Monday, March 26, 2018

It's Not a Gun Problem.

A few months ago, following the tragic school shooting in Parkland, Florida, my wife and I had a conversation with our boys. With the unfortunately common occurrence of school shootings, we have always tried to prepare them, as best we know how, should something like that happen at their school. But with the gun debate fires being stoked, as they always are after a shooting, we took the opportunity to help our sons understand the heart of the problem. As we talked about guns, safety, and all the topics surrounding them, we wanted them to be able to talk intelligibly about the real issue at hand. The real issue isn't about an age limit to buy guns, because how many underage kids find ways to buy alcohol and cigarettes? It isn't about outlawing certain types of guns, because if that worked we would make certain drugs illegal, right? It isn't about tighter regulations because when was the last time a drunk driver cared about regulations prohibiting driving while impaired? It isn't about background checks or bump stocks or anything else that the media and some in government want to point to as the problem. The real problem when it comes to guns, as it is in so many other areas of life, is it's a heart problem.

When my boys were about 5 and 6 years old, my wife and I gave them each a .22 rifle for Christmas. The guns were kid-sized and had safety locks built in. We went over safety, marksmanship, and all the other necessary information for using guns. As they've grown they have advanced to larger guns and use them for target practice and deer hunting. All of the repeated safety talks and gun handling comments are important, but something more important has shaped my boys' views on guns than any talk dad could give them. From the time my boys were old enough to be taught by my wife and I, we have taught them according to our Christian faith. We've taught them about a love for God and service to Him. We've also taught them about what it means to show God's love to others, namely how you treat other people. By training our kids from a very early age to respect people, respect life, and to respect God, we've been able to raise boys who have compassion and love for other people. The heart problem that lies behind the gun debate issue is that too many people in recent decades have not been taught respect for human life, compassion for fellow people, and, unfortunately, no love for God. We cannot expect men and women who have never been taught compassion for people or respect for human life to grow into teenagers or adults and magically change into those who do. We can't have shootings, blame it on the guns used, and expect things to change. Until there is a change in the hearts of men and women, these types of tragedies will continue. Take away the guns and man will find a way to murder and destroy life. Look at Cain and Abel and the millions killed for centuries before gunpowder was invented. It is a heart problem and until there is a change of heart, people will continue down the rabbit hole of death and destruction.

If you want to see a different world where children do not have to worry about whether they will have someone shooting at them in school, then it takes more than marches on the capital, walking out of class, or outlawing guns. What it takes for our society to change is for people on an individual level to change and for this change of heart to be taught to the next generation. The greatest change of heart that will help is to allow Jesus Christ to forgive you of your sins so He can replace your heart of stone with a new heart. If you want to learn more about how to do this click here or here. If you have compassion and love for other people, do your best to pass it along to the generations coming behind you. Because if we don't teach them, no one else will.

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