I am in the midst of a military course that needs to be the focus of all my free time. I therefore got off of social media for the month of October and focus on what I need to do. Nevertheless, it is probably a good thing too because of the topics being raised on social media of late. We have had yet another school shooting. We have had another urgent call for gun control. We have had yet another chorus of responses of why that is not the answer to many people. We go in circles. It is hard not to jump on the media merry go round and join in. So, if for but fifteen minutes, I will in writing this.
I live in a city where violence is also on the rise. Just like I try to explain to my children that school shootings have not been the norm in my lifetime, so has it not been the norm to be eating in New Orleans restaurants and have armed gunmen come in and rob everyone (it has happened three times in New Orleans of late). Also, it has not been the norm for fifty year old men in the Central Business District to be robbed or beaten around dawn. This too has happened twice in a week. The chaos, as I call it, is getting closer.
The response to the rising chaos nationally and locally has been the typical arguments. One side wants to find a way to get guns out of the hands of the people who commit these crimes. The other side sees this as impossible and wants everyone to have more guns to respond when the chaos rises in their midst. But guns are not going to go away. And more guns surely are not the solution to our problems.
The only way to hold back the chaos is turning to the one who conquered it in the first place. God turned back the chaos in the beginning. And God’s son gave us the prescription forward – loving God and loving each other. The only way to turn this around is to start putting God first again and to care about our neighbors anew. We have to be the type of people that no longer find it acceptable to us that anyone, anywhere, has to live with chaos as the norm. Somehow we have to realize that we are responsible for each other. And we really do not live in paradise, or even in freedom, if someone else is living in a hellish existence. Pretending that other people’s lives are not our problem is a delusion.
Psalm 49 is all about the futility of trying to build up and protect wealth in this world. All it does is lead to death. And there is only one who can save us from the power of the grave.
The way back to a more stable world will not be easy. I would not serve in the military, and I would not support law enforcement as I do, if I did not believe that sometimes we need force to hold the forces of chaos at bay. But at the same time, just as we cannot bomb someone into peace, or we cannot jail enough people to stop crime, fighting fire with fire is a holding operation at best. The only thing we can do to change it, really change it, is not to be overcome with evil but overcome evil with good (Romans 12:21).
What is needed is people willing to step onto the dangerous streets and show people a better way. To remind people that they are wondrously made and there is a way out. We have to show people that the chaos is not inevitable or acceptable, for ourselves, or for them. We have to invest in love more than body armor. We have to have more compassion than bullets. We have to show them who and what there is to live for.
Jesus Christ is still the way, the truth, and the light. He is the light of the world. The only way out of the chaos is not only to live his way, but to teach his way, and to trust in his way.
Until next time,