Gun Control!

No too long ago, I was “reading” a debate on gun control on Facebook.  You have heard all the arguments pro and con, I am sure.  For the gun owner advocates, a common one goes like this:

  • Suppose you’re in your home, and someone breaks in, and is intent on doing harm to your family.  He wants to do horrible things that are unspeakable.  And if you own a gun, you would protect your family right there and then by shooting the intruder dead. 

All of this assumes that you have access to your gun, you’re not completely surprised by the sudden intrusion, that you fire the first shot, and no family member stands between you and the villain. And a host of other things.

What strikes me about this is that many of my Christian Evangelical friends take this even further and claim that it is practically a divine right under the US Constitution to own a weapon.  And this is where I am really grieved.  Just who is it who is the socio-economic-political-religious leader in our lives, and under what governing document do I submit?

But this is not an exegesis on gun control in the scriptures.  This is a comment on something else.

What really, really strikes me about this argument is the powerful use of the imagination.  When I personally envision this scenario, I get very, very scared.  If I let my imagination go, I can get into a frenzy of horrible what-ifs.

But what if we used our imagination differently?

Jesus Christ, the Word, through whom the entire universe was created. The same one, who through His Word, was crucified and raised from the dead, bearing the punishment of my sin.  The same Word who convicted me of my need for a savior, and promised that when I repented and believed, I would have the Holy Spirit living inside of me.  The Word who rebuilt my life, welcomed me into God’s family, prepared an eternal place for me in Heaven, gave me new hope, brought me unfathomable love, showed me greater wisdom, cultivated my relationships, set my priorities straight, kindled in me gratitude, peace, compassion, patience, forbearance, gentleness and joy.  All that – and so much more – by His Grace.

The Word created the Universe, and the Word saved us.  Imagine the Word working through us by the conviction of the Holy Spirit to preach God’s Word to the ends of the earth – which includes our homes.

  • Suppose you’re in your home, and someone breaks in, and is intent on doing harm to your family.  He wants to do horrible things that are unspeakable.  But through the power of the Word, the one who convicts, you share the Gospel.  You imagine the pain of the intruder, you show compassion and love and you offer the salvation of Jesus.  You plead Grace.  Forgiveness.  And he repents.

Imagine what this would do for the church.  Imagine the people who could be reached by this story of God’s saving power.  Imagine how God really does use His church to speak powerfully to anyone needing to be saved.  Imagine that this intruder is loved by God far more than you ever could. And imagine – in fact know – that God’s Son died for everyone.

Imagination can be a powerful motivator for decisions we make.  We imagine crazy outcomes to life situations – gun control, marriages, work, elections, investments, health – and this drives much of what we think and how we act.  We let our imagination be the justification for our life style.  We let our hypothetical imagination be the way we define our identity.  But in Christ, we are emboldened to live a life of Grace under his Lordship.

What if we commit to the Word as the outcome of scenarios in our imagination? What if, when our imagination runs wild, we commit instead to an outcome of gratitude, peace, compassion, patience, forbearance, gentleness and joy?

4 comments
  1. I would rather talk to the person breaking into my house AFTER I had used a firearm to stop him. While there are incidents of people using the Word to stop a crime; there are far more incidences of people using firearms.

    i’m confused over which one takes a greater act of imagination though. We know the incident rate of homes being broken into and given the paucity of reports of crime in progress conversions; we can assume they rarely happen.

    Nor do I see a conflict of living a life of grace under Jesus and armed self defense of my home. Old Testament scripture clearly approved of armed self defense and didn’t Jesus say not a jot of the Law shall pass until till heaven and earth pass?

    • ifpaul said:

      I was not trying to defend or not defend gun control. I think what I was trying to say is that we are beholden to our imaginations. A rethinking of how we use our imagination can change our perspectives. Or at least lead us to see that our dependence on Him is more about our inadequacy than our ability to act in traditional ways.

      • Guess what I’m trying to get at is what makes more sense, what is more based on biblical principles — waiting for a miraculous conversion in the middle of a crime or defending yourself as the Bible shows God commands?

        Imagination is great but is that God wants us to do?

        God gave us tools, gave us guidelines as to when to defend and when not to — Shouldn’t we follow those?

        Help me understand where the desire to imagine a peaceful outcome to a violent crime is scriptural based.

  2. ifpaul said:

    I am not sure I know what the guidelines are that God gave us in regards to defending something and when not to. I definitely don’t see that in the Gospels. In Matthew, Jesus tells the people to love God with all their heart, soul and mind. He also tells us to love our enemies and to pray for those who persecute us. So while my inclination is to act the way Jesus taught in the bible, I do personally recognize the difficulty in this when faced with reality. However, as Jesus said, we are to love God with our mind. Hence, my suggestion that the imagination can be used to focus on different outcomes. All I am trying to do through this blog is raise issues we normal folk face each and every day trying to walk with Jesus. For me, changing my mindset by re-orienting my imagination has been very beneficial in terms of my overall faith walk.

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