Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Gun Control

How is it that people are so calloused as to take the life of another human being? It's a terrible thing but something that has plagued the world since creation. The first brothers had an argument that resulted with Cain killing Abel. Since then, others have followed Cain's example and killed others for a variety of reasons: robbery, jealousy, anger, etc. Where does this kind of stuff come from? Jesus said that "out of the heart come evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, slanders." According to him, the problem is our sinful hearts—the problem each one of us has.

Compounding that problem is the added influence of Satan. During Bible times, there were people who were possessed by demons and influenced by Satan. They did strange things. For instance, the demoniac of Gadera lived in a graveyard, wore no clothes, and broke any chains put on him. Whether you believe the Bible or not, you have to admit that the occult and Satanism in general has produced some very strange and horrible results. I thought of that when the young man responsible for the Chardon shootings told the court that he heard voices telling him what to do.

That influence seems to be magnified by the world in general. Think about people who spend a lot of time thinking about death (Goth), watching horror movies, playing violent computer games, and listening to music that glorifies death, violence, adultery, etc. Look at entertainment news and you'll see a fairly accurate description of the soul of America. It's not a pretty picture.

The tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut has brought the gun control debate back into the open. People are rightly appalled that something like this would happen. And everyone seems to have an idea about how to stop it from happening. The ideas range from having every school teacher carrying a gun to outlawing guns completely. I'm not thrilled about either proposal. Can you imagine a teacher having a bad day and pulling out her gun on her students? And I still don't understand how banning guns will keep criminals from obtaining them.

I've read about law-abiding citizens using personal hand guns to stop criminals from hurting people. A 70-year-old man stopped a burglary at an internet café by pulling his gun and shooting the armed robbers. That's a good thing. But I have also heard about citizens doing foolish things with guns. Think about the Trayvon Martin case right now. George Zimmerman may have had the right to defend himself, but did he really need to be out with a gun that night? This is the difficult part of the debate. There have been good and bad things happen with guns in the United States.

The problem is that we live in a sinful world that will never be completely free from violence. Because of that, there will need to be some way of protecting ourselves and families. The Second Amendment gives Americans the right to own guns. We also have laws that are upheld by police officers and sheriffs. Thankfully, I live close to the police department in Painesville. They have always responded quickly when needed.

Some have mentioned the need for more mental health organizations. I think that could be helpful. There have been legitimate cases where chemical imbalances in the brain have affected people I know. Treatment made a lot of difference. But that's not the only problem. What about the sinful heart syndrome? Unless that is taken care of, the root problem will still be affecting all of us. I sincerely believe the promises in the Bible that "if anyone is in Christ he is a new creature" and that "the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control." When God changes somebody, there is a definite difference. I know this from personal experience. God has changed me and is slowly but surely building that kind of character into me.

That, I think, is the biggest need worldwide. But until more people experience this change, the government will have to figure out a way to hold back sinful people from acting out their desires. And individuals will have to make wise decisions about defending themselves when necessary. I'm not confident that they will ever get that completely figured out to everyone's satisfaction. But I am confident that it will be taken care of when Jesus returns to rule the earth. I'm looking forward to that but don't have much hope that more laws about guns will affect the changes we really need.

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