I try to stay away from politics now and could really care less what political party you identify as. My goal these days is to share the good news about Jesus Christ, His Kingdom come, and the amazing reality of having a relationship with Him. Sometimes there are issues that arise that I have not spoken on because I truly do not know all the details or I believe that it’s a point of view that really has no merit in being shared.
With gun violence, more stringent background checks and increased mental health resources can make a dent, but neither of these approaches, however, actually gets rid of the root problem, which is evil. As Christians, we believe in the unseen, and that Spiritual warfare is very real.
So what if then, we moved this debate out of blaming people, fear and judgment and more into an overall understanding?
In many of the recent tragedies, the shooters were described as loners, full of emotional pain and who, at times, were blatantly antisocial. Most of society simply ignores those people, further marginalizing them.
I believe that evil thrives in isolation and love flourishes in community. Grace works that way. It’s a kind word from a gentle person with an impossible prayer. It’s a force sometimes transmitted best hand to hand in a dark place.
Jesus’ earthly ministry reached for people on the margins. He touched people no one else would touch. He spoke hope to people consumed by despair. And as the Lord extended Himself in compassion to meet the needs of the sick, the lost and the hopeless, people then turned their hearts to Him. When we love others like He did and does, we follow His pattern for changing lives. Most people need love and acceptance a lot more than they need advice.
Jesus said we’d know the extent of our love for God by how well we loved people. “Isolationist” Christianity impacts no one. Can you imagine Jesus saying, “I’m not really a people person?” Playing it “safe” by removing yourself from any chance of influencing other people is not what Jesus was about. Following Jesus means taking on the risk of rejection.
Also, faith without works is dead. Christianity was never supposed to be just an idea or a feeling, but a conviction that transforms the way we live day to day, a belief that reshapes our values and intentional choices to know Him and make Him known more. The Bible is a tool to help us personally encounter Jesus, not to publicly bulldoze those we either disagree with or fear.
Bob Goff wrote in his book Love Does: “I don’t think Bible verses were meant to be thrown like grenades at each other. They were meant for us to use to point each other toward love and grace and invite us into something much bigger.” and “I used to be afraid of failing at something that really mattered to me, but now I’m more afraid of succeeding at things that don’t matter.”
So love is not an affection which produces fear. In the love which we have for a parent, a child, a friend, there is no fear. If a man had perfect love to God, he would have no fear of anything – for what would he have to dread? He would have no fear of death, for he would have nothing to dread beyond the grave. It is guilt that makes people fear what is to come; but he whose sins are pardoned, and whose heart is filled with the love of God, has nothing to fear in this world or the world to come.
His unconditional love in us and through us delivers the soul (our mind, will, and emotions) from all apprehension of the future. So may His love, grace, hope and peace be in and go through us to reach other lost and hurting people today.
Remember that our greatest battle is between fear and faith. Fear results from believing the lie. Faith comes from knowing the truth. You are a child of God, you are loved, you have a purpose and you are free.
Know this: A child of God is no longer a slave to fear.