It is important for you to know this about me before we go any further. I am a veteran. I was deployed with the US Army First Division to the Balkans in 1995. I am not looking for a medal here, but just giving you background. I have owned and shot pistols, shotguns, and rifles since I was twelve. I was a member of the NRA. I come from a family that had a healthy respect for firearms and enjoyed shooting and hunting. I currently own a rifle and pistol. I don’t believe all guns should be banned. It is important that you know this, so you don’t write me off as a rabid anti-gun type. Okay, now that is out of the way, let me tell you, I do have an issue with guns.
Here is my problem. Too many of us have convinced ourselves that our faith supports, even promotes, gun ownership and the rights to bear arms. Like the bumper sticker/ T-shirt I have seen countless times at Myrtle Beach or Gatlinburg, “God, Guns, and Glory!” Seriously? Do we really believe that Jesus, the One who taught us to “turn the other cheek” and to “forgive, so we will be forgiven” and told Peter to put down his sword in the Garden of Gethsemane, wants us armed to the teeth like a John Wick movie? Sure, if we want to defend our gun ownership, that is our right as an American citizen. But it really has nothing to do with being a citizen of the Kingdom of God. So, if you are a big gun-rights advocate, please defend your position referring to the constitution, academic research or legal arguments, or logic. But whatever you do when it comes to this topic, please truly, for God’s sake, don’t drag our Christian faith into it.
It is clear from the Scriptures Jesus never owned a sword, and I am convinced if he was physically with us today, he wouldn’t be fighting for the right to own an AR-15 or AK-47.
So, what am I getting at with all this? First, trying to bolster our gun rights position by dragging God into it makes for bad theology and even worse testimony to non-Christians. Frankly, it is laughable in an unfunny kind of way. Second, gun violence is spiking. The highest it has been in decades. We hardly blink an eye now when we hear about mass shootings, because they occur almost daily. Whether you are a Jesus follower or not, this should keep us up at night. But if we have committed our lives to following Jesus, who lived a life of peace, perhaps we, first and foremost, should be at least open to sensible gun control measures. I confess, I enjoy shooting assault rifles at targets, but out of love for others, I am willing to give up that right if it might allow a husband to come home to his wife.
Yes, reloading is tedious, but I am willing to restrict extended magazines, if, by doing so, it will spare a mother so she can watch her children grow old. Sure, it might be more convenient to bring that hunting rifle home the same day we bought it, but I think it is worth the wait, if by doing so it means a father will live to give away his daughter at her wedding one day. As Jesus followers, loving our neighbor means perhaps at times we give up a right to prevent a terrible wrong.
And even if you disagree with everything else I wrote, can you at least stop wearing the T-shirts and peel off bumper stickers? If you are like me and own a gun, let’s be real.
It has nothing to do with God and certainly has nothing to do with His glory. I am just shooting straight with you.