The same ole’ song and dance

26 Sep

A few years ago, “Batman:The Dark Knight” was released into theaters. In this film, Gotham City was being terrorized by a sociopath named the “Joker”, a psychologically scarred murderer with a penchant for anarchy and clown make-up. He challenged Batman to reveal his identity and “incentivized” the hero by promising to kill someone every day until his demands were met. The villain made good on his covenant, the city responded in fear, and betrayed their once beloved savior, demanding he capitulate to the Joker’s wishes.

In a particularly wise rebuttal to the city’s terrified re-activity, Harvey Dent (Gotham’s District Attorney), called the people to repent. He said that while Batman was guilty of being a vigilante, and will have to answer for that “crime” at some point, that should happen in the due course of the law and not in response to a madman. The people unfortunately didn’t listen and demanded the Batman give in.

It all works out in the end, but this scene, and a post of Jeff’s addressing gun control got me thinking about how we, as Americans, in this day and age (with all the kids and their loud music) decide to solve our issues. These issues can range from the disobedient child in our home to crazed gunmen in our streets or schools, and I believe we often come up with solutions that almost address the real problem, while ultimately missing the point.

In the past few years, gun control has become something much more polarizing than it once was. Increases in (or increased awareness of) public acts of gun violence have begun to swim through the “waves of the cathode rays” in greater frequency and many are calling for increased restrictions on firearms as a result. Some would prefer that privately owned guns go the way of the dinosaur or the Chia pet, but for now, there is too much political opposition for a total public disarmament.

I am not here to say that one is more right than the other. Europeans seem to be happy without them, and they are somewhat worthy of emulation. Then again, we did leave England for a reason and we don’t have to follow their in their footsteps if we don’t want to. I have my opinions about this, but that isn’t why I am writing. This post isn’t really about gun control. It’s about solutions. Notice ours: Gun violence occurs – media coverage – call for action/response – petitions for increased gun control. In other words, increased gun control= solution to gun violence. It does logically follow that no access to the cookie jar means reduced instances of unsanctioned desserts, but overeating doesn’t occur because food is available; it occurs because of lack of self-control. In a like manner, Gun violence doesn’t happen because people have access to guns, but rather because people do not love one another, and that is a problem that increased legislation will never be able to address.

We need to be new people. After all, if all people loved one another, cherished life, and the freedom to protect it, we wouldn’t have gun violence. Many reactions to this thought process would undoubtedly be, “Sure, that would be great. But it isn’t a reality and we need to take steps to reduce the chance of evil happening.” And, therein, lies the real reason I am writing this.

This worldview is built on the premise that people cannot change. When I look at what the Lord did through Jesus, I have to say this is inherently untrue. Jesus didn’t come to give us new ways to avoid the possibility of neutral things becoming tools for sin. He came to make us new people (2 Corinthians 5:17). In short, God’s way of eradicating evil isn’t found in reducing freedom, but rather through showing His people what freedom actually is. God’s method isn’t creating new laws. That was what the Pharisees got in so much trouble for. It’s the same old song and dance.

I see similar patterns in the way our culture handles failing marriages. Oppressive husbands? The proposed solution is often to attack the Biblical command for wives to be “submissive to their own husbands” because that view creates the environment for an oppressive relationship. The real issue, however, is the fact that husbands do not love their wives “as Christ loved the Church.” This is not a post condemning a wife to submit to the fist of a domineering husband, nor is it calling for husbands to sit silently under the constant drip of a nagging wife (I cannot stress that enough. If you are in a bad relationship or are in danger, get to a safe place, and get help.) But I also don’t think the problem is submissiveness, or marriage itself, which is what our proposed solutions ultimately undermine.

Let me put it this way: Some parents are jerks. They may be domineering, or neglectful, or abusive. I do not believe, however, that the answer to bad parenting is the abolishment of the command for children to honor their parents. I believe the solution is found in parents being made new creations in the Gospel, and then teaching them how to love their children.
In short, concerning gun control, bad parents, or unhappy marriages, I don’t have a problem with safety. I do, however, take issue with unbelief. These remedies illustrate an underlying premise of God’s impotence in human affairs.

This hits me close to home in my natural tendencies toward legalism. I very often see myself as sinful, recognize God’s holiness, and immediately try to make myself more righteous through performance and self-legislation. This is futility. The Bible clearly teaches us that salvation is in Christ alone, not in my works (Titus 3:3-8). So while I may have good intentions for self-improvement, I am essentially turning my back on what God wants to do in me through His son; another solution that almost addresses the real issue. When I look to myself for righteousness I am telling God that I don’t believe he can change me.

My issue with increased gun control is that it assumes people cannot or will not learn to love one another, and therefore we need more restrictions. My problem with more accessible divorce is that is assumes that our spouses cannot change; ere go we need an out. Jesus said in Matthew 19 that Moses permitted divorce because of the hardness of our hearts. I think this is what He meant by that. We assume God will not work, and take “precautions”.

Even as I am writing this, I am confronted with the thought that this is very idealistic, and some even may feel judged or condemned by it. Please know that this is not my intention or desire. Lately, though, my heart has been confronted by the fact that following Christ is not difficult; it is impossible. It is the height of idealism. But he came to make the impossible possible through the power of God (Matthew 19:26). If He has a better way of doing things, that’s what I want to be a part of. I don’t want to settle for less.

At the end of the day, if Jesus Christ rose from the grave, what can God not do? My soul, be quick to respond in faith to the God who has never let you down.

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One Response to “The same ole’ song and dance”

  1. gwalden15 September 26, 2014 at 10:40 pm #

    That’s a good word brother. Thanks for writing this. I’m thankful that God has promised to change my reflexively callous heart.

    “He who did not spare his own son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?” Translation: If God has already given us an inexhaustible bank of treasure, why would we expect him to nickel and dime us now?

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