People have the right to bear arms under the Constitution of the United States of America but, since many U.S citizens profess to be Christians, I would like to ask, ‘Does God give Christians ‘the right to bear arms’? Apparently, some people think so.
In defence of their ‘rights’, I have often heard it said that “guns don’t kill people…people kill people”, but isn’t it closer to the truth to say that “people with guns kill more people than anyone”?
When statistics for death or murder by gunshot are shown in the media, comparing the figures for the United States with other nations, the U.S. is extremely overrepresented. * “In 2009 – the latest year for which detailed statistics are available – there were 13,636 murders in the US. Of those, 9,146 were caused by firearms.”
Because it is such an ingrained part of American culture, the right to bear arms is seen as “normal” by the American people in general. It does not seem to take into consideration the appropriateness of some people to possess deadly weapons. Some unbalanced individuals have taken the lives of many innocent people, simply because they had easy access to firearms.
Is it a sensible thing to fight violence with violence? Can you prevent violence by being violent yourself? Don’t you then become what you fear?
Perhaps the time has come to leave the wild west in the past.
For Christians, a principle stated by Jesus comes into focus on this issue. On the night of his arrest, when Peter drew his sword and inflicted a wound on the slave of the High Priest, “Then Jesus said to him: “Return your sword to its place, for all those who take the sword will perish by the sword.” (Matthew 26:52) Those who take up weapons, rather than being protected, are more likely to die as a result of them.
How many children are accidently killed or wounded each year because of their parent’s irresponsible gun ownership?
How many lives are lost in High School massacres, gang wars and in disgruntled employee revenge attacks?
Often young people have fed their minds on a steady diet of violent computer games. Shooting and killing are enjoyed on a daily basis in cyberspace. Does this dehumanize victims? Are today’s generation completely desensitized to violence and bloodshed? How does gun ownership meld with this situation?
How many home invasions, ‘carjackings’ and other crimes are carried out at gunpoint?
When you break it all down, doesn’t the ‘winner’ in any armed conflict depend on who has the superior weapon or the worst attitude?
Do we as Christians have our faith in God or in our weapons? If we were to be responsible for the death of another human being, for any reason, we would still have to answer to God for what we had done. Even those who accidently took a life, had a penalty imposed in the laws of God to ancient Israel. (Deuteronomy 19:4-7)
For a Christian, giving one’s life for others does not include taking life from anyone else. (John 15:13)
We are told we must be “faithful unto death”, so some may even lose their present life, because they kept their integrity against the odds…..but Christians know that this not the end for them. Faithfulness will be rewarded.
Remember, some Christians were torn apart by wild beasts in the ancient Roman arena, yet they knew it was not for nothing. They could have lived by compromising their faith but they chose death rather than to disobey their God.
A pinch of incense on the alter as an act of worship to the Emperor was all that was required. They refused, knowing what awaited them.
People who live on the land may need a weapon to keep predators at bay and to hunt for food but does the average person in suburbia need to be armed with a deadly weapon?
Are people too ‘trigger happy’? Some stories coming out in the media seem to have quite a few police officers shooting first and asking questions later.
‘Innocent until proven guilty’ doesn’t seem to apply in many cases…..but then faced with an enraged monster on crystal meth menacing with a gun puts the police in a predicament. It is a very hazardous occupation.
We are living in dangerous times…but doesn’t the possession of weapons just increase the danger?
You cannot have a gun in every home and expect people not to use them in an irresponsible way. When anger inevitably flares in domestic situations for example, often common sense goes out the window. If a gun is to hand, it may well be used in a heated moment.
For those who care what God thinks about this subject, there needs to be a re-evaluation of the whole weapons issue.
Let me ask again, ‘does God give Christians the right to bear arms’? There is nothing in the actions or teachings of Jesus Christ to suggest that violence is ever the right reaction for a Christian in any situation. He tells us to ‘love our enemies and to pray for them.’ (Matthew 5:43-48; Proverbs 24:17; 25:21)
Do we trust God enough to put down our weapons? In these ever increasingly violent times, we will be at no disadvantage if we trust in God to carry out his purpose to eliminate all wickedness from the earth. (Psalm 37:10,11, 29; Revelation 21:3, 4)
The apostle Paul said, “Return evil for evil to no one. Provide fine things in the sight of all men. If possible, as far as it depends upon you, be peaceable with all men. Do not avenge yourselves, beloved, but yield place to the wrath; for it is written: “Vengeance is mine; I will repay, says Jehovah.” But, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink;…..Do not let yourself be conquered by the evil, but keep conquering the evil with the good.” (Romans 12:17-21)
The only way to do that is to disarm ourselves and let God do what he has promised his faithful ones.
“Keep conquering the evil with the good.”
* Reference for gun related stats: http://www.guardian.co.uk/news/datablog/2011/jan/10/gun-crime-us-state