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Be of good cheer; I have overcome the world

“In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)

It’s days like today when the woes prophesied in the scriptures seem all too real. The horror and tragedy that can be inflicted upon many by a few is truly depressing. It is quite natural to react with anger and fear and hate. That is what they expect of us. They want nothing more than for us to despair and wail and perpetuate the bile they have heaped upon us.

Let us not give in. The weapons against terror and hate are hope and love. We can mourn the fallen and injured out of love, not fear that it could have been us. We can strive to make the world safer through understanding not revenge. We can find closure with forgiveness rather than waiting for an imperfect justice.

We cannot produce peace by reshaping the world ourselves, but we can reshape ourselves to find peace in the world. That is how we win this war. We defeat those who would terrorize us by building our own unshakable peace, knowing that we have done what we can and will not live in fear of what we cannot control or predict.

“And peace to men of good will.”

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Guns & the Gospel

You know, I grew up in a family with guns. I learned how to shoot targets in scouts. I appreciate the second amendment. However, at some point, you have to say, “enough is enough.” The ability to own a gun is the ability to take a life. Given the number of completely innocent lives taken in the past week, let alone year, we cannot stand by and do nothing to protect those innocent people.

I’m not necessarily saying we should dramatically cut gun permits, though that might be a good option. In my mind a better solution would be to have some real consequences for “innocent” gun owners whose weapons discharge accidentally or are used by someone else to commit a crime. If you are not taking care of your weapon sufficiently to protect its misuse, that is gross negligence, because you have delegated your ability to kill to someone else who was not responsible.

That is where I stand on gun laws. You can have your guns, as long as you take the responsibility for any life harmed by your guns.

As for myself owning a gun, I have no desire to do that. It seems clear to me that Christ’s teachings permit defending yourself and your family with bloodshed, but advise us to rise above violence. “But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also.” (Matt 5:39)

Don’t get me wrong, defending the innocent is a righteous cause; preserving freedom is a just cause; upholding your right to worship the true God is a just cause, but none of these are a necessity. God will save the innocent – if not in this world, then the next. Our most important freedom, to choose our own actions, can never be fully taken from us. We can worship God in any circumstance. If we are righteous, God will fight our battles.

Yes, we live in a wicked world. There are serious threats to our physical and spiritual safety all around us. We need to be able to defend ourselves. You may choose a handgun. I will choose the armor of God. I can’t prevent all potential threats to my sons’ health, but I can prevent any accident that might arise from finding a gun in our home. The rest I can only leave to God.

Swords to plowshares, brothers.