I am an independent when it comes to politics. I hear an issue then process it through my values. I personally strive to have those filters framed by Scripture. A mentor once told me that I need to read the newspaper in one hand and the Bible in the other. This is good advice. Political parties should not dictate my views. God should preeminently guide my thinking.
Based on this thinking, I have to ask when are we going to reach our emotional limit on gun violence in our country? It seems that there is a new act of carnage every week. Some arise from mental disease or emotional disturbance; others are prompted by religious fanaticism. We see the bloodied images of people lying on gurneys as they are rushed to the hospital. Gun control and gun rights experts are interviewed. Polls are taken about society’s pulse on the issue. Then, a couple of months pass before the cycle repeats itself again. Yet, nothing changes in our country. If anything it gets worse. It is crazy. I don’t understand it. When is enough going to be enough for something to finally happen to change in our society?
Change begins with us.
As believers we need to be passionate and clear about the moral evil of gun violence. People are made in the image of God. One of God’s first decrees focuses on this issue in Genesis 9:6, “Whoever sheds human blood, by humans shall their blood be shed.” Murder is wrong because it assaults the divine image present in each of us. The issue is not primarily violence; the issue is God’s creation of life. Life is a gift from God. Violence is not simply an attack against another person it is an attack against God whose divine fingerprint is present in each of us.
As believers we need to have common sense wisdom. We have the mind of Christ. Proverbs encourages us to cultivate wisdom in our minds. Believers should exude good thinking. I am sorry but I just don’t understand the rationale, “Guns don’t kill people, people kill people.” Ok, is this statement true from a purely logical standpoint? Yes. However, common sense states that it is a lot harder to kill someone with a knife than a semi-automatic. I don’t recall ever hearing about a “mass knifing” in America. I wonder if these statements are more a reflection of one’s association with a political party or justification for gun ownership than a biblical worldview.
As believers we need to cultivate the society that reflects our heavenly hope. In heaven, ‘swords will be turned to plowshares and spears into pruning hooks’ (Isaiah 2:4). There will be no weapons in glory. There is no need for a metal detector in heaven. If so, Christians should strive to embody the qualities that will reflect this eternal reality. We should be pure because it will be the only standard for us one day. This is the reason Christians should be against pornography; it contradicts God and opposes the standards He desires for this world. If this is true, should we not also reflect God when it comes to how we respond to other people, peacefully rather than with violence? Christians would certainly agree to this point. If so, we should significantly minimize the instruments, specifically semi-automatic weapons, that allow a person to inflict violence?
I close with some sensibility. I am not against guns completely. I went to a father-son camp this past summer. We shot rifles together. We enjoyed positioning cans and blocks on a post in order to shoot them off. It was fun. I have friends that hunt. They enjoy November as it allows them to sit in a tree stand and shoot for leisurely sport. Yet, my son doesn’t need an automatic weapon for target practice. And if he would want one for such a purpose, that is a problem. There is no permit for semi-automatic deer hunting. There is no purpose for it and it is quite ludicrous to imagine so.
So I return to my original question, when are we going to reach our emotional limit on gun violence in our country? When is enough enough.