Saturday, January 5, 2013

A Christian's Response to Mass Shootings

The past few months, and even over the past several years, we have had to confront ugly, painful incidents of gun violence.  As is to be expected, this type of tragedy brings out deep emotions in everyone.  The recent tragedy at Newtown is an incredibly heartbreaking one.  I’m left with more questions than answers, even though I’m not directly involved in the incident.

Since many of my friends know my stance on the Second Amendment, many have asked for my opinion, as both a firearms enthusiast, and a Christian.  They want to know, “How do you, as a Christian, address this?”

Well, I recognize that not all readers of this blog are Christians.  In that case, this post may not be of much use to you.  However, for those who are, also understand that I don’t claim to speak for all Christians, nor do I claim to speak for all Christian gun owners, but, here’s what has been going through my mind.

  1. Life is a very fragile gift.  A good morning kiss on the way out could very well be a good-bye kiss.  It happened for thousands on September 11, 2001, it happens to thousands every day.  Make your peace and make every moment count.
Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit” yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes.  James 4:13-14

  1. Crime and tragedy fall on the just and the unjust.  We cannot assume that just because we live a good, honest life, we will be protected from harm.  We are not of this world.  We are not promised a comfortable life here, and I fear that our familiarity with this world leads us to believe we are entitled to that safety and comfort. This will not be the last tragedy.  This will not be the last mass shooting, this will not be the last time we are forced to confront the evil side of this world.
There were some present at that very time who told him about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices. And he answered them, “Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans, because they suffered in this way? No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish. Or those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them: do you think that they were worse offenders than all the others who lived in Jerusalem? No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.”
Luke 13:1-5

  1. We cannot assume that we will arrive at the end of the day in peace, though we may have started the day that way.
The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?  Jeremiah 17:9

And Jesus said to him, “Why do you call me good? No one is good except God alone.  Mark 10:18

Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. 1 Peter 5:8

  1. We cannot rely on the government for our safety.  To do so ignores the fact that there is evil in this world.  As we know, there are laws against drunk driving, yet drunks still kill.  There are laws against illegal drugs, yet people still make and buy them.  There are laws against rape, murder, kidnapping, arson, etc…,yet those crimes are still committed.  To believe that the answer lies in yet another law or stricter controls ignores the fact that each person is responsible for their own soul.  No law will ever make man righteous.  That was the whole idea behind Jesus’s death on the cross.  If man, through his laws, schemes, and intelligence, could have made himself righteous, the cross would not have been necessary.  Instead, the cross became necessary because … all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God…” (Romans 3:23).  The idea that Congress, can, by words, do what Jesus says only His blood can do, cheapens the sacrifice on the cross and makes us believe that we can legislate peace, good, and righteousness. 
Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the LORD our God.  Psalm 20:7

And note, this verse does not mean that horses and chariots were evil or needed to be banned.  Those things were necessary.   The evil did not arise from owning these things, but rather in placing all their trust in those things.

  1. Let’s not lose focus on what is the actual battle.  The devil would rather we spin our wheels asking for stricter gun controls, or placing greater reliance on the government to protect us. That way, we can ignore our fallen nature and escape the realization that salvation only comes from God, through His Son Jesus Christ.  It is, after all, easier to place the burden on someone else (“they" should pass stricter gun laws), than deal with ourselves (Is my life pleasing God right now, and is my soul ready?).  If we are relying on other to bring the peace, we need not obey the true source.
From that day on, half of my servants worked on construction, and half held the spears, shields, bows, and coats of mail. And the leaders stood behind the whole house of Judah, who were building on the wall. Those who carried burdens were loaded in such a way that each labored on the work with one hand and held his weapon with the other. And each of the builders had his sword strapped at his side while he built. The man who sounded the trumpet was beside me. And I said to the nobles and to the officials and to the rest of the people, “The work is great and widely spread, and we are separated on the wall, far from one another. In the place where you hear the sound of the trumpet, rally to us there. Our God will fight for us.” Nehemiah 4:15-20

More reliance on government is not the answer.  Just because "someone" must "do something" does not mean that the "something" they do is the best thing to be done. Rather than agree to give the government more power, let's pray for our neighbors, our teachers, our leaders, and our children, that they may know the true transformation that comes from Jesus Christ.  Then, and only then, "He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”  Revelation 21:4.


Graybeard said...

Excellent piece.

The problem is in not in a few pounds of steel and plastic it's in the hearts of the murderers. It's a sin problem.

And in a society that has been so completely misled about the nature of good and evil, that explanation will never be accepted.

ShallNotBeInfringed said...

Thank you so much! It is so refreshing to hear words form someone with intelligence; a clear voice above the din of idiocy that is government reliance.