It’s a Heart Issue

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“For our battle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. “

I’ve seen the image of a billboard circulating on Facebook. The billboard reads “Cain killed Abel with a rock. It’s a heart problem, not a gun problem. Jeremiah 17:9.”

You know what? That’s true. It is a heart problem. It’s bigger than guns and ammunition. It’s bigger than tanks and fighter jets and nuclear arms. It’s bigger than that because the offender is small and lives inside our souls. It’s bigger and much more frightening than any explosive or firearm that you can throw at me. 

It’s frightening to me that I live in a country, and likely share a religion, at least in name, with people who say things like “They can pry my guns out of my cold dead hands.” And “I’ll be an outlaw if it means I can’t have my guns.” Really? Guns? Guns? You’ll be an outlaw over things? Actual, honest to goodness, possessions? 

Because that’s all guns are, you know. They’re just things. They’re just possessions. We read from a bible that implores us to render unto Ceasar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s. It’s scripture that tells us to not hold to tightly to our earthy possessions because they can be gone in a flash. And it’s scripture that tells us to become all things to all men so that by all means we might save one. Perhaps it’s an unfair extrapolation here, but it seems to me that that salvation is about more than just heaven and hell. In the words of Brad Paisley, “A man don’t have to die to go to hell.” 

And all of this is even bigger than guns and gun control. Modern evangelicals decry abortion and homosexuality and drugs and alcoholism and Islam. But we neglect to stand in the gap for those women pregnant out of wedlock on an accident. As a woman who’s gotten caught up in the heat of the moment myself, I can understand getting caught up and finding yourself pregnant. We neglect to think about those teenage girls who are victims of smooth talking college boys who have to choose between carrying a baby full-term and their college careers or their families, which would often mean choosing between shelter and food and living on the streets. We are so caught up in the “War on Terror” that we forget that there are Iraqi women praying to God that today the Americans won’t blow up their babies. We are caught in the lie that it’s acceptable to neglect the poor in the US because we live in a capitalistic society and anyone who wants to can go find a job that pays enough to live one. We save our charity for Thanksgiving food drives and turkey baskets. We drop a few coins in the Salvation Army buckets and congratulate ourselves on having enough cash to do something good. 

The billboard is right. It’s a heart issue. It’s a heart issue that says that I’d rather keep my guns than there be anything that tries to stop the ridiculous amounts of gun violence that happens in this country, and world-wide, ever day. Do I understand that if we outlaw guns, then only outlaws will have guns? You bet I do. But more than anything, I understand that it frightens the hell out of me to be lumped in with people who are more concerned about their guns and decrying the big sins of abortion and homosexuality and Islam and alcoholism than to understand that we have to hold our faith loosely. That we have to understand that we have to give up everything, guns, our fundamentals, our view of sinners, to have Jesus. And at the end of the day, give me Jesus. I am sure of so little, but I am sure of him. 

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