Guns, Lies, and Videotape

canstockphoto2073214The Second Amendment: A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the People to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.

Each time a mass shooting occurs, I often think about what our founding fathers would say if they were here about how people hide behind this amendment in defense of those who commit such heinous acts. Would they really sit there, watching the news and think “Yep, this is exactly why we needed this amendment.” Would they stand up at a press conference defending relaxed gun laws while watching the horror play out on their T.V. screens? Can we really sit here and say with certainty that the second amendment was written to allow people to have access to such destructive tools of death?

Let me be clear in stating that I think people should have access to certain firearms. Hunting rifles for example are guns in which I think people should have, so long as those using them are actually consuming the animals they hunt. If you hunt a deer, then my hope is that you consume the deer. While some would say that a hunting rifle could still be used to kill innocent people, it’s not designed to kill a lot of people very quickly. You’d only be able to get a few shots off before someone would be able to figure out where the shots are coming from and intervene.

I am also not opposed to handguns kept in home for self defense (though if you need more than a couple, I would question the validity of that). While I would hope no such need of a weapon would ever come up, I also understand that protecting yourself and especially your family is important. Even this type of gun would not cause the devastation we saw in this most recent tragedy in Las Vegas.

I know what you’re thinking. “This isn’t the time to discuss gun control and gun politics” but what time is a good time. We will mourn, we will heal, and then, soon, another mass shooting will occur. Again people will argue that it’s not the time to discuss gun safety. And again we will mourn, heal, and wait for it to happen again.

This. Needs. To. Stop.

Can we be honest for a moment? Assault rifles, especially fully automatic assault rifles, are designed for one purpose only: Causing as much death and destruction as possible in the shortest amount of time.

A pump action shotgun can really hurt some people, but by the time someone fires a second time, most people will have realized what happened and either cleared the area or subdued the suspect. It certainly would not have had the impact the weapons in Vegas did.

“But Josh, people can turn anything into a weapon. The planes on 9/11 for example. Or a car being driven into a crowd.” True, but these things were not built to be weapons. Their purpose for existing is not to kill. When used correctly, planes, trains, and automobiles function peacefully and enhance the lives of those who use them. What purpose does a gun have? To kill. To destroy. No, guns don’t kill people by themselves, but people with guns kill people. A lot of people.

“Well that’s only when guns are used incorrectly”. What other purpose does a gun have? To hunt? Well, that kills an animal. For sport? Skeet shooting? Is that all you are doing with it? Even still, guns were designed to kill and when used correctly, that’s what they do.

When a car is used correctly, it doesn’t kill.

When a plane is flown correctly, it doesn’t crash into buildings.

It’s pretty simple really.

If the killing of children in the Sandy Hook Massacre was not enough for people to realize that we have a real serious problem, then I don’t see any hope at all. We protect the rights of gun owners more than we protect the rights of children to be able to eat lunch. Do you hear me America? We would rather have our guns than feed children lunch! How can we continue to accept this!?

I’m tired of watching people die. Sure, the second amendment says you have the right to bear arms, but before it even gets there, it says to maintain a well-regulated militia. Instead of these pictures of this cool gun you got for Christmas, it’s time to start posting you with your militia-training buddies preparing to fight those who are coming to imprison you for your freedom (if you can find such an entity).

I know you internet. You like to tear down people. You like to be vile, and selfish, and loathsome. Go ahead. The comment section is open. And when this happens again, you can just come copy and paste what you wrote there in other comment sections because, unfortunately, I’ll see you again the next time.

The Wages of Sin

Romans 623 [widescreen].pngI’m sitting here on a night I couldn’t sleep thinking about all the possible things I could have done wrong and suddenly it hit me. Romans 6:23 is a verse nearly every Christian (and even non-Christian) know to well. “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord.” It was the first part that stood out to me.

The first half of the verse talks about death coming from sin. Let’s face it, death is all around us. We can see the effects of sin just by turning on the news. These are the obvious signs of death that come from sin. But what about the not so obvious? It’s easy to look at the TV and say “see, we’ve turned away from God, followed sin, and now look at the world.” Let’s look closer.

When sin is active in our lives, it causes death to something. Sin for example may not physically kill you, but it can kill your joy. It can kill your relationships. It can kill your hope. I can keep going, but I am sure you get the point. I am also quite sure that theologians have written about this before. There are countless books about sin, overcoming it, and speaking life to things. It shouldn’t take a book to convict you. God’s own word should do that. Sometimes late at night when you can’t sleep. I believe that those moments are sometimes God calling you out. You are less likely to be distracted by things when the rest of the world is asleep.

Let’s go back to that word convict. I think people have it confused with guilt. I am going to go so far as to say guilt does not come from God. Guilt comes from the enemy. God wants us to be convicted because we realize that the sin in our lives interferes with our relationship with Him and the great things he has for us. This is not guilt. This is the realization that there is something better than the way I was doing it before. Sure, guilt will still creep up on you. It has on me. But the life we gain when we realize what sin has been robbing us from is so much better!

What has sin been robbing you from? Maybe it’s a friendship. Maybe it’s an opportunity for career advancement. Or maybe, it’s robbing you from God using you to further His kingdom. Many of us feel inadequate because of our sin, so we tend to not do things thinking “I can’t do this, I keep doing this sin”. Thus, sin has caused the death of your ministry.

Rejoice! There is a second part of the verse. “But the FREE gift of GOD is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord.” Sure, this is talking about life beyond this life. But life is the key word here. Through Christ, there is life. Life eternally and life earthly. He brings life where there was none before. He can bring life to a relationship or circumstance when He becomes the center of it.

If you’re reading this and you’re thinking “yeah, that’s obvious”, then congratulations, I am glad  you have it all figured out. For the rest of us, if you are struggling with something or you feel guilty or dirty or less than worthy, then rejoice, because our God has overcome sin AND Death! When our focus is on Him, our desires become aligned with Him. Through this alignment, the things which sin caused death to begin to come alive.