So I have debated about whether to write anything on this topic, but perhaps it’s the pastor in me, but I can no longer remain silent when reading various comments online whether in response to news articles or social media. I’ll do my best to not belabor the point here.
It’s time to greater gun control in our country. Please be clear here. I’m in favor of gun CONTROL not an entire gun BAN. Exactly how far this should go is still something I’m working out, but I’m all for the examination of the idea and a ban on assault rifles, of which the only purpose is to kill many lives as quick as possible. I’ve always felt this way, but even more so considering the recent tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut. I’m not going to quote stats because so many studies have been done and manipulated on both sides of this debate, very few find stats compelling. I’m not going to quote the Constitution because it inadequately defines whether the “right to bear arms” indicates ALL arms. Also, the exact nature of the introductory comment of a “well-regulated militia” is additionally unclear and used on both sides of this debate. Instead, I propose for your consideration two points of reason that I have been dwelling on as of late. These admittedly come from my worldview as a Christian.
First, many opponents to gun control say it would not keep events like this from happening. To them, I agree completely. Gun control laws won’t keep these things from ever happening again. That’s correct. However, it may keep SOME of them from happening. If new laws make it more difficult that any one considering such a massacre would have to find illegal means of getting the weapons needed, that MAY discourage SOME from doing such acts.
We applaud these types of laws in other areas of our lives. We set speed limits, which work for SOME, but not all. We set drinking ages, which preclude SOME, but not ALL those underage from drinking. I know these are not nearly as important examples as gun control, but that makes the restrictions all the more important. If perhaps, new laws keep just 1, just ONE tragedy from occurring, isn’t that worth it? All that is in me and all I have learned about the kind of God we have answers, YES! No, it won’t keep them from happening at all, but it may, JUST MAY, keep SOME from happening, and that’s a chance worth taking.
I keep going back to saying of Andy Stanley’s, “Do what you can for what you can’t do for all.” I’m paraphrasing there, but you get the point. We can’t do everything for all people in all places, but we can do some things for some people. It’s important to do those things. God has done that for us. In a week, we celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ. God’s own Son sent to do a huge thing in hopes that SOME might be reconciled, redeemed, and restored to Him. Frankly, if it’s good enough for God to take that kind of chance with the life of His own Son, then it’s good enough for me.
The second reason I’d like you to consider is the chief message of the season in which we will soon celebrate: Christmas. We have and will continue to hear this phrase over the remaining days of the year, “Peace on Earth.” It’s in carols, we’ll hear it read in Luke 2 on Christmas Eve, “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.” Peace. It is one of the great messages of Jesus’ ministry. Jesus desired to give inward peace in John 14:27, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.” He continued in John 16:33, “I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” He even greeted the disciples in the upper room after his resurrection with, “Peace be with you.”
However, the verse that is probably the most applicable here is from Matthew 5:9, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.” Among the most disturbing things I have read over recent days are Christians who are advocating for MORE weapons. Look, I’m all for having police officers in schools, but to have teachers and other civilians take arms is too far. Beyond that, it is increasingly disturbing to see Christians on the front lines in favor of MORE guns, to see them post pictures of weapons and sayings that clearly indicate valuing weapons above the desires of God and Christ.
I’m not talking about wartime, which is a completely different discussion. We are talking about people showing attitudes that clearly indicate they WORSHIP their guns. Again, what proponents are asking for is not a gun BAN, but gun CONTROL. In many ways, I get a picture of someone with a cross necklace, a Bible in one hand, and an assault rifle in another hand. Is this the picture God has for us? Is this what Jesus is calling us to be? Is this the kind of “peacemaker” Jesus was talking about? (Pun intended). I don’t think so.
As Christians God calls us to 1 primary thing, 1 primary attitude, 1 primary feeling: LOVE. We are to love God and love others. At its basic nature, a gun is a message in the opposite direction. I would ask all Christians to please consider, if we are to live out God’s call to love, can that be done with a gun in your hand? I truly don’t see how. For those of you saying, “Guns can save lives, too.” Yes, they can. However, I question whether that is the way God wants us to save lives. I question how earnestly we can truly spread the Good News of Christ’s love with a gun as our tool.