Last week, another mass shooting hit the national news leaving a group of people dead and another group of people wounded. This scene that was plastered in the headlines and throughout the news media from San Bernardino, California has become all too common for us, and many people are using this as a platform to promote their agenda. On one hand, you have politicians who are trying to politicize the event to promote their platform for gun control. In another twisted way, the New York Daily News published a headline article titled, “God Isn’t Fixing This” as they called out conservative politicians for praying after the tragedy took place. The point, stop praying, it’s a waste of time. As we evaluate the problems surrounding gun violence, we must avoid two massive problems.
Avoid Gun Idolatry
As we consider this tumultuous time, we must avoid the idolatry of guns. Before you get sideways with me on this issue, let me be clear from the start. I am a gun owner, a hunter of 30 years, and I really enjoy shooting. Not only do I enjoy it, but I enjoy teaching my children to shoot. Guns can be used for sport and personal protection, and neither of those are wrong.
Guns are not dangerous, people are dangerous. However, I also know a breed of people who attend church on Sunday, quote a few Bible verses by memory, but seem to love their guns far more than they love God. In fact, if push came to shove, I believe some of the people I’ve crossed paths with would choose their guns over God.
As a Christian and as an American citizen, I pledge my allegiance to Jesus first, and then I pledge to be a good citizen of our nation. With that, I enjoy the freedoms of our nation. The freedom of speech is a wonderful thing, one that we often take for granted. Each week as I preach from a pulpit and write on this blog, I exercise this freedom. I also enjoy the right and freedom to bear arms according to the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution. In short, to own and carry a firearm is a freedom that we as citizens can exercise. However, if the laws changed and we were greatly restricted in our gun use and ownership, as a Christian I must submit.
At what point in the Bible do we see Jesus followers living in disobedience to the governing powers and laws? Not for gun ownership and concealed weapon freedoms. It was for the preaching and teaching of the gospel that they decided to break the laws of the land (Acts 5:29). Until the government of the United States forces me to break allegiance with Jesus and disobey God’s Word, I must submit to the laws of our land (Rom. 13:1-7). The powers of our government were instituted by God for our good. That doesn’t mean that in our fallen world that I will always agree with the laws, regulations, and policies. I’m free to move to another country, to exercise my freedom of speech and voting privileges to stand against such restrictive laws, but in the end I’m not free to be a disobedient and rogue minded citizen. As a Christian, I’m called to submit. There is no such thing as a rouge and rebellious Christian. There is nothing worse in a society than a rebellious and obstinate person who professes to follow Jesus. Until our government presses me to deny Jesus Christ and to disobey God’s Word, I’m called to submit.
Avoid False Security
Many politicians and news personalities don’t understand guns because they don’t own one, have never shot one, and have never been exposed to them throughout their lifetime. Therefore, to them, it seems practical and safe to push for gun control. In their simple way of looking at the world, they believe that gun regulations will make the world safer and that mass shootings will decrease. That simply isn’t true. No criminal with murderous intent in his heart will look at a sign that reads, “Gun Free Zone” and decide to not enter the school campus and open fire. Furthermore, gangs and others who engage in Islamic terrorism will not be deterred from getting an assault rifle simply because it’s outlawed for civilian ownership and can’t be obtained at the local Wal-Mart. The last time I checked, bombs were illegal too, but people use them on a regular basis to kill people. Gun regulations can provide a false security for people, and for politicians to exploit tragedies to further their agenda by creating this false sense of security is irresponsible.
Three main errors with gun control laws:
- Such laws establish false security that causes people to think that the world is now a safe place because guns are regulated. That simply isn’t true. As long as you have people on this earth, you will have murder. Remember, Cain didn’t shoot Abel with an AR-15. Cain murdered his brother without guns and modern weapons because he had a sinful and depraved heart (Jer. 17:9).
- It restricts the freedoms of the average citizen who enjoys guns and uses them properly. Keep in mind, it makes no sense for politicians to talk out of one side of their mouths about restricting the freedom of mothers who want to kill their unborn baby through abortion while talking out of the other side of their mouths about restricting the freedom of gun owners.
- Gun restrictions can make the world a more dangerous place. Have you considered that in a world without gun freedoms, the only people who will own guns will be the criminals, law enforcement officers and military. Everyone else remains a sitting duck. Many people believe places like Kennesaw, Georgia prove that gun ownership deters crime and murder. Kennesaw passed a mandatory gun ownership law in 1982 for all citizens of their community. Proponents claim that when more citizens own guns and are prepared to protect their families, criminals no longer have the upper hand. We must avoid the gun control bubble, it’s a false hope.
As we look at these tragic events, no matter where you stand on the issues, we must remember that God is in control, even in the midst of a horrible tragedy such as the most recent one in California. The New York Daily News should be reminded – “Gun Control Isn’t Fixing This.” California is a heavily regulated state when it comes to gun freedom. I believe we must be careful in how we respond in the wake of such tragedies. Using tragedies for political gain is not appropriate – on either side of the fence. As an American citizen, we have the right to use our voting privileges to do our talking. Christians who live in America can use political avenues and voting rights, but we must do so in an orderly and respectful manner that honors Christ. Pray, vote, and trust God. In the end, be a peaceful and submissive Christian who consistently reminds the world that the lion will not lie down with the lamb through gun control laws. That will only happen through Jesus Christ.
Psalm 20:7 – Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the LORD our God.