Growing up, my dad never was much of an “inside person.” About the only time, he actually stayed in the house was Saturday mornings, when he would watch an old Western usually starring John Wayne. The message in those westerns was simple, there are good men and there are bad men. Ultimately, evil men are defeated by good men. My dad always taught me to aspire to be a good man. Stand up for those who couldn’t stand up for themselves. Do the right thing, even if no one else would.
Right and wrong is always a topic that is sure to ignite spirited conversation. Some people believe in absolute right and wrong, some believe in gray areas, and some are in between. I feel like I am the latter. Some areas are black and white, and then there are some things that I have to be looked at objectively. Abortion for instance to me is a black and white issue, whereas immigration needs to be looked at.
As of late, we have seen that there are evil men (and women) driven by an ideology that demands the death of any who do not follow it. Totalitarianism is their goal. Some of the anti-Obama crowd would call him a totalitarian. While I do think him a tyrant, he is not a totalitarian. If he were, no objection to him would be allowed. Sure, he scorns anyone who disagrees with him, but he doesn’t imprison or kill them. The type of governmental system that the Islamic terrorists that shot up San Bernadino are looking for is a total and complete submission to Islamic rule of law and its precepts. There is no room for “gray areas” in their view. There is no room for interpretation. Their rules, their laws, or death.
In the westerns that I watched growing up, we would have referred to them as the black hats. The bad guys always wore the black hats, whereas the good guys wore the white hats. I am, or at least I strive to be, a man who would wear a white hat. I believe in freedom. I believe in Jesus. His words guide my life. John 15:13 reads, “Greater love hath no man than this that a man lay down his life for his friends.” Christ was talking about sacrificing Himself for the good of His disciples and ultimately the world.
So here is a confession based on my understanding of John 15:13. I am a Christian, and I have a gun. I am not careless with my firearm. I have all the paperwork and the appropriate licensing. I do not twirl my gun on my finger, nor point it carelessly. I keep my gun safe and so far, the only thing to feel its wrath are some paper targets, a few pumpkins, and a Folgers coffee can. Scoffers of my understanding will point to Matthew 26:52 where Jesus rebukes Peter for attacking one of the ones who would arrest Him. “Those who live by the sword will die by the sword.” However, it seems to me that Jesus was simply blocking Peter at the moment from trying to intervene in God’s will.
I am a husband and a father. Going home to my family is the best part of my day. I owe them a long life of support, teaching, and nurture. I also owe them protection. I have no desire to die in a firefight with someone who wishes me ill. However, my faith and upbringing would compel me to run towards the sound of danger. I will engage the enemy to protect the innocent. I will stand against evil, even if I am the only one to do so.
Current events have opened my eyes a little wider. They have me paying attention more to my surroundings. Some would call it paranoia while others call it common sense. Either way, vigilance is the order of the day. Some people value discourse and opposing views. Some, wish to enslave the whole world to their ideology.
While I am to turn the other cheek and pray for those who persecute me, I cannot imagine that Christ intended for us to offer ourselves up to be murdered by anyone who aims to impose an evil ideology on the entire world.
So here I am, a Christian with a gun. I desire to harm no one. I would never actively seek to shoot anyone. I don’t want to go out in a blaze of glory. I want to grow old with my wife and watch my child grow up. I want to sip coffee with the old geezers at church.
My Savior said, however, that no greater love has a man than he would lay down his life for another. It is with a sacrificial love that I would place myself between an innocent and someone with evil intent. Whether it’s a terrorist or a crazy white guy in a theater it is my belief that I am to do what I can to protect those around me.
However, the evil person that is trying to take my life needs to know: I am a Christian and I have a gun. My aim is true, and my conscience clear. I will not hesitate to defend myself should I deem it necessary. My Savior has already defeated death, so I have nothing to fear. What about you?