Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Protected most of all from ourselves...

In the aftermath of the Sandy Hook shootings and the recollection of those mass murders that went before, we have been subjected to a torrent of experts advising us on the cause and the solution to the problem of violence.  God bless them.  We certainly do need all the help we can get.  We live in a violent society in which guns and killing has become sport to occupy our leisure in the video games and violent TV and movies all around us.  No one a couple of centuries ago could have foreseen the day when the primary use of guns was not to put food on the table or protect the household.  Though we no longer depend upon guns for these, we have invented a sport of guns that flourishes as much in the virtual world as it does in the real world.  Now, don't get me wrong.  I am not saying that the solution lies in gun control.  What I am saying is that the problem lies within the hearts and minds of people.  Violence comes not from the guns but guns become a place where the violence within is released.

We have come also to expect that the government should protect us.  But from whom?  Do we need more security?  Do we need more police and armed guards and metal detectors and scanners?  Do we need a test to prove mental and emotional sanity so we can identify those prone to act out violence?  Do we need gun control laws or better enforcement?  Do we need rules on what can be shown on TV or seen in movies or played on video game consoles?  Do we need someone to check up on parents who allow younger children access to things that should be reserved for more mature youth or those who fail to secure their weapons when not in use or those who use TV as a baby sitter without paying attention to what is watched by their young children? 

The truth is we need to be protected from ourselves.  The seeds of our own destruction come not from others but from within us, from the well of sin, destruction, violence, and death that has become our nature since the fall.  Since we need to protected from ourselves, the answer lies not in a police state stripped of freedoms but rather in the God who alone can create in us new and contrite hearts.  If it is the man or woman or child in the mirror who is the potential source of unrestrained anger, bitterness, immorality, and destruction, then we need the God who writes His Law in our hearts and a morality which is not legislated for the moment but stands for all eternity.

I find it interesting that in the aftermath of Sandy Hook we have heard little from those who object to the nearly constant mention of God by President, parent, and pundit.  We have heard hardly anything from the NRA.  We have heard hardly anything from the liberal political types whose Hollywood lives package and sell to us violence in all its destructive force (think Quentin Tarantino as but one example) or the actors who bristle at any suggestion of limits on their creative license to portray us at our immoral best.  But we have heard from pastors, priests, rabbis, and bishops.  We have heard touching words of compassion and forgiveness from a parent whose own grief and loss is somehow big enough to feel for the family of the shooter.  We have heard prayers and sermons and benedictions and blessings in which the name of God, the mercy of God, and the wisdom of God is called forth in our time of great weakness and need.

If we need to be protected from ourselves, the government is a poor parent, a fickle one, and an expensive one (both in the costs of money and freedom sacrificed in the name of eradicating evil).  But this is exactly the thing at which the Lord is good, His steadfast and enduring love accomplishes, and on which the light of the cross shines forth with the greatest power of all -- to heal our wounds, to restore our joy, to establish our security, and to redeem us from the enemies without and within. 

No one is foolish enough to think that if God had been mentioned in the classroom this evil would not have occurred... but since it die occur, the only and the rightful place we look for comfort and redemption is the name of the Lord, in the face of His Son, in the suffering that relieves suffering, and in the death the kills death once and for all.

Have mercy on me, O God,
    according to your steadfast love;
according to your abundant mercy
    blot out my transgressions.
Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity,
    and cleanse me from my sin!
For I know my transgressions,
    and my sin is ever before me.
Against you, you only, have I sinned
    and done what is evil in your sight,
so that you may be justified in your words
    and blameless in your judgment.
Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity,
    and in sin did my mother conceive me.
Behold, you delight in truth in the inward being,
    and you teach me wisdom in the secret heart.
Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean;
    wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
Let me hear joy and gladness;
    let the bones that you have broken rejoice.
Hide your face from my sins,
    and blot out all my iniquities.
10 Create in me a clean heart, O God,
    and renew a right spirit within me.
11 Cast me not away from your presence,
    and take not your Holy Spirit from me.
12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation,
    and uphold me with a willing spirit.
13 Then I will teach transgressors your ways,
    and sinners will return to you.
14 Deliver me from bloodguiltiness, O God,
    O God of my salvation,
    and my tongue will sing aloud of your righteousness.
15 O Lord, open my lips,
    and my mouth will declare your praise.
16 For you will not delight in sacrifice, or I would give it;
    you will not be pleased with a burnt offering.
17 The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit;
    a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.
18 Do good to Zion in your good pleasure;
    build up the walls of Jerusalem;
19 then will you delight in right sacrifices,
    in burnt offerings and whole burnt offerings;
    then bulls will be offered on your altar.


Dr.D said...

We have the 2nd Amendment primarily so that we can defend ourselves from a tyrannical government. The Founding Fathers were acutely aware of the fact that governments tend to tyranny at times, and that in such events, then only remedy is revolt. Revolt can only succeed if the people are armed, and that is why they provided that the people must always be allowed to be armed for their own security.

The trends in American government today bear out this concern. We have a government that is trampling on freedom in ways unimagined 50 years ago, all in the name of "security" or "equality" or something similar. This is all a fraud, but it provides a cover story for government tyranny. The day for armed revolt is likely not far away now. Be ready, be watchful!!

Fr. D+
Anglican Priest5985 fewss

Paul said...

If the problem is within us, and it is, not amount of outward legal controls will work the necessary changes in our hearts. Only the Word and Spirit of God can do that. Never commit murder: words stricken from the halls of government schools for a generation. Ideas have consequences.

Anonymous said...

Fr. D

In my understanding Lutherans do not regard the government as a necessary evil or that citizens have a duty to revolt against it, even when it becomes tyrannical. Rather, government is a good gift of God as part of his created order. It bears the sword for a reason, and even in its corruption and tyranny God's providence is at work. He raises up nations and lays others low, according to his own purposes. God requires of us faith, and thus only requirements of the government that coerce us to place our faith in something other than God meet the Scriptural threshold for disobedience. Equating political rights and freedoms with Christian freedom and duties is dangerous. Scripture teaches us not to be ready and watchful for earthly revolution but for the devil, which we resist in much different ways than are suggested here.