Mass shootings, gun violence, western culture, and you…

Everybody who has a heartbeat wants to make an impact on this.  Don’t we?  We hurt and we’re sorrowful.  We want to move forward, but more apropos, we want to have done something to stop things like this on some level.  Is there anyone you know that doesn’t?  We’re compelled to ban something or pass some sort of regulation.  If we make things like murder illegal, they will cease happening or at least slow down.

We’re often willing to head down the road of rules, regulation, laws, codification, ordnance, and binding resolution.  If we take a stand as a nation against these bad behaviors by coming together with agreement on a law, we’ll be able to rest better at night with the knowledge we did something.  That will give us peace.  We’ll feel better.  Isn’t that enough?  If not a fix, isn’t that at least a start?

I’m sorry to let you all down.  But the fact is, it won’t be enough.  It isn’t a start.  …And it won’t help.  Laws are predicated on a polite society.  Laws require that each of us ‘opts in’ as a willing participant.  As Christians we know all too well how this works.  We don’t need a law from the government to know moral facts – an example being Cain and Abel.  We knew, void of any man made law that murder was against God’s will.  Yet, Cain slew Abel and the world was handed a terrible truth.

We know what God’s law is and it supersedes man’s law.  We also know where our rights come from.  Some who haven’t thought through this much might say rights come from man.  If that were true, what man grants you, man can deny you.  Do you believe you should be denied your basic civil rights?  Of course not.  Rights come from our Creator and are protected in law by man.  That’s the order.  That’s the truth.  The reality though, and the pathology of law is quickly becoming disgusting and we’re encouraging it without knowing it.

Here’s the smack in the face folks.  For any law to work, we have to be decent people first.  If we aren’t decent, then how will laws bind us?  The fact is they cannot.  You are bound to nothing, save God.  You can’t bind yourself.  Any knot you tie, you can untie.  So your bond or ‘binding’ in this example, is to God and little else.  If you follow God’s will, what will you be doing though?  Following the law.  More importantly you’ll be doing the only kinds of things that will actually make a difference in the questions we’re asking here.

It’s just the way it is people.  Gun violence?  That’s simply propaganda designed to put the word “gun” in a negative light.  There’s just violence.  If I trip over a sawn tree, am I the victim of “stump violence?”  Nope.  We’re busy adopting the ‘narrative’ that others lay down for us.  We should stop listening and regurgitating the ‘narrative’ as it were…

Legislative cures?  Get real.  How does a group of politicians handle making a law?  They apply a one-size-fits-all cookie cutter approach and everyone will need to squeeze into this 8 by 8 by 8 box in order to conform to their flawed view of momentary reality.  That’s a really bad idea.  And that’s if and only if you skip the knowledge that most of these politicians are neither honest or particularly good at legislating on behalf of others.  The ‘others’ here are you and I.

We have systematically built what I call “victim culture” into the whole of western culture.  We have passed so many laws that you should be safe from anything from murder to paper cuts.  Yet, we still can’t seem to make it work to our satisfaction.  Everybody is willing and wanting to assert victim status for some way in which they feel wronged.  The next obvious question then becomes, “which one of you is writing the check?”  I don’t need to explain to you how that works.  You’ve all witnessed taxes and lawyers.  Both extract from you things they aren’t owed.  You have insurance specifically to avoid being milked so hard you could never recover, do you not?

So here we are.  Nobody is offering up a good solution.  But hey, I’ve got a silly idea.  What about God?  In coming days we’ll learn from somebody about how the shooter in Las Vegas was nuttier than a fruit cake.  It won’t surprise me at all when somebody says on air, “yeah, he’s been really ‘out there’ for years.”  You know what my response is to that?  Shame on you.  You KNEW he was having trouble.  You knew he needed the help.  You knew you should have asked him to church with you.  You knew you should have called the Police.  You knew you should have called Human Services and requested a health and welfare check on him.  You knew all of these things and more were options on the table, and instead?  You weren’t a willing participant in the polite society I mentioned above.  You’d rather government handle it in the form of some redundant law.  You put it on them, the political class, to do the work.  Maybe we’ll find a way to make murder more illegal.  We did that once already with hate crimes.  Maybe we can do it again somehow.  But will that do anything at all to detour somebody who didn’t feel loved?

When you leave the ‘work’ to be done by others, you are no longer a participant yourself in this polite society.  When you expect a law to protect you, you are not doing the work.  And when you don’t do the work yourself, it simply doesn’t get done.

One of my all time favorite portions of scripture is James 2:14-26 – What use is it, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but he has no works? Can that faith save him?  If a brother or sister is without clothing and in need of daily food,  and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and be filled,” and yet you do not give them what is necessary for their body, what use is that?  Even so faith, if it has no works, is dead, being by itself. 

But someone may well say, “You have faith and I have works; show me your faith without the works, and I will show you my faith by my works.”  You believe that God is one. You do well; the demons also believe, and shudder.  But are you willing to recognize, you foolish fellow, that faith without works is useless?  Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered up Isaac his son on the altar? You see that faith was working with his works, and as a result of the works, faith was perfected;  and the Scripture was fulfilled which says, “And Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness,” and he was called the friend of God.  You see that a man is justified by works and not by faith alone.  In the same way, was not Rahab the harlot also justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out by another way?  For just as the body without the spirit is dead, so also faith without works is dead.

Honest to goodness, this is what it all boils down to.  If you’re not willing to help out somebody you know needs it, then we’re lost.  Laws won’t detour somebody unwilling to follow them.  Laws only allow the state to possibly punish somebody caught breaking them.  You can’t claim to be of Faith and a good Christian if you deny the fact there are people within your own circles that desperately need the help.   If you truly want to save lives, then start by doing the basics.  That’s the only way this will ever improve.  …And you know it.  Add WORK to your Faith and let Jesus be your guide.

Be salt and seek light my friends.  It’s within you.

 

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