16 December 2012

It's not the gun ... it's the sinner behind the gun.

Two more gun-related tragedies have recently taken place: a shooting at the Clackamas Town Center near Portland, Oregon, and, most recently, the horrific, barbaric shooting of innocent children and teachers at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. (I refuse to glorify the monstrous gunmen by mentioning their names here; they don't need such "fame" for their heinous deeds.)

Our hearts ache and our eyes weep with those who have lost loved ones, those who have been injured, those who have had to witness the carnage, and those whose lives have been changed forever! Lord, have mercy! Lord Jesus, come soon and "lighten the darkness of our hearts by Your gracious visitation" (Collect for Advent 3).

So many people are looking for answers to the questions of "Why?" or "Where was God?" or "How could God let something like this happen?" However, let's always remember that it was not God who brought evil into the world. It was us human beings, when we turned away from God. And let's also remember that our true comfort and peace come in this glorious Good News: God is still with us. In His eternal mercy, He has not abandoned His fallen world, nor His fallen creatures. That's what the Christmas message is all about: God came down to us in His Son Jesus Christ--the Word made flesh--to rescue us from the darkness of our sinful nature, of the fallen world, and of evil itself.

And when folks start blaming the guns ... and when politicians and media types start clamoring for stricter gun laws, as well as lurching toward confiscating guns from those who legally and responsibly own and use them ... let's remember one simple fact. The guns do not pull their own triggers. It takes fallen, sinful human beings to do that. It's not the gun that's the problem in these horrific shooting events; it's the sinful human being behind the gun.

Just in case that point is a bit difficult to swallow, consider this little-reported detail from the recent shooting near Portland, Oregon. It would appear that another sinner and another gun were involved, and for a beneficial and salutary end. But we won't hear that from the national media. And we certainly won't hear that this sinner and his gun actually may have reduced the carnage that the gunman, who did make the news (and generated the hype ... and received his "15 minutes of fame"), could have inflicted.

The gun is not the problem; the sinner behind the gun is!