 3:10) Hardly. For this reason, the congregation would not regard such a person as “irreprehensible” if he continued to carry a weapon after being kindly given Bible counsel. (1 Timothy 3:2; Titus 1:5, 6) Thus, such a man or woman would not qualify for any special privileges in the congregation.
Jesus assured his disciples that if they put Kingdom interests first in their lives, they need not be overly concerned about having the necessities of life. (Matthew 6:25, 33) Indeed, if we place our full trust in Jehovah, “he himself will sustain [us]. Never will he allow the righteous one to totter.”—Psalm 55:22.