(Disclaimer: I am NOT a member of the NRA)
Tragedy–“an event causing great suffering, destruction, and distress”. The past 2 weeks we have seen this definition of tragedy intensified to the nth degree. My heart aches for all of the victims, friends and communities. And the rallying cry of our culture is to fix it so it won’t happen again, or at the very least, make it more difficult to happen again. On this we can all agree. I am tired of seeing these tragedies happening over and over. And please, do not forget that these tragedies happen every day in other places. Last weekend there were 7 killed and 46 injured in Chicago, alone. The cause of these tragedies has a label: “gun violence”. So, what is the “solution”?
Let’s use our imaginations right now and not hold them back. Let’s imagine for a season that suddenly all lawmakers agree 100% to pass every proposed law that is believed would limit, even eliminate the next tragedy from happening. Not a single dissenting vote. I know, some of you are thinking that this is fantasy not imagination. Just humor me, OK?
Imagine that those on the left, who for decades have insisted you cannot legislate morality, change their minds and say, “Yes! We can legislate morality! We’re so sorry we said you couldn’t.” And imagine those on the right saying, “You know, we never saw gun control as a morality issue, and we’re sorry for that.” So, the left, the right, and the middle vote unanimously in favor of those laws. The POTUS signs the bills. Imagine now how different our culture will be because of the legislation.
That very evening, sporting good business, gun dealers, ALL immediately take the banned guns off the shelves and walls. The new background check system is implemented that night. Coders and programmers work diligently throughout the night to make it happen. The very next morning, it is a new dawn and a new day. There are no banned guns anywhere. All people line up at local law enforcement agencies and turn in all banned guns. This senseless “gun violence” is a thing of the past. After all, this is the purpose of all that new legislation. Right? Few, if any tragedies to read about, right?
This “solution” is based upon the premise that the presence of such guns is the true “cause” of these horrible tragedies. Eliminate this “cause” and these types of tragedies will cease to be so prevalent. Thus, we see the word: Gun Violence.
While this “Solution” seems to be logical, it leaves out one element; an overlooked component of these recent tragedies. A man from long ago, noted for his wisdom, describes the missing component this way:
This is the evil in everything that happens under the sun: The same destiny overtakes all. The hearts of people, moreover, are full of evil and there is madness in their hearts while they live, and afterward they join the dead.Ecclesiastes 9:3 (NIV) (emphasis mine)
The Supposition Of This Legislative Solution is elimination of the object equates elimination of the tragedy. The real cause of these recent (and all other) tragedies is what lies not on the shelves, but in the heart. The prophet Jeremiah, sharing what God revealed to him put it this way:
The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?Jeremiah 17:9 (NIV)
The Wisdom from Heaven embodied in Jesus, gets us to the crux of this matter when He said:
20 He went on: “What comes out of a person is what defiles them. 21 For it is from within, out of a person’s heart, that evil thoughts come—sexual immorality, theft, murder, 22 adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly. 23 All these evils come from inside and defile a person.”Mark 7:20-23 (NIV)
If Jesus had waited until our current culture to arrive in human form, he would have put it this way: “Look, it’s not what’s on the shelves that is hurting everyone. It is all that stuff, that evil stuff that is coming from the heart that’s the source and cause of what is happening. These kinds of evil tragedies come out of the heart, not the store.”
Out of the evil in the heart of Santino William Legan, he would have found another way. The evil in Patrick Crusius’s heart would have led him to another way. Even Connor Betts would have found a different way. And of the 53 casualties in Chicago last weekend, I doubt any of the guns used were purchased legally. Chicago has some of the strictest laws concerning gun purchases and ownership.
But…it’s so much easier to blame an inanimate object that to admit the current Ethos of our culture has led us to this…this way too frequent tragedies. Some say our Ethos is broken–not so fast, my friend. Every culture has an Ethos –some good, some not so good, and others are down right evil.
it’s so much easier to blame an inanimate object that to admit the current Ethos of our culture has led us to this…this way too frequent tragediesTweet
This Ethos is what determines what is right and acceptable and what is wrong and unacceptable. Only Ethos of the Kingdom of God can prevent more of these tragedies from occurring. The current Ethos did not happen overnight. It was a journey, a step by step journey away of the Ethos of God’s Kingdom. Our current Ethos began with rejecting 1 part of the Ethos of God, and like dominoes strategically lined up, the entire Ethos of The Kingdom was traded away for an Ethos that cheapens human lives.
Only Ethos of the Kingdom of God can prevent more of these tragedies from occurring.Tweet
So how do we stop such tragedies? By committing our hearts to The Kingdom Ethos that is tethered to a life of loving God with all our heart, loving our neighbors as ourselves, and pursuing with everything in us a life of holiness. These most recent tragedies, the past tragedies, are fueled by the Current Ethos. And without a change of Ethos there will be more tragedies.
These most recent tragedies, the past tragedies, are fueled by the Current Ethos. And without a change of Ethos there will be more tragediesTweet
One immediate change will help transform the current Ethos. And that is to stop the hate. Hate produces hate. Hate spewed by the right produces hate spewed by the left; a different hate but hate nonetheless. Hate spewed by the left produces hate spewed by the right; a different hate but hate nonetheless. Hate diminishes the value of human life and is a horrible degradation of human dignity–the dignity of the person being hated and the dignity of the person doing the hating. The thing about hate being spewed is that it covers both the hater and the object of their hatred.
The thing about hate being spewed is that it covers both the hater and the object of their hatred.Tweet
Without a doubt, there needs to be an upgrade to the current system of background checks. But emptying the shelves of certain types of guns…well, those empty shelves will not change the Ethos but become a symbol of the hearts empty of God’s love but full of evil. Call it what it is: #HumanViolence and perhaps we can begin to move away from this mess.
5 thoughts on “Why Not Go Ahead?”
Well said, Pastor Randy.
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Pastor Randy, you make some good points. 2 Chronicles 7:14 sums up the solution. “If my people who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray, and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, forgive their sins and heal their land.” If believers in Christ would pray and fast and turning from their sins to God, our country would be different. Blessings!
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Thanx for caring. Thanx for trying to be so even handed. Thanx for pointing to Jesus.
I must say, that I see your point about the final analysis in the final analysis. I also happen to believe there are problems with our problem solving esp where this issue is concerned. And, I happen to have sensitivities with those on both sides of it.
I recall stories of my grandfather taking his gun to school with him (show and tell?). There once was a day when practically everyone who owned and used guns owned and used them responsibly. Imagine a world where soooooooo many people own and use them, but do not shoot at each other!
But there are several aspects about this topic that you have not addressed – some of them practically NO ONE addresses – at least not in relation to this very issue.
I can’t help but recall how comedian Chris Rock gave us the wise crack: We don’t need Gun Control; we need BULLET Control! He talked about charging hundreds of dollars for the ammo! Made some very funny jokes out of it.
There is something about that alright. Something that makes sense.
But we do in fact engage in Gun Control everyday as a matter of policy in this nation and internationally. We work very hard to control the dissemination of nuclear weapons in North Korea and Iran and other places every day. We don’t want Americans to have those things in their gun cabinets either. Some guns are just TOO big, TOO deadly to be let loose in the world.
None of this detracts from your point about a Kingdom Ethos. That is needed alright. That is the core issue of all issues. This one included. But there is a need for gun control in the law too, I think. Some restrictions. In fact, the design of assault weapons is geared specifically FOR KILLING people. Their very existance IS the product of evil in the heart of people wanting to kill people.
Let us beat those swords into plowshares.
I wonder if you ever heard of the artist from Mozambique who created a sculpture from melted down, twisted, and mangled decommissioned guns from their recent civil war. He called it Tree of Life.
I agree that we will not get the “safety” we so badly want from legislation alone, but then the call to follow Jesus is a call to come and die. Perhaps we need to give up the idolatry of safe and tremble before God until every last weapon is beat into a plowshare.
And that is another one of those aspects no one ever talks about when it comes to this issue.
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Indeed, I long for that moment when all weapons of war will be turned into plowshares!
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