Gun Control (and, Authority…)

It is with a bit of reservation that I essay on the issue of gun control.  Not that I’m hesitant to wade into a shark tank, but I have mixed emotions about the subject and to me it’s only part of the matter.  Over the years, we’ve all heard the various little catchphrases to describe how folks feel about gun control…”Criminals love gun control…it makes their jobs safer”  or “Gun control means proper breath control and trigger squeeze”, and my personal favorite…”A gun in the hand is better than a cop on the phone”.  The subject is a passionate one from both sides, as each has relevant points.

cop heavy

As I briefly touched on in my blog about evil, I believe criminal activity cannot be legislated away by acting as legal deterrents.  It’s part of the fabric of human nature.  Sure, we need rules, regulations and laws…as that’s what makes us a civilized society (please don’t ask me to define a “civilized society”).  No, I’m referring to the knee jerk reactions by some who feel that controlling the access and ownership of firearms by law abiding citizens is going to make the general populace safer and less susceptible to a tragedy occurring.  It’s like putting a band-aid on a bullet wound, (please excuse the comparison) as the bleeding is not going to stop.  Listen, I certainly believe criminal background checks that include some form of a national mental health database screen should be a precursor to purchasing a firearm.  You should not be able to walk into your local gun shop with a library card as ID and purchase a firearm.  But, banning outright the purchase of this or that type of weapon or certain types of ammunition and limiting magazine capacities is not going to stop someone from waltzing into a school and committing an act the likes of what happened in Sandy Hook.  Whether someone wants to get their hands on a BB gun or an assault weapon, they’re going to do it.  There are just too many avenues available outside the legal processes of purchasing a firearm if someone is bent on getting one.

In New Jersey, you stand a better chance of crossing the Delaware River blindfolded while walking on a tightrope than you have getting a permit to purchase a firearm.  In Colorado however, all you need is a driver’s license.  But, conversely and according to the national UCR (Uniform Crime Reports), New Jersey ranks 24th in homicides per 100,000 people and Colorado ranks 35th.  So, what does that say about one state having stricter gun control regulations than another and their respective crime rates?  I’m really not a statistics type of person, but to me, it does raise an eyebrow.

From the national sound bite stage, it appears the belief is such that if we enact more gun control laws and regulations, criminals and those with mental illnesses will be more apt to abide by them.  That statement alone should give one pause…

To make the circus even more festive, look around and you’ll see the gun control hypocrisy flourishing in this country.  Take for example Mayor Michael Bloomberg of New York City, one of the biggest gun control proponents in the nation.  Anytime he leaves his home, he has no less than two to five armed bodyguards with him at all times.  Yet, his platform is as such that it would greatly diminish the ability for you and me to defend ourselves and our families in our own homes.  See the subtle incongruity?  Then, there are those who believe we should have the “right” to possess any type of weapon we desire, (i.e. rocket or LAWS launchers, .50 cal. Sniper rifles, etc.).  And, when you see some of these people interviewed on TV in their living rooms, (the media’s best choice) they’re apt to be wearing camouflage and surrounded by no less than a dozen weapons while their children are walking around unsupervised.

Look…I know the argument and understand it.  If guns are made less “available” to the general public, then they’ll be less apt to be stolen in a home burglary, used in a crime by someone in a household where they’re present or played with by children in a residence where the firearms aren’t properly secured.  But, I also believe that responsible gun ownership is something sorely lacking by some folks who own guns and could be one of the keys to preventing many types of violent circumstances.

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As a Christian, I realize that acts of violence are things we should and do abhor in the majority of life’s circumstances.  However…that doesn’t mean we are to be doormats.  I will fight for my life and the life of my family at every turn should violence present itself as a threat.  And, I’m sure those on the other side of the aisle would understand even that logic.

Now to my point and I’ll put it to bed.  I respect and yield to ALL authority as it stands in our great country, from the President all the way down to the local council person.  As I said, this is what makes us a civilized society.  Take a look at Romans 13:1-7.  Verse 1 (NIV) states; “Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established.  The authorities that exist have been established by God”.  It’s pretty clear and succinct.  God appoints all authority.  Now, those in positions of authority may not always make the right decisions or have the purest integrity and honor, and I may not understand or even like their decisions.  But, they were placed in their respective positions for a reason.  And, I’ll continue to pray for them that they have sound minds and exact wisdom as the Lord would lead.  I may not win any popularity contests with my thoughts on this subject, but it is what I believe.

So, do I believe that there are some in authority who want to remove ALL firearms from our homes and restrict private gun ownership? Yes, I do.  But, this is when prudence and sound judgment should prevail over rash, impulsive and ill-informed decisions made to appease an uneasy public with regards to gun control.  And, I’m not quite sure that’s happening.

Oath

The least we can do is pray for those people in authority, all authority….as theirs is not an easy job.

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Being sent…

The connotation of being sent can take on various meanings.  We can be “sent” to many places for many reasons, some physically and some figuratively.  We may be sent to the store for a gallon of milk, we could be sent to a particular job location by our bosses, or we might be sent to a website after making a Google query.  We can even think about something and our minds will send us to the place we want to think about.  Like I said, the term can take on many forms.  The aforementioned examples may not seem noteworthy as such, but anytime we’re sent somewhere you can believe this…it is not first without a request of some type being made and it will be for a specific reason and purpose.  No matter what the catalyst.

troops sent

As sons of God, those of us who believe in Jesus Christ and God the Father, you probably already know about being sent.  From a spiritual perspective, it can also vary greatly.  For those of us who may have once been in a church (or, are still in a church), we may have been asked and sent to perform a specific task or job by a Pastor or elder for any number of reasons.  Or, we may have felt the need or calling to serve in a particular ministry and sent to it as the Lord leads.  The early church knew what this meant, as the term “apostle” means “one who is sent” and it has the same designation today.  For the most part, being sent carries different levels of responsibilities, dependant on the scope of the mission.  We receive our orders, we respond (or, don’t respond) and are sent.  It’s when being sent means travelling 1,800 miles across the country away from family, friends, fellowship and our spiritual father that can make it take on a whole new meaning.  This is what happened to me and my family.

Sent

To preface my point however, let me say this…as sons of God, don’t ever think for a moment that we’re not going to be sent in one fashion or another.  It may not be across the country, but it may be to a place (physically or spiritually) where you may or may not be too comfortable or that may stretch you to a point where you feel you’re being palpably changed or even broken.  When we’re spiritually sent, you can bet that there’s going to be work done…physical, emotional, mental and spiritual work.  Sometimes it’s pleasant and often times not, the reasons for which will sometimes greatly differ from why you initially thought you were being sent.  But, know this…the final outcome will always be for God’s glory and your benefit.  Every time.  No matter the outcome.

We have to become adept at seeing things from God’s perspective, from His throne room.  This way, we’ll always know that it will be about His desires and not ours.  This is absolutely key in our walk with Him.  Jesus was sent by the Father as He affirmed in John 4:34 (NIV) “My food”, said Jesus, “is to do the will of Him who sent me and to finish His work”.   And, Jesus wasn’t alone.  He also sent his disciples out into the world to do the work of the Father, (see the books of Matthew and John).  So, when we pray, know that the thing or things we’re praying about may involve us being sent.

As I said, there are awesome benefits of being sent, and for each one of us these benefits will differ greatly in delivery, scope and breadth.  Scripture talks about one of the greatest gifts being received as a result of someone being sent.  Jesus speaks of this prior to His crucifixion in John 16:5-7 (NIV); “Now I am going to Him who sent me…But I tell you the truth: It is for your good that I am going away.  Unless I go away, the Counselor will not come to you, but if I go, I will send him to you”.  This gift was the Holy Spirit and it is still being received today!

My family was sent.  We were sent from New Jersey to Colorado.  And, the work being done has been difficult.  But, we know that it is for a purpose.  His purpose.  We stand at the foot of the Cross waiting for the next phase of our journey.  But, we don’t stand by idly, casually or impatiently.  We stand with firm resoluteness…unyielding and unwavering as the assignment continues.

I pray that you being sent bears incredible fruit.  And, how can it not?  As when we look at it from God’s perspective, we know that it came straight from the throne room itself.

May your journey be as rich as ours has been…

work as sent