In the wake of the Connecticut school shooting, Rush Limbaugh noted that guns have been around for a long, long time, but the kind of school shootings, mall shootings, theatre shootings, etc. we are experiencing have been on the rise. Limbaugh’s astute point is that guns have not changed – people have. Limbaugh concluded his Friday afternoon comments (aimed at the “gun-control” crowd) by challenging the liberals to change people – reinstitute the teaching of “virtue.” Limbaugh’s point is valid. External restrictions on guns, alcohol, drugs, etc. will not solve the escalating problem with violence. Many localities with the strictest gun control policies actually have the highest incidence of violence.
Limbaugh’s comments, however, expose the difference between a Christian and a Conservative.
Conservatives have come to the logical conclusion that virtue and self-restraint are better than immorality and “personal freedom.” Christians agree with that point. Thus, most Christians rightly consider themselves conservatives. Christians, however, hold to “virtue” (Christian values) based on biblical convictions not logic. Believers understand that they are children of God, and, as children of God, our Heavenly Father has guidelines for His children. We ask, “How does my Father want me to conduct my affairs?” A believer in his right mind could never conclude that it is his prerogative to enter an elementary school and kill children. That would be heinous!
My heart breaks for the parents who lost their child in this senseless shooting. I pray that believers in the area will have an opportunity to embrace those families and shower them with God’s kindness and love. In the midst of this tragedy many will ask, “Why did God let this happen?” The answer is simple, but not easily accepted. Abandoning God and failing to restrain the inherent sin nature of man leads to uncontrolled, violent, and selfish acts. The further people stray from God, the more radical their behavior becomes — and the more severely God will ultimately judge.
Think for a minute of the Old Testament passages that talk about human sacrifice – even child sacrifices. These cultures were so far from God, and so entrenched in their sinful ways that, at times, God himself ordered them eliminated. God has the prerogative to do that. God noted in Genesis 6:5 that “the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.” The flood in Noah’s day was a response to unrestrained, sinful human nature.
My heart breaks for devastated families and friends of the victims. Their hurt will be life-long. The short-sighted solution is to try to collect guns. The real solution is much deeper. People must turn to the creator and cry out, “what is wrong?” The divine answer is, “you need to be reconciled to God” (II Cor. 5:14-21). The most helpful thing I can do for any man is tell him how to be reconciled to God. Unreconciled man is a danger to himself and everyone around him. Most will abuse their fellow man verbally and emotionally, but some will carry that abuse to the physical realm – including what we saw in an elementary school in Connecticut. Whether it is “minor” physical abuse or mass shootings, I fear that we will continue to have our hearts broken until we implement the real solution.
Doug Wright is pastor of Keystone Baptist Church, Berryville, VA.