“There’s nothing new under the sun.”
Almost everyone has heard this phrase at some point or another. Some may even know its origins. But every time a big story breaks, everyone with a keyboard thinks that they have something unique to say, something that hasn’t been driven into the ground over and over again. We are still seeing the fallout of the Sandy Hook shooting in Newtown, CT — posts about gun control, Piers Morgan and mental health blowing up facebook news feeds across the nation.
Allow me to add to the fray.
What I will say here comes from a heavy heart. It comes from weeks of wondering if I should voice my thoughts on a very volatile topic. It comes from knowing that what I have to say is not new, but feeling pained that I have not heard more of it in recent weeks. What I have to say is mostly to Christians, but I hope would resonate with all.
In a culture where religious beliefs and political ideals have become far too intertwined, I have been deeply bothered by the reaction of the Body of Christ to a horrific crime. Many have used this as a springboard to the “10 Commandments will fix everything” platform. Others have used this as an opportunity to draw connections between gun regulations and the government telling people not to be Christian. Some have said hateful things and ascribed a vengeful attitude to God that, at the very least, cannot be proclaimed with any real certainty (although these pundits would like you to believe otherwise).
I don’t have answers for why terrible things happen. But I can tell you that the answer is not in legislation, and it’s not in gun rights, either. Christians seem to have forgotten that at the core of what we call ourselves is CHRIST. Our goal is to point back to HIM. Our goal is to be set apart as a part of HIS body. HE is worthy of all glory and honor and power. Our trust is to be in HIM (See how Paul puts it)!
As I see it, the debate at hand is between Christians who just want to cling to their precious firearms and Christians who want to say God sent divine lightning from heaven to judge America for _____________ (feel free to fill in the blank — you’ve read their rantings). We wonder why the Christian voice has lost credibility in our society.
I have seen so many of my Christian friends on facebook posting meme after meme of 2nd-amendment propaganda that in some cases I seriously begin to wonder if they worship the God of the Bible or the Bill of Rights. I have to wonder whether their trust is in God to provide for them or their hope for the future actually rests in their firearms.
Jesus called his disciples the light of the world. His church is the salt that will preserve the Earth (Matthew 5:13-16). The problem here has nothing to do with gun control. It has everything to do with the fact that we live in a world that is broken. It has everything to do with the fact that humankind is plagued with a heart condition called sinfulness. It has everything to do with the fact that we do not know what tomorrow may hold and that Jesus called himself the WAY, the TRUTH and the LIFE (John 14:6). This has everything to do with loving God before loving anything else.
The Christian position should be to honor our government as God’s ordained means of order in our world (Romans 13). The Christian position should be to “give to Caesar what is Caesar’s” and show the world that we are people who understand, respect and celebrate authority (note: if you would like to say that the early apostles all stood up to the government, those were all in situations where they were being told to not proclaim the gospel, and it was most commonly the religious leaders they stood up to, not the state). Until the day when you are actually told by a government official to stay silent because of your faith, focus your energy where it matters: showing those around you the amazing and unmatched love of Christ.
What happened in Connecticut is deplorable. There’s no doubt about that. But to use it as a means to step up on a second-amendment soapbox is supremely unloving to the families whose lives have been changed forever. Pray for those families. Engage in conversations whenever you can about the reality of good and evil, holiness and sin. Talk about our need for a Savior and how Christ has overcome the world (John 16:33).
But please, please, please stop missing the point.