Up in Arms

The news, media and numerous political blogs have been saturated with discussion and debate on gun control policy the past few months. Heated conversations have swelled with recent tragedies such as the movie theater shooting in Aurora, Colorado and the Sandy Hook shooting in Newtown, Connecticut. We have heard the pleas and rants from politicians and opinionists, but what is the right answer? Is there a right answer? What does the Bible have to say about gun control policy?

Well, actually this is one of those gray areas where the Bible is not clear. So, for starters, let us not focus so much on what we do not know, but rather let us focus on what we do know. What we do know is that evil exists and, sometimes people commit evil things such as murder. Another thing we know is that murder is wrong. But, we also know that individual choice is important.
God seems to think that freedom is vitally important, and that the means the freedom to do right or wrong. In fact, historically it appears that freedom is seen as more important than prevention of crime. God does not prevent all of the evils from happening in the world because he has given us the precious gift of free will. Yet, many think they can prevent tragedies from happening by limiting our choices. Strange that some think it their job to do what God himself has decided not to do.

Gun control is a complex and multi-layered issue. “Gun control” is very different from actually controlling guns; the person holding the gun has “control” of the gun. So when things get out of control, the person has lost control, not the gun. Some call this cliché a cop-out, but nevertheless, “guns don’t kill people; people kill people.” This is not to say that people should have total access to any all kinds of weapons and destructive tools. Simply, this standpoint states that it is the individual who chooses to create and use a weapon for ill purposes.

Policy and politics
A further point to consider is the control of policy. What happens if policy is out of control? We must be critical and cautious. It is a slippery slope when tragedy in one place dictates policy in another place. We all want to limit or even eliminate future tragedies, but we cannot allow fear to take control of our decisions. Pastor Bob Coy sympathizes, “If you allow tragedy to dictate what you do with policy, you may miss the point of what happened.”
Do not miss the point. Gun control is not a legal issue; it is a moral issue revealing the heart of man. Yet, gun control is used mostly today for a political agenda. The issue becomes a game of passing the blame instead of proactively seeking to actually protect people’s livelihood and freedom! Today’s culture has created a very different idea of the purpose of weapons. Weapons have become about power and control rather than protection. It is a condition of the heart.

So we have to ask, what are we really trying to control—guns or people? Because the unfortunate truth is that a government can completely outlaw guns, but it can never stop people from hurting one another. Evil men find a way to commit evil acts. Having a lock on your door gives you a sense of control. But honestly, it does not stop a burglar from breaking in if they wish. This is why Christians put our trust, hope and faith in the LORD. He is our protector and righteous judge. Door locks and gun policies may help, but ultimately it is God who saves us.

Law and responsibility
In the Old Testament, the Hebrew people clearly had armies and weapons. Passages such as Luke 22:38 and John 18:10 tell us that the disciples had possession of swords. In the ancient world, it was not uncommon for people to carry personal weapons for protection. Roman Statesman, Cicero, expounds:

“This, therefore, is a law, O judges, not written, but born with us… which we were not trained in, but which is ingrained in us, namely, that if our life be in danger from plots, or from open violence, or from the weapons of robbers or enemies, every means of securing our safety is honorable.”

But with freedom, we cannot forget our responsibility. Life is a gift and we are to be good stewards. Truly, we have no rights. We have done nothing to earn life and liberty. God simply gives them to us. Life is a privilege. So we must ask ourselves and truly wrestle with the questions: Why do I need or want a gun? What is the purpose of a gun? What would I do with a gun? Pray and seek the LORD that he would grant you his wisdom in the midst of a confusing and controversial world.

Finley can be reached at: [email protected]

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One Response to “Up in Arms”

  1. Becky Bodnarchuk

    Up In Arms, was thought provoking and well written. I so appreciated how he started too. Freedom. Our G-d so loves and values liberty. He made us with the ability to choose, in His image. Even after He’d made the angels and saw how badly some of them messed up! AND knowing how badly we’d choose too-and what it would cost Him to redeem our mess… That this complicated issue of gun control isn’t clearly addressed in scripture and that we can start with what we do know, biblically.

    G-d did make us all to be free. To be responsible for our choices too. Every choice has a consequence, usually felt by more than the one who made the choice too! That there is real evil in this world. And that we sometimes do it! Unintentionally and with devilish intention at times.

    It is so true that we must use care in policy making too. We can not let our fears or pain dictate what to do about policy. And I do agree that gun control is a moral issue too.

    But we need to stop that nonsense we believers do. Saying silly things. Even pastors need to knock it off. This IS a legal issue too. Our Congress will be making some laws about it.

    We must speak the truth to it, in love of course. But speak the truth with integrity and love.
    BECAUSE, government is designed by God, our Creator, who gave us those inalienable rights.Our forefathers said it well. That a government of the people will only work when we are governed from within. Self controlled. Not government controlled. Not controlled by ‘other’.
    We, the called, need to pray about it for ourselves. Then pray for our leaders to be wise. To make laws that respect God and His ways and Word. When you write unbelievers talk about doing what is good and right….We ought to let our leaders know what G-d does say too, but that will cover them all, fools and wise alike. Some people are too foolish to want to know that G-d made the world.

    G-d holds government accountable as much as individuals. It really is people who kill too. That it really is G-d who is our protector. Sad truth is some people are living with guns and very dangerous people IN their homes, behind the locked doors!

    We should help the leaders with the reasonable controls too. Not just demand our rights.

    The kind of reasonable controls a free society can still be free with…like wait times to buy a gun, requirements for gun owners, like licences and education,

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