Posts Tagged ‘gun violence’

“Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him, That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand. Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition…Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.”

(2 Thessalonians 2:1-3; 10-12) [Emphasis mine]

With all the bad decisions we have seen by world leaders lately, it makes me wonder if this has not already occurred. Has God sent a strong delusion—not only to world leaders, but also to many people on earth?

Take for example the reaction to the recent mass shootings and gun violence. Many believe, like so many politicians, that stricter gun laws are the solution. But most of the guns used in violent crimes are purchased illegally. Some guns are purchased and used for violent crimes by kids as young as 12 years old! So common sense would dictate that tougher gun laws would not have done anything to prevent those crimes.

http://www.publicintegrity.org/2014/08/25/15339/firearms-used-homicides-often-purchased-illegally

Police used to be able to stop and frisk those they deemed suspicious in order to prevent crime. But most states have now outlawed “stop and frisk laws” saying that it is unconstitutional and encourages profiling innocent citizens. Can you imagine watching a 12 or 14 year old child walking or riding his bicycle down a street with a large gun-shaped bulge in his pocket NOT looking suspicious?

On July 20, 2012, a mass shooting occurred inside of a Century 16 movie theater in Aurora, Colorado, during a midnight screening of the film “The Dark Knight Rises”. The gunman, James Holmes, dressed in tactical clothing, set off tear gas grenades and using a Smith & Wesson semiautomatic rifle, a Remington shotgun and a Glock .40-caliber semiautomatic pistol shot into the audience. 12 people were killed and 70 others were injured.

On October 1, 2015, Christopher Harper-Mercer, killed nine people at Umpqua Community College in Oregon, where he was a student. According to The Associated Press, he was armed with six guns, including a Glock pistol, a Smith & Wesson pistol, a Taurus pistol and a Del-Ton assault rifle.

Would a reasonable person think that stopping someone carrying several weapons on them would be considered a violation of his constitutional rights?

But THAT is the problem. Everyone is trying to solve our gun violence problem with unreasonable solutions!

God’s solution:

The more humanity seeks to live by its own rules and rejecting God’s rules, the more we see the sad results of doing so. Lost humanity seeks to exercise their perceived right to rule their own lives. As long as this thinking permeates society, we can expect to see even more violence. When we reject God’s way of doing things, there is simply no other outcome.

It is clearly the heart of mankind that causes people to do the unspeakably evil they do. The apostle James writes: “What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you? Is it not this, that your passions are at war within you? You desire and do not have, so you murder. You covet and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel.” (James 4:1-2 ESV)

Sinful mankind’s natural tendency is selfishness—and if not restrained, they will do whatever it takes to get what they want. Many of the most heinous crimes have been perpetrated out of anger, lust or desire. People have acted out in terrible ways attempting to fulfill their need for these. However, our desires can only be met in a relationship with God. This is God’s solution to violence—a changed heart.

When one turns his or her heart over to God, the blood of Jesus washes that heart clean and gives us new desires. No longer will anger, loneliness, heartbreak, or any other selfish un-godly thought be one’s motivation. Instead of those evil fleshly desires, one is filled with life and peace and the former tendencies are done away with. (2 Corinthians 5:17, Romans 8:5-7)

A person who is truly surrendered to God does not commit things like the horrific acts we have witnessed lately. There is no other permanent cure for violence, gun or otherwise, except the complete regeneration of a person’s heart by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. And this only comes when one repents of his or her sin and dedicates their lives to loving and serving God.

The kinds of tragedies that we are seeing should serve as a wake-up call for humankind. It should make it painfully clear that we are doing something wrong. And yet, many will continue to live their lives selfishly, on their own terms. To them I say, “How’s that working for you?”

As Christians, we should be even more motivated to live, and love as Jesus did—and lead a more Christ-like existence while we still have breath in us. I pray that God will soon use his spirit to convict people to repent and surrender their heart, mind and spirit to him.

“Say not ye, There are yet four months, and then cometh harvest? behold, I say unto you, Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest.” (John 4:35)

A new study from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) revealed that “cool” kids in middle school had a tendency to participate in bullying more than others. Bullying defined as “either starting fights or pushing other kids around or spreading nasty rumors about other kids”, the UCLA psychology study found that bullying could help improve an individual’s social status and popularity among middle school students. In addition, students who were already considered popular utilized these forms of bullying. The study’s lead author Jaana Juvonen, a professor of psychology at UCLA, discovered that, “The ones who bully more are seen as cool.”

In the project, the researchers observed 1,895 ethnically diverse students from 11 Los Angeles middle schools. The students were dispersed across 99 different classes, with investigators conducting surveys at the start of the seventh grade, the fall of eighth grade, and the spring of eighth grade. During each of the three surveys, the students filled out questionnaires asking them to name the students who were thought to be the “coolest”.  Students who were considered “coolest” at some time during the study were also found to be the most aggressive, and individuals who were named the most aggressive had a higher likelihood of being considered the coolest. So it seems that the simple message of “Bullying is not tolerated” is not likely to be very effective.

Are some students naturally aggressive ?

I do not believe that children are naturally aggressive or ‘born to bully’. Human beings are not ruled by instincts like animals. Aggressive impulses come mainly from responses learned during upbringing. Parents that express anger through physical aggression will likely produce children who tend to express anger the same way. Children from homes where there is domestic violence tend to over or under-estimate violence, which often affects their relationships with others and later with their own children. Unfortunately, adults often unknowingly set a bad example to their children.

What can the Church do?

The United States is one of the most religious nations in the developed world yet it has the highest murder rate. When the greatest amount of violence is found in a country that was founded on biblical principles, it is no wonder that the unbelieving world is asking, “What kind of influence is Christianity having?”

I know that violence will continue to be a problem until Jesus returns and sets all things right. And although we can’t eliminate violence in this age, God has called us to influence the world as “salt” and “light”. (Matthew 5:13-16) But if we lose our saltiness; our Christianity isn’t good for anything. And if we hide our light; the world will remain in darkness. The time is now for the Church to repent from our wickedness and pray for God to send revival!

The great modern revivalist Leonard Ravenhill in his book, ‘Today’s Sleeping Giant’ wrote:

Solemnly and slowly, with his index finger extended, Napoleon Bonaparte outlined a great stretch of country on a map of the world. “There,” he growled, “is a sleeping giant. Let him sleep! If he wakes, he will shake the world.” That sleeping giant was China. Today, Bonaparte’s prophecy of some one hundred and fifty years ago makes sense.

Today Lucifer is probably surveying the Church just as Bonaparte did China. One can almost behold the fear in his eyes as he thinks of the Church’s unmeasured potential and growls, “Let the Church sleep! If she wakes, she will shake the world.” Is not the Church the sleeping giant of today?

I pray that she will wake before it’s too late.

In the aftermath of the tragedy in Newtown, Conn., many are considering whether changes to America’s gun laws are needed.

I realize this may be controversial to some, but I believe we should be more concerned about the type of people who commit these heinous acts than the type of weapons they use to commit them.

When I grew up in an age when it was socially acceptable for a parent to occasionally use physical punishment to correct their children. There were a few times that I felt my dad’s belt on my backside and I can’t remember a single time that I was afraid of my dad’s belt. But I can clearly remember my fear of my dad when he became angry at something I had done to invite his wrath.

Why is it that we fear an object or thing more than we fear the one in control of that object or thing? Many are deathly afraid of tornados and hurricanes but have no fear of God, who controls them.

According to the FBI Crime Stats, the number of murders committed annually with hammers and knives far outnumbers murders committed with a rifle. A handgun is the weapon most often used in crimes. But of the 6,220 murders committed with handguns, most were likely obtained illegally.

According to reports in both the New York Times and Wall Street Journal, millions of mentally ill people could pass a gun background check today, because many states simply don’t bother submitting mental-health records to the FBI.

Consider the following  stats:

  • Virginia Tech: Seung-Hui Cho, 23, who killed 32 people and wounded 17 in Blacksburg, Va., in 2007 before killing himself, had a long history of mental illness. Cho was diagnosed with severe social anxiety disorder as a teenager. A judge in 2005 found that Cho presented “an imminent danger to himself as a result of mental illness” and ordered him to receive outpatient psychiatric treatment.
  • Tucson: Jared Lee Loughner, 24, who is serving a life sentence without parole for killing six people and wounding 19 others in 2011, was diagnosed with schizophrenia by a court-appointed psychiatrist. He also suffered from depression in high school.
  • Aurora: James Eagen Holmes, 24, who is accused of killing 12 and injuring 58 people at an Aurora, Colo., movie theater in July, has been described as mentally ill by his defense attorney. Prosecutors presented their case against Holmes at a preliminary hearing Monday.

Police have not revealed whether Adam Lanza had additional mental health problems. Yet the scale and nature of the shooting lead many to the inescapable conclusion that mental illness will be a large piece of the puzzle, as it has been with other mass shootings.

Mental health screening, early intervention, evidence-based mental health treatment and services, and family education and support will be a great help in alleviating this type of violence. But more concern should be placed on a bigger problem:

As is common for this type of evil, some have asked questions like, “Why did God allow this to happen?” or “Why didn’t God stop this evil?” The answer is that God has allowed mankind to reap the consequences of sin. Anyone who has had to deal with a rebellious son or daughter will tell you there are times when you just throw up your hands and say, “ Since you refuse to listen to me, just go and do what you want!” I sometimes imagine God doing the same thing with us.

This is not to say that the staff or the children killed in Newtown were in any way guilty of any particular sin that led to their deaths. The tragedy of sin is that the innocent often suffer due to the wickedness of others – As in the cases where children suffer abuse at the hands of their parents.

Romans 6:23 declares, “The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Sin always brings death – spiritually, and sometimes physically. Only Jesus Christ can truly transform a person and bring true peace and purpose to their life.

The problem is not just guns or mental illness. Disarming law-abiding citizens or institutionalizing everyone with a mental illness will do little to protect the public. Some people will still find a way to kill others.

What then is the solution to gun violence? Pray for God’s guidance and protection. But we must also pray for a true spiritual revival and return to God’s standard of morality. People who follow Biblical principles do not commit mass murder. The Bible teaches in Proverbs 14:34, “Righteousness exalteth a nation: but sin is a reproach to any people.” It is ludicrous to expect God to bless us when we as a nation have rejected Him and embraced sin. While not every disaster will be adverted, as mankind is inherently wicked, but if we, as a nation, returned to God and followed His principals for living, much suffering and death could be avoided.

For more information on Mental Illness click HERE

Romans 12:21 “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”

While the motive for the recent shooting rampages remain a mystery, the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School especially shook many across this country to its core. Like many other people, I am in shock and disbelief at this horrible tragedy that took so many innocent lives. As a father and grandfather, I cannot conceive why anyone would want to hurt innocent children and their teachers.

While families in Connecticut are dealing with heart ache and grief, the rest of us will be trying to wrap our brain around this madness. We may want to focus blame on something that makes sense to us. The lack of gun control; the broken mental healthcare system; the lawlessness and apathy of this generation; and the list goes on and on. We can debate the reasons for this tragedy but in the end many of us still want to scream, “Why?”

Many Evangelical Christians have been quick to lay the blame for this tragedy on the fact that we have taken God and prayer out of school. It’s true that more and more Americans have moved away from traditional Judeo-Christian values, but I don’t believe the reason for the increasing gun violence is that cut and dry. The fact is, there is evil in this world and there will be things that happen that we have no explanation for.

Years ago my son and his friend were killed in a car accident on their way to work. I grieved and wept and prayed to God, but I never got an answer as to why. I suspect that the parents of these precious children will grieve and weep and pray the same as I did.

When dealing with such a sensitive subject, the Bible is very specific about how we as Christians are to speak: “Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.” (Col. 4:6) When we speak in public and in private our speech should be kind, gentle, positive, helpful, and insightful. So instead of trying to lay blame for this tragedy on an unbelieving world, maybe we should pray and grieve with them, knowing that our heavenly Father is grieving with them too; and will comfort them as only He can.

The Church needs to be careful not to become ignorant of what it means to be truly godly. We are to be a light to this darkened world. And without it mankind is capable of committing terrible atrocities to both individuals and groups. I pray that Christians will wake up and see how much we need to pray for God’s divine intervention and protection from evil.
In memory of all who left us too soon: