In response to the horrific reality of last week’s school shooting in Connecticut there seems to be a growing sentiment toward stricter gun control laws in America. Most reporters, many Senators and, even the President himself, are talking about the issue of gun control like it is the answer to the problem of violence in America.
It is not.
It may be an answer but it is not the answer. Preventing mentally unstable people from having easy access to automatic weapons may be part of an overall solution, but it is not the ultimate solution. With over 200 million privately held guns in America, it cannot possibly be THE solution.
What happened at Sandy Hook Elementary School was at a level of malevolence beyond any earthly explanation or solution. Like a river of magma underneath the earth’s crust, unimaginable evil burst forth that day, looking for a place to explode. Tragically it erupted in a school full of little children.
Almost fourteen years ago this same brand of depravity exploded at Columbine High School, 25 minutes down the road from where I’m typing these words right now. It seems like the evil actions of Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold that day set the bar for every school shooting that would happen since. Whenever a news story breaks of the latest school shooting my stomach drops and my heart aches for the victims and their families.
After these violent eruptions experts propose solutions that range from stricter gun control laws to better security systems to more counseling for psychologically unstable people. But these solutions don’t solve the problem of evil boiling over in the human heart. They may slow or stem the problem…but they don’t solve the problem.
Henry David Thoreau said, “For every thousand hacking at the leaves of evil one strikes at the root.” The only thing that can strike evil at its root is Jesus Christ.
St Paul’s poetic and potent words in 1 Corinthians 15:55-57 affirm this,“’Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?’ The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”
When Jesus died on the cross he delivered a death blow to death and to death's twin brother, sin. Jesus broke its power and shattered its legal hold on humanity. From the moment Jesus uttered “It is finished” God provided a way for us to escape the stranglehold of sin. This is the gospel we share with others. Instead of victims to the sin within, we can be victors through the Savior above.
When a person trusts in Jesus His legal victory over sin becomes their personal victory over the depravity inside them. The power of evil is broken and the root of evil severed once-and-for-all by the blood stained hands of Jesus.
As Christians our driving mission should be to deliver this message of hope to friends, neighbors, strangers and family. When we do we are striking at the root of evil in ways that no Federal legislation, bolted door or counseling program ever could. When we share the gospel we are being used by God, not to reform habits, but to transform hearts.
I’m not saying we avoid conversations that deal with the tough issues of increased security for schools, easy access to counseling and stricter gun control. But, as followers of Jesus, we can strike at the root of evil while others merely hack at leaves.
Let’s mourn and pray for those who are hurting so deeply right now. Let’s get involved in the schools in our communities and support our local teachers in whatever ways we can. Let’s engage the difficult conversations of what we can do to stem the problem of violence in America. Then let’s do what only the church can do…let’s bring a divine solution to an earthly problem as we strike the root of evil with the good news of Jesus Christ.