Is the message of the Cross incompatible with America’s gun culture? It’s time we asked ourselves that question. Jesus said the two greatest commandments were to 1) Love God with all your heart, your mind, and your soul and 2) Love your neighbor as yourself. (See Matthew 22:34-40) How can that message of love be expressed through violence? It can’t. We can love God and love each other, and if our hearts are full of love, we should not have any hate or violence left in us.
Sadly, we are human. We are flawed. We have free will and we resort to violence to express that will onto others. We use other weapons to force our will on them too, our words, mockery, derision, rejection, those hurt as bad as a gunshot or knife wound, but the wound itself is deeper and very often unseen. I would submit that it is as bad to mock or castigate someone as it is to shoot them. Matter of fact our society is full of this. Our politicians seek to divide us, not connect us. The news media seeks to label different parts of society and show only the ugliness of that supposed label. We spend more time snarking and barking about people and politicians on social media than we do building up those who need it.
The gun is not the problem. Society and the culture of hatred is. I’m as guilty as anyone. I get passionate about an issue and I start throwing words out that are not loving, not kind. I’ve had good people unfriend me and I’ve often wondered why, then it occurs to me, have I always been as kind and loving a person as I need to be. I’m ashamed to say the answer is no. I’ve seriously thought about giving up on politics for a few weeks. It’s vitriolic and intemperate, it’s a feeding frenzy of social sharks, and do I want to jump in? However, do I abandon that part of our fabric as a nation when as a Christian and a man trying to make things better? Or should I go ahead and engage, but try to do so with love?
We live in historic and trying times. We are living on the back of the crest of the greatest nation on earth. Evil abounds in great swaths of the world. We see a deranged killer target Christians for destruction in heartland America. Things are not as they used to be. We have to make a decision how we are going to approach this age. Are we going to give into the fear, or are we going to boldly approach the age with love and compassion for everyone?
I’m not going to wrap up this message with an answer, each of us has to answer for ourselves. For me, I will do everything I can to live with love and to help my fellow man. I will be the greatest advocate that I can be. I won’t be perfect, and I won’t live up to some people’s measuring sticks. I don’t care, for I don’t live for the approval of man, but for the approval of my Father in Heaven.
I will also be keeping my guns because you can love a rattlesnake all you want, it will still bite. You can love a skunk and it will still spray. There are two legged snakes and skunks out there too.