Sunday, December 20, 2015

The Confusing Message of Christians & their Guns

Let’s just get this out of the way: I don’t believe it’s wrong to own a gun or to protect yourself with it. But there seems to be a segment of Christianity who seems to have adopted a new mantra: “Preach never, and if possible, use guns.” Sure, I’ve not read or heard anyone say this exactly, but if you summarized the bumper stickers on many of the trucks I’ve seen lately, this is what you would get. It’s as if Jesus said, “Go therefore & make gun rights in all nations, baptizing them in the name of the NRA, the 2nd Amendment, & Charlton Heston”.

Am I missing something? Did Jesus come to institute personal freedoms or to command that we lay down our personal freedoms, like He did, for a bigger cause? Wasn’t it Jesus who said "Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.”? Why yes it was. Look it up, it’s Matthew 16:24. Its Jesus saying that we must die to ourselves if we are to live with Him. Identifying with Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection through faith, is what makes us Christians. Either many so-called Christians never did this, or somewhere along they way, they laid down their cross, stopped following Jesus, and along with their personal freedoms, picked up a gun.
Have you confused “The American Dream” with God’s dream that all people be saved??[1] Or have you simply chosen to go for the latter? Don’t you understand that “Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness” are only found in Jesus and in following Him?

So then, what is the greater cause we should be concerned with? The Great Commission.[2] Making disciples. Being a disciple-making disciple. Of Jesus! We must be adamant about this.
And here’s something so important that many Christians don’t seem to understand: When we are more or just as adamant about other things as we are about Jesus, it confuses the heck out of the world. And rightly so. Why should they think that Jesus is far and away most valuable & worthy to be the Lord of their lives, when your life and passion seem to say that other things are just as important, if not more important.

But it’s especially confusing when it’s guns. Guns bring death, Jesus brings life. Jesus taught mercy and love. Guns are used for justice and often hate. People often say “Gun’s don’t kill people. People kill people.” That may be true, but guns don’t save people, Jesus saves people. Guns may protect and prolong life on this earth but that’s it.

“Preach always, and if necessary, use words”[3], is the actual quote that I referenced at the start. This is good but I’d go one step further. Preach always, and if possible, use words. Because whether or not we realize it, we’re always preaching something by how we live our lives and what we stand up for. Think about it. Everything you do says to the world what is important to you. And look for opportunities to use words that exult Jesus and show others their need for Him, and only Him. Because it’s so much more necessary to use words than we realize. “Faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ”.[4]  So whether you’re speaking or simply going about your daily business, preach Jesus, not a confusing message of Jesus + guns.   

Listen, we only have one witness. Let’s not muddle it by forcing Jesus to share the spotlight with guns or anything else. Because He won’t. And I wouldn’t want to be you when He calls you to account for trying to force Him to.  

[1] 2nd Peter 3:9
[2] Matthew 28:18-20
[3] St. Francis of Assisi
[4] Romans 10:17

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