I’m not a gun person, not really. I’ve never been around them. I’ve never needed to use one. I’ve never even held one. And it creeps me out whenever I’m at Bass Pro Shops–which, to be clear, is like once every other year–and I see actual real live guns locked up in glass cases.
But I like knowing that I have the ability to get one, if I decided to do that. I like that a good, law-abiding reasonable person can legally buy a gun for protection. Seems like the right idea.
And I’m a believer in the saying: “Guns don’t kill people; people kill people.” I’m not suggesting we allow hardened criminals with a record of violent behavior and a history of mental illness to have all the guns they want, because that would be straight stupid. But it doesn’t make sense to me that creating more laws about guns would stop evil people from doing evil things. Haters gonna hate, murderers gonna murder–though, killing people is illegal in I think all of the states.
So I’m not convinced that if we had put said gun laws in place before December 14th, 2012, that the tragedy in Connecticut would have been avoided. What happened was an unpredictable and horrifying act of pure hatred. And it could be that news just spreads so rapidly and easily, but I’m thinking that this mess is going on way too much these days.
I don’t know why bad things happen. But I do know that what went down today lines up less with a lack of gun regulations and more with the things our country values than we would be ready to admit.
Our society’s theoretical values are just that. We say we’re a Christian nation, but everything on my facebook newsfeed says otherwise. Jesus took the form of a humble servant; we are a people trained to be focused primarily on our own happiness and desires. We purposely look away from those who truly need help. We refuse to bend, we refuse to be inconvenienced, and we refuse to forgive.
We’re placing less and less importance on the wisdom of the elderly. We’re brushing off the preciousness of little children and the sanctity of life.
Our way of living–it’s become too busy, too distracted, too uncaring, unthinking, and uninvolved. It’s the schedules and the competition. It’s our obsession with fame and pop-culture; with movies that glorify all that is violent and twisted and dangerous; and with music that makes any kind of behavior fun and okay. Instant gratification, a “looking-out-for-number-1” mentality, a “how’s-this-going-to-benefit-me?” approach to living. An out-of-control ego, a blind ambition, a relentless drive to succeed no matter what. A need to be right all the time, a need to be noticed and seen, loved and adored. It’s a non-negotiable, bite-my-ass, my-way-or-the-highway attitude that brings us to where we are today as a nation on the whole.
Are we so obsessed with all this stuff that God is just letting us have it? I used that approach last week, when acid-refluxy little Mia wanted a giant slice of cookie cake so bad that she threw a bloody tantrum. So I gave it to her–just let her cut a piece and scarf it down. And she of course promptly barfed it right back up. (Never to have cookie cake again as long as she lives, I might add. Mission accomplished.) Nobody likes to see their child hurting or sick, but good gravy–sometimes a parent’s gotta bust out a new tactic. Perhaps God is all: “Fine. Have it your way, but don’t say I didn’t warn you.”
Is our country so closed off to God’s commands and Jesus’s teachings, and so open to the things of the devil, that days like today are just part of the natural pattern of our digression?
We are creating a product–by our actions and inactions; by our careful words and our flippant comments. With every purchase, every priority, every difficult choice and every costly mistake, we contribute to a machine, a force, that’s either very good, or very bad. I have to think that this man who did this terrible thing was angry, or confused or sad, or all of the above.
Today was jealousy and hatefulness and intolerance. It was confusion and fear and terror. It was darkness and loneliness and rage and sorrow. It was sickness, and death.
It was everything that the enemy is.
It was the exact opposite of what God wants.
Today I was scared. Today my anxiety was almost crippling. Today I couldn’t breathe. Today I did want a gun. Today I felt like curling up on the couch, covering my ears with my hands, and sobbing for hours. Today I wanted to pick my babies up from school and hug them until they begged for mercy. Today I wanted to scream at God “Are you freaking serious right now, with this?!!”
Today I prayed really hard things. Today I told my kids that there was evil in the world, and I let them see the tears in my eyes. I told them our bodies won’t last forever, but our hearts will–and they belong to Heaven. And when I hugged them, I let them know that no matter how hard the enemy fights, our God–who is love and peace and light and hope and joy–always wins.
Therefore, brothers and sisters, stand firm and hold on to the traditions that we taught you, whether by speech or by letter. Now may our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by grace gave us eternal comfort and good hope, encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good thing you do or say.
Finally, pray for us, brothers and sisters, that the Lord’s message may spread quickly and be honored as in fact it was among you, and that we may be delivered from perverse and evil people. For not all have faith. But the Lord is faithful, and he will strengthen you and protect you from the evil one. And we are confident about you in the Lord that you are both doing—and will do—what we are commanding. Now may the Lord direct your hearts toward the love of God and the endurance of Christ.
2Thessalonians 2:15-3:5, New English Translation