Like everyone else, I’d like some answers. I’ve looked to CNN for clarity. I’ve even turned on Fox News. MSNBC. Blogs. Newspapers (online, of course). Nobody has quick answers for me. But as I read in Matthew 14, the thing to do in times of sorrow, disappointment, and confusion, is to unload it onto Jesus. Even Jesus himself went to pray in solitude when he was troubled. If you spend even more time in Matthew 14, you’ll also read that when we become too focused on ourselves – our circumstances, insecurities, concerns – we begin to sink. When we feel lost, sunk, or in the process of becoming either of the two, the only logical thing to do is turn our eyes upon Jesus.
And yet too many of us are focusing on our “rights.” Some folks are suggesting that the President, along with gun control advocates, is “politicizing tragedy.” It’s ironic to me that these are the same folks who have taken this tragedy as an opportunity to politicize their faith – folks like Mike Huckabee who suggest that God abandoned the children at Sandy Hook because we’ve “systematically removed God” from schools and government. I agree with Huckabee when he says, “Maybe we ought to let him in on the front end and we wouldn’t have to call him to show up when it’s all said and done at the back end,” but I would suggest that this politician is woefully misguided as to where the “front end” is located.
God has no desire to be systematically included in our schools or government. He’s already “systematically included” in many of our churches, and it’s not working out. He doesn’t want to be systematically included in our schools, he wants to be intimately included in our Christians. It is demeaning to the complexity of God’s relationship with mankind to suggest that tragedy occurs because we’ve “kicked God out of our schools.”
This seems like a good place to strongly recommend that you read Rachel Held Evans’ take on this issue.
And stop worrying about your guns. It is irresponsible, reckless, and offensive to witness tragedies such as these and not entertain a serious discussion about gun control. Many of you are absolutely right: guns don’t commit the act of murder. But as a friend of mine put it so well, the guns do make the act of murder so much more efficient. These are machines created for the sole purpose of creating pain and ending life, and they should not be so available to the wrong hands.
Folks are also right in saying there is room for improvement in how we approach mental health issues in our country. But consider this:
I remember trading food with friends in my elementary school cafeteria. Trading a Twinkie for a brownie was allowed. We had a right to have such transactions at my school. But one time, a food fight broke out. Suddenly, the transaction of food changing hands went horribly wrong. The lunch ladies and teachers on cafeteria duty immediately began pulling students out of the cafeteria and broke up the food fight.
You can probably see where I’m going with this. Would it have made any sense for the teachers to let the food fight carry on and first address the psychological reasons behind the poor behavior of a few bad students? Absolutely not. The immediate threat was removed, and later the school administration convened and discussed how to avoid such episodes in the future. Likewise, it makes sense to address the immediate concern, which is whether or not there is a need for tighter gun laws. This issue is multifaceted, and there is too much at stake for us to not give it the proper discourse it deserves. All I’m asking for is the willingness to have a conversation about it. Are you willing to go down a road where your “rights” might be compromised?
Followers of Jesus should be setting an example to the world right now. If you profess to be a follower of Him, this should be reflected in all areas of your life. What is your behavior telling the world about Jesus?
I fear that, like Peter in Matthew 14, too many Christians are focusing on their own interpretation of how the world works. As a result, they’re waist deep and sinking fast in the stormy waters of disillusionment, resentment, selfishness, and confusion.