Fellow Christians: where is our faith?
Fellow Christians: where is our faith? My seminary classmates argued that Christians in America consider the possession of guns reasonable for protection of themselves and their loved ones. I agree that all humans need to be safe and have the right to defend themselves and their loved ones. My question is, do guns really make us safe? And, are we safer because we possess powerful weapons?
Jesus did not consider the sword essential for security. Otherwise, He might have either carried a sword or advocated that His followers do so. He did neither. But let us read what He did say that the sword really does for its owner. In the Garden of Gethsemane, as Jesus had predicted to His disciples, the men stepped forward, seized Jesus and arrested him. With that, one of Jesus’ companions reached for his sword, drew it out and struck the servant of the high priest, cutting off his ear. “Put your sword back in its place,” Jesus said to him, “for all who draw the sword will die by the sword” (Mat. 26:50-52). A sword, like a gun, a weapon for self-protection, when used, not only can wound or kill an assailant, but it ultimately can lead to the death of its owner. We all know that. But isn’t it better, one might ask, when faced with the possibility of death to protect oneself, if necessary, by killing the person who threatens? The answer to that question may be debatable, but the question itself misses Jesus’ point, which is that weapons do not preserve our lives.
Jesus told His followers, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die (John 11:25). Jesus is our security. Christians believe that our lives do not end with death, whether by natural causes or by being killed. Therefore, whether or not we have weapons, we will die without Jesus. Faith in Him is trust in that fact. So, fellow Christians, I ask again, where is our faith?
Jesus said, “When a strong man, fully armed, guards his own house, his possessions are safe. But when someone stronger attacks and overpowers him, he takes away the armor in which the man trusted and divides up his plunder (Luke 11:21-22). Weapons may protect and keep safe – sometimes. But, they are only as good as wielder, and sooner or later, someone more capable comes along and defeats them. Jesus pointed out that arms and armor are not trustworthy. I believe that a healthy dose of faith in Jesus will go a long way toward guiding American Christians on the issue of guns. Jesus intends that we serve as salt, for seasoning and preservation, in this nation and the world (Mat. 5:13). Who knows, if we decide to live by faith in Jesus instead of faith in our guns, the whole nation just might become a little less crazy.