Americans killed on 9/11: 2,996
Days it took Congress to authorize use of military force against those responsible for 9/11 attacks: 3
Americans killed by guns in 2017: 11,652
Days in 2017 so far: 276
We don’t have a gun problem. We have a SIN problem.
We can’t seem to realize that promoting a culture of violence is SIN. We can’t seem to understand that defunding mental health resources is SIN. We can’t seem to figure out that Matthew 7:12 applies to us too. We can’t seem to figure out much these days.
Instead we dismiss events like Newton, Las Vegas, Columbine, Orlando, simply posting “our thoughts and prayers go with _____” on our Facebook feed and then returning to our regular routines. Or we wring our hands about Las Vegas and say “Oh he doesn’t fit the profile” as if that has ever helped us address the violence and SIN at the root of this. We have an inability to name EVIL these days. And in this case our ability to “do nothing” is our SIN.
Only in America do we have 1,516 mass shootings in 1,735 days and have the audacity to ignore the EVIL all around us. Enough with the “thoughts and prayers.” It is time for us to all get on our knees, beg God’s forgiveness, and repent of our violent ways as a culture.
Perhaps it is time for us to all turn in our guns. There was something in scripture about beating swords into plowshares I seem to remember. Maybe my local sheriff’s office can figure out how to do that when we have our next amnesty program, so we can turn in any unwanted ammunition and weapons and come out with plowshares.
We seem all too quick to wash our hands of all responsibility when it comes to guns. Did you know I actually saw a church post yesterday that simply said LORD HAVE MERCY. At best I suppose that could mean “God forgive us for our part in this madness. Save us from ourselves” but I was raw from the day, and my reaction was more along the lines of “Oh that’s the spirit – let’s just put this on God, and cry out to God to ‘let up on us’ for inflicting this violence on us instead of fighting this culture of gun violence.” When did we decide to wash our hands of all responsibility and call on God expecting God will solve all our problems? Prayer is meant to incite us to action, connect us with God and drive us to seeing our lives in better focus. Our poor theology, lack of church attendance, and flimsy understanding of God and prayer is starting to catch up to us.
Only in America do we have such a staggering gun violence epidemic and conveniently brush it off by blaming Obama, or Trump, or the media, or the movie industry. Then we quickly forget and return to our anxiety about Obama taking our guns, or some other such nonsense, thinking that more guns will solve all these problems.
Well you know what, all of this is EVIL. It is sin, and we must confess it.
Did you know that per capita Canada has more guns than we do in the USA? And yet gun violence is much lower in Canada. How is that possible? It is because our problem is much deeper than guns. It is SIN. It is that we nurture violence and the gun industry more than we nurture life, liberty, faith, and humility.
I thought taking away all the guns would solve all the problems. Well, it might make a dent. But we will still have problems. It is because sin goes unaddressed around here.
I grew up around guns. Hunting and fishing were norms in northern Wisconsin, not just deer hunting, but turkey hunting too. Gun safety was a norm too. The accessibility I see to guns is out of control in my mind – the lack of regulation, the lack of restriction, the lack of sensible gun laws. We have allowed the gun industry to guide the narrative, and at the heart of their motivation is – you guessed it – MONEY. GREED. SIN.
The violent culture we foster is of our own doing. “Lord, have mercy” is right.
We have to start to admit some hard truths. We have been taking this “right to bear arms” too seriously. Nevermind that whole “well-regulated militia” piece. We act as if guns are going to solve our problems when Jesus calls us to a life of non-violence. The hard truth is that unfettered access to automatic weapons makes no sense. There are other hard truths. The list could go on. But….
The hard truth is that when we treat this terrorist’s gun arsenal as a right but the medical treatment for his 500+ victims as a privilege we have fallen into sin. And it is the sin of idolatry. It is that pesky Commandment Number 1 again. We have decided that God is not as important in our lives as other things. We have decided we can play God. Or we have decided that Money is our god. As long as we treat medical care as a commodity we will continue to have the same problems. You put GREED at the center of the narrative. When you turn Healthcare into a money-making endeavor of course it doesn’t want to cover sick people. Idolatry is all over in our culture.
And (more troubling) we have been trained as Americans not to see that as SIN. We warp our minds into thinking it is about liberty or freedom when it really has to do with IDOLATRY.
So taking away the guns isn’t going to fix it. But neither is embracing our own sin.
Instead we should be begging for God’s forgiveness, for we have made a mockery out of loving one another.
Here we are again….Christianity needs to be on its knees.