A tragedy occurred again last week. Yet another mass shooting, yet another group of lives lost way too soon. Over the past week, I’ve seen and heard lots of opinions about the solution. The REAL tragedy is yet again, we Christians have had the wrong response. If I write this post correctly, I’m sure I will offend all of my friends, and most likely you as well. But what I pray is that you read to the end and hear the true message of this post, not the “talking points” that you’re ready to fight against. Let me start by asking you the question…If you got your way, would the real problem be solved?
The arguments usually go something like this:
Second Amendment Supporters – Guns don’t kill people, people kill people. I have the right to bear arms and that includes any and all arms. 25 years ago we had trucks with gun racks full of loaded guns on school campuses with no mass murders, so the problem is the people today, not the guns. We need to arm teachers so they can really defend our children. We need to address the mental illnesses of the bad people who commit such horrible crimes.
Supporters Of Banning Guns– How many more murders have to happen before we finally do something that should have been done a long time ago? We need to ban all “assault weapons” now. No more senseless murders. We need to have politicians who aren’t beholden to the NRA. If they hadn’t been bought and paid for, they would actually do something.
The thing is, both are right. People are the ones who use the weapons. Yes, I even remember gun racks with loaded guns in high school. I’m also a public school teacher, and even though it scares me to death, I’d volunteer to be trained and have the responsibility of carrying a gun to defend my students and colleagues. There hasn’t been nearly enough attention paid to the mental illnesses that contribute so greatly to these murders. The term “assault weapon/rifle” is a made-up term used by those who want them banned.
Some guns should not be made available to the general public. There is no good reason to make weapons that shoot as many rounds as quickly as a semi-automatic weapon available to most of the population (i.e.- the AR-15). But, they are available and there shouldn’t be an issue with anyone owning one legally until its not legal anymore. There is even less reason to allow “bump stocks” or other modifications to turn these weapons into fully automatic weapons.
And finally, evil exists and the people committing these horrible crimes have been corrupted by evil.
The problem of murder dates all the way back to Genesis 3 when Adam and Eve decided to rebel against God. Because of Adam, death entered the world, and not long after one of his two sons killed the other. Cain (the killer) had most of the same issues that todays killers have. And the one thing I’m certain of is he was affected by the evil that entered the world when his father rebelled against God. Today these killers also affected and corrupted by evil. Their selfish desires, whatever they may be, swell and consume them until they lash out in the most horrific of ways.
But again, remember my question…If you got your way, would the real problem be solved? I say no. No, you can’t solve this problem with more gun control, and you can’t solve it with more freedom to own whatever gun you please. You can’t solve it by putting guns in the hands of teachers, and you can’t solve it by mental health screenings. None of these solve the problem of evil. I just watched this video of a grieving father, Andrew Pollack, who lost his daughter to the massacre. He wants the problem solved, as do educators, parents, community leaders, and pretty much anyone I can think of to name.
As much as all of us would like to say yes, getting our way would solve the problem, we simply don’t have it in us to defeat evil…BUT GOD DOES. The only real problem with that is God wants to use His children, those of us who call ourselves Christians, to fight evil. The way evil is defeated is by the fierce love of our Father. He loves us so intensely He sent His Son, Jesus, to defeat evil in our lives and repair our relationship with Him. The answer to the “gun problem,” “murder problem,” “mass killing problem,” “insert your problem here problem” is Jesus. But, we’re supposed to be the ones taking that message of love and hope to the world.
Let me ask you a question I didn’t like answering for myself. Do your conversations, political rants, social media posts and the like leave you the option of giving the hope and love of Jesus to those who desperately need it? Its in no way wrong for you to hold your political views. Its in no way wrong for you to endorse a candidate. Its in no way wrong for you to speak truth in love. But will the words of your mouth and your social media page win anyone to Christ? The real problem is sin and evil, and some in this debate even call attention to that. But, I have yet to see my social media feeds (which include people I love dearly on both “sides” of the argument) filled with people who are stepping away from the rhetoric and giving Jesus to people who are hurting and scared.
When our first response in a time of mourning is, “Gun control!” or when our first response in a time of mourning is, “You’ll have to pry my gun from my cold dead fingers!” then we’ve completely missed our opportunity. Paul taught us to, “Be happy with those who are happy, and weep with those who weep” (Romans 12:15, NLT). There is a time and place for a conversation about guns and laws, but this week wasn’t it. This week we should have joined this poor father, and an entire community as they mourned the loss of people they loved.
One of the greatest lessons I’ve learned on the journey is a lesson I picked up from my dad (he’s a pastor too). At funeral services, he’d always say, “God made two decisions on (fill in the date). One was to take (fill in the name) home to be with Him, the other was to leave you here. Figure out why He left you here.” So for this part of your journey, God made two decisions on Valentine’s Day 2018. One was to allow 17 lives to be taken, the other was to leave you here. Figure out why He left you here!
There are only two options, 1- He wanted you to have another chance to know Him, 2- He wanted you to be an agent of love and hope. If you were option one, please contact me by clicking here. If you were option two, I pray you find this tragedy as an opportunity to address the real problem, sin and evil, rather than choosing sides. Its a tough, but necessary lesson for the journey…