With the recent tragedies and mass shootings in the news, guns and gun control are hot topics again, at least until the national consciousness moves on to the next outrage. I confess I am tempted to give me two cents about what should be done to curb our national obsession with violence. Yet do we really need one more voice adding their policy prescriptions? (The short version, if anyone is interested, is that this is a multifaceted problem requiring a multi-pronged plan of attack including mental health, school security, and yes, gun control.)
So rather than add my voice to the cacophony of others, I want to take a different approach today. I was inspired by someone I follow on Twitter, Joash Thomas. This past week, Joash posted a series of tweets about the Christian’s call to lay down their rights and even their lives on behalf of others. These tweets were met with a surprising amount of backlash from other Christians.
Part of the journey of growing as a disciple of King Jesus is learning that our focus should be on God and others. After all, according to Jesus, the first and second commands of the Hebrew scriptures are to Love God and others.
34 But when the Pharisees heard that he had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered together. 35 And one of them, a lawyer, asked him a question to test him. 36 “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” 37 And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. 38 This is the great and first commandment. 39 And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. 40 On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.”Matthew 22:34-40 English Standard Version
In some of His final words to His followers before the crucifixion, Jesus said:
12 “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. 13 Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.John 15:12-13 English Standard Version
There are many more verses we could add, but I would be remiss if I failed to include Philippians 2:1-11.
1 So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, 2 complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. 3 Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. 4 Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. 5 Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, 6 who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7 but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. 9 Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, 10 so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.Philippians 2:1-11 English Standard Version (Emphasis added)
The call to follow Jesus is a call to put others ahead of yourself, just as Christ did when He gave up the glories of heaven to come to earth, walk among us, and give Himself as a sacrifice for our sakes.
So if we must bear with limits on the type and amount of guns in our collections, the number of bullets in our magazines, or the ease with which we can give or receive guns from others, so be it. Let us be known for our love for others and not our love for our rights, privileges, or comforts. Let us be part of the solutions to the insane amounts of gun violence, not part of the obstacles that prevent any discussion of solutions. Because ultimately, it is not about us.