He that Lives By the Gun, Dies By the Gun

The parable of the Good Samaritan is offered by Jesus in response to a challenge by a Hebrew lawyer, an expert on the law, who asks “Teacher, what must I do to attain eternal life?” Jesus responds with a question of his own, prompting the lawyer to summarize the law. Rather than listing the main categorizes and precepts, the lawyer says [NIV Luke 10:27]:

‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’

To which Jesus affirms:

You have answered correctly. Do this and you will live.

Obviously the focus is not this life on Earth, but the life of eternity lived with God. It is in this vein that we should also interpret his warning to the disciple in the Garden of Gethsemane [NIV Matt. 26:52]:

Put your sword back in its place, for all who draw the sword will die by the sword.

This is not a prophesy of human retribution, but one of a piece with his testimony that eternal life can only be found through him. When we depend upon violence for our security, we sunder ourselves from the spirit of love that forgives all sins – the same spirit that thereby gains the power to heal the wounds in our souls.

So to those that both:

  • see gun ownership as a necessary antidote to governmental over-reaching, and
  • threaten those that see violence as the greatest wound to civil society:

You may be able to assert your power in this world, but you surrender participation in the world to come. You may assert your freedoms in this society, but unless you lay down your weapons of your own volition, you will be left behind when the Prince of Peace welcomes souls into his kingdom.

You see, love amplifies all things, and to allow into heaven those that believe in violence would be to allow violence into heaven, and amplify its presence. That would be to betray those that have invested and suffered  in peace for His promises. He will not bend to the ‘freedoms’ presumed by the NRA, even if they are enshrined in the US Constitution.

What is Evil?

This is a response to this post by Insanity Bytes on “There’s this Thing Called Biology”:


This is a terribly complex problem, but fundamentally, I see it this way: love (which is God) enters into all things, because everything desires the power that it offers (the essence of loving is to offer power). But that power comes with constraints – love will abandon us if we hurt others. So love turns everything to its purpose, which is loving. To preserve their identity, the things that love embraces will do terrible things to push it away.

You began your post with a meditation on dysfunctionality in relationships. Often, that is what I see going on: people struggling for control against the dictates of love.

Jesus taught on many occasions about this struggle: the parable of the talents, the exhortation to “die to yourselves.” He understood how difficult it was, confronting the surrender to Death in Gethsemane and pleading “take this cup away from me.” The reason it is hard is because the world is full of the pain of our attempts to assert ourselves over the needs of others. Rather than the graceful patience of accepting that “this is not my moment, but my moment will come”, we lash out in fear, seeking to make every moment our moment. Paradoxically, we only augment our suffering, because in that lashing out we drive love from us.

Jesus was confronted with the obligation to shoulder that burden, surrendering everything else to it. I don’t know if you’ve seen “The Green Mile”, but the jailed healer in the movie pleads in the end for death. He says that walking around in the world is like living with broken pieces of glass in your mind.

You allude to Christ as the solution to evil, but he is the “Prince of Peace” for a reason. Death separates our souls – we mourn the loss of those that loved us, and often celebrate the end of those that hurt us. But Death consumes us, stealing from us the memory of our lives. Jesus changed all that. He suffused Death with love, and so now has the power to say: “These two enemies need to be separated for the sake of peace.” So I don’t think that he sees anything as evil. He sees sickness that as a surgeon he has the power to heal.

Pope Francis, in reaction to his predecessors characterization of homosexuality as a sin, said “Who am I to judge?” As humans, we might recognize the existence of evil in the world – the presence of personalities so committed to themselves that they will never accept the dictates of love. But it is not our place to pass judgment on them. Jesus redeemed death when no other believed that it was possible. Until we enter fully into his mind, we should be cautious about casting people into the abyss, seeking instead to educate and heal.

I recognize your participation in that in your work. Thank-you.