Getting to heart of [gun] violence

It happened yet again: another senseless attack where people were brutally shot down and lost their lives. We weep and mourn as it is tragic and painful to see the lives of anyone taken, no matter how it occurs. All lives matter and I pray for the families and friends of those who lost loved ones. Yet, we want answers. Why, why, WHY?!? And, how can we prevent this kind of thing from happening again?

We search for answers, the rhetoric begins to fly, social media blows up, the talking heads spin their viewpoints, politicians pander and make speeches, voices get raised, and fingers get pointed. Everyone has an argument and a “solution.” So, why are we still here, dealing with this…again?

Today I want to dig into the murky, sensitive, complicated, and emotional waters of guns. Specifically, gun bans or gun control.

Uh oh, red flag, everyone’s ears are now positioned for attack regarding what I am about to say [or not say]!  And, I will probably end up offending someone here, on some level.  Yet, I have a viewpoint and want to have the discussion dig deeper, past the political and special interest talking points, and really seek out the heart of this issue.

Let’s stop, breathe, grab a cup of coffee, and sensibly look into this issue.

The mantra and argument goes like this: “Guns kill people!” So, “let’s ban all guns!” [i.e. guns, rifles, semi/automatic, etc.]. However, this argument is simply not true. Guns do not kill people. Actually, technically speaking, it’s the bullets within the guns that kill people.  The bullets penetrate the person, stopping the heart, and killing them.

Okay, so let’s ban all bullets, and guns!” … But, wait a minute, that’s not right either. Bullets can’t load themselves into a gun and then shoot themselves into a person, killing them. That’s simply ludicrous!

Let’s see, there needs to be an answer here somewhere. Let me think, maybe something will trigger my thoughts. – Wait…that’s it! — It’s the gun’s “trigger” that kills people!  Yes, when the trigger is pulled, the bullets go through the gun, killing the person. So, “let’s ban all triggers, and bullets, and guns!”  Yes, once we do this there won’t be any more killing in the world. Oh, that’s right: triggers can’t pull themselves [that would be weird], let alone load bullets into a gun, shooting the gun and killing a person.

Okay, so if it’s not guns, bullets, or triggers it must be something else that makes this all happen in order to senselessly take a human life. I mean, how do the bullets get into the gun and how does the gun get pointed at a person and how does the trigger get pulled, thus releasing the bullets that come out from the gun that enters a person, stopping their heart, killing them? — What is the answer? If only we could get to the root and heart of this issue.

But, we need to ban or control something, right? After all, that makes us feel better and gives us the power. Unfortunately, simply banning or trying to control [something] will never completely resolve things like terror attacks. Those measures are simply a Band-Aid that never gets to the heart of the issue and certainly won’t solve it. It never gets to and cures the cancer; it simply tries to manage it.

You see, “banning” or “controlling” is a very convenient cop-out that misses the real issues and blames something else. If we simply banned guns, bullets, and triggers, we would still have terror attacks, death, and suffering from the use of other weapons. There is a much deeper and internal issue that needs to be dealt with here, and it has nothing to do with guns. And this issue, for some, is simply too inconvenient to acknowledge and deal with. But, it’s still there. And it requires heart surgery, not a Band-Aid.

The Bible clearly points out why violent acts occur, and it has nothing to do with guns, knives, bombs, mental illness, or even a warped religious ideology.

Mark 7:20-25 states, “20 And he said, “What comes out of a person is what defiles him. 21 For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, 22 coveting, wickedness, deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride, foolishness. 23 All these evil things come from within, and they defile a person.”

Romans 5:12-21 goes on to say, “12 Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned13 for sin indeed was in the world before the law was given, but sin is not counted where there is no law. 14 Yet death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those whose sinning was not like the transgression of Adam, who was a type of the one who was to come.
15 But the free gift is not like the trespass. For if many died through one man’s trespass, much more have the grace of God and the free gift by the grace of that one man Jesus Christ abounded for many. 16 And the free gift is not like the result of that one man’s sin. For the judgment following one trespass brought condemnation, but the free gift following many trespasses brought justification. 17 For if, because of one man’s trespass, death reigned through that one man, much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man Jesus Christ.
18 Therefore, as one trespass led to condemnation for all men, so one act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all men. 19 For as by the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man’s obedience the many will be made righteous. 20 Now the law came in to increase the trespass, but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more, 21 so that, as sin reigned in death, grace also might reign through righteousness leading to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”

1 John 3:12 further reminds us, “We should not be like Cain, who was of the evil one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his own deeds were evil and his brother’s righteous.”

The Apostle Paul also reminds us in Romans 7:18 that, “For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out.”

James 1:13-15 states, “13 Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God,” for God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no one. 14 But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. 15 Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death.”

The problem all boils down to our hearts, our trespass, our disobedience…our sin. These are the things bring death, both physical and spiritual, and ultimately, eternal separation from God. Our sin makes us utilize a weapon [gun, knife, bomb, bat, sword, car, airplane, etc.], put in the bullets, pull the trigger, and kill another human being.

Yet, if we deal with the sin issue, I suggest that we won’t have to deal with a gun issue. So, how can we do this?

Back to the Romans 5 passage, while we read here about death we also read about life, real life that can only be found in Jesus Christ. He is the only One who can heal our hearts, forgive our sins, make us right [again] with God, and give us eternal life. Our sinful hearts trigger our sinful actions that produce death. However, a personal relationship with Jesus Christ changes our hearts, changes our actions, and gives us new [and eternal] life.

John 3:16-19 states, “16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God. 19 And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil.”

1 John 5:11-12 adds to this and states, “11 And this is the testimony, that God gave us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. 12 Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life.”

So, are you ready for heart surgery or do you still want to use Band-Aids? It all comes down to a choice: Light and life through Jesus Christ? Or evil, darkness, and death, on your own?

I choose Jesus Christ and I choose life. What do you choose?

-Will Hoyler

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