There is no way to minimize tragedy. There is no way to play it down at the expense of families that lost loved ones in a moment. There is no way to wash out the suffering of the injured from what took place in a sleepy little college town in the Northwestern part of our nation. So I won\’t do it. There is every way to twist this event into a political ramrod, to force policy, increase policy or further divide an already divided nation. So I won\’t further the debate or add my two-cents in any one direction. As the church we have a duty to ourselves to put everything in perspective the way that Jesus would. Not with biblical mandates on the validity of the right to bear arms and its constitutionality, but with Jesus\’ worldview. To be honest, writing a blog entitled \”Would Jesus have used guns instead of swords?\” or \”Would Jesus condone beating plowshares into AK\’s\” frankly is a ludicrous post to begin with. I think that Jesus probably had a more Kingdom of Heaven minded approach to things that we must face, embrace and trace out as a part of our existence in the world but not being of the world.
I think Jesus would have understood death. Jesus by the mouth of Joshua in the O.T. presented what he called \”life and death\” before the people of Israel. The N.T. tells that it is appointed for man to die, so from the both testaments in a nutshell I would say that the author of it all is familiar enough with death. Death is all around us, whether it is by the hands of Islamic Jihadists, Pro-choice doctor\’s who support planned parenthood, the soldier defending freedoms of people all over the world, the accidental life-altering event, the fearless criminal, pre-birth complications or just good ol\’ old age. Death is one of those facts that we deal with on a daily basis. Perspectives on death may vary, but the truth is death has been around alot longer than any of us currently living on this planet we call earth. Of course knowing that Jesus familiarity with death and his consistent ability to triumph over it on different occasions in his earthly life and ministry, resolves me to believe that death may be factual but really it is only temporary. Death cannot be prevented no matter how many times we as humans try to use our brains to create possibility, that is one thing we won\’t be able to trump (at least not on our own…wink, wink).
I think that Jesus would understand that this isn\’t a question of religious persecution either or our \”rights\” as believers. Jesus knew that believers would be persecuted, it was a prophesied fact of life for anyone and everyone who believes in Him. He told us we would have trials of various kinds, but we were to be of good cheer, because even though trials would come and go, He had (has) still overcome the world for us. So thats not it.
So then what possibily could this entire event be about? The one thing every believer worth the Faith he has received will know to be true…ETERNITY.
If nine (as of the most current articles) people were shot in the head because of their faith and if it is true that the gunman stated to them that they would go to see God, the one in whom they were professing their belief in, than this was always about ETERNITY– and not about another terrorist act! Nine brothers and sisters, family of God members, were swept up into eternity in a moment. While we mourn the earthly loss with families, the true perspective must be that these who have gone before (albeit violently) stood firm holding fast their profession of faith and boldly entered into THAT REST that we so often have heard about and even sung about. They may be gone physically, but they are in the Presence of ALMIGHTY GOD today! What this should cause in us as believers is a sense of peace and pride. PEACE because we are certain of what awaited them on the other side, and PRIDE because when it came down to it, they stood tall and never backed down!
See without an inkling of perspective on this whole matter, we will sink ever deeper into posts from media outlets talking about what is and isn\’t mentioned in the news. We will be forced to squandor our efforts in beseeching our representatives to push through an agenda (no matter what side of the aisle you fall on) so that our \”way of life\” and dogmatic way of thinking is employed throughout our nation. Believe me when I say that I know the temptation is there and real and justifiable in a purely flesh-driven sense. We need to be participants in the format of government that we have, but we aren\’t to set aside the true biblical point of view that we need to have in order to \”get our way\” in society. My flesh says fight, but my Spirit says stand up and press on for the Prize of the high-calling of God in Christ Jesus!
As I said earlier, I will pray for the families of both the fallen and the injured (all peoples destinations in eternity matter in this life); I will mourn with them as well. But I choose not to listen to the banter that takes the focus off of what really matters in all situations that are in the past, and quite possibly the future. I choose to listen to what the Spirit is saying. I choose to pour oil of gladness and mercy and prayerful repentance. I choose to place eternity ahead of me and keep it in the focused radar of activity. I choose LIFE! I choose eternity with Christ and the ultimate victory in him, not the temporary victories that are short-lived here on earth. End the dabate, strike fear in the heart of the enemy of our souls…embrace the truth of Eternity. Embrace JESUS!