Fear


Today is not about RV’ing.  Nor is it about living the unscripted life. I’m writing today because I’ve heard one too many hypocrites claiming to be a Christian using the excuse of ‘faith’ to peddle nonsense.

Why do people want guns?

By volume of guns sold compared to hunting licenses sold, the reason to own a gun, or several guns is not to go hunting. Let’s cut through the baloney.  People buy guns to kill people:  people they are afraid of. No one is trying to collect all your guns. And there’s really no need for anyone to purchase multiple guns on the same day, now is there?  How many people are out to get you, anyway?  Down-the-barrel

People buy guns because they are afraid.  Ok, some of them are afraid of their neighbors. Some of them are afraid of their spouse, or other family members — maybe for good reason, maybe not.  But you know, I’ll just bet that a lot more folks aren’t as afraid of their own neighbors as they are of some else’s neighbors living in some other neighborhood.  Just which people or which neighborhood is an infinitely variable unknown determined by an individual’s hatreds, bigotry, and prejudice.  But they want to be ready to kill someone they are afraid of.

For a long time I mostly heard the NRA on the pro-gun side.  That was understandable.  It’s their one cause; their reason for existence.  Sure, they’re going to complain about anything that threatens their ability to raise money and sell memberships. I understand that.

But lately I’ve been hearing so-called “Christians” plucking the pro-gun strings. I have to tell you I find that to be the height of hypocrisy. I’m a follower of Jesus myself, and considering that Jesus did not lift a finger to save his own life and that his counsel to his followers was to trust Him and follow Him and to turn the other cheek — when anyone, particularly men and women of church leadership begin touting the need to arm yourself they are negating a central message of Jesus.  They are no more Christians than the man-in-the-moon.  And yes — I mean disrespect.  In just the same way that they disrespect the founder of their faith.

Night over Golgotha
Night over Golgotha

If we aren’t afraid of anyone, we don’t need a gun. Pure and simple.

If we trust God and if we are willing to actually listen to what he said in the Old Testament, or to what Jesus and the Apostles said in the New Testament then there ought not to be a single follower of Jesus who is not in favor of stricter gun controls to end the plague of gun violence in the U.S.  That is not a popular opinion. But it is clearly the tenor of both New and Old Testaments.

I’m not trying to say that the U.S. military does not have a reason for existing — that is a political issue not a religious one.  What I AM saying is that if you claim to be a follower of Jesus then either listen to what he says, and do it, or else cut the baloney and pretense; admit that it’s more important to you to have  your way than it is to follow His way. Accept that you are a hypocrite and stop using the term “Christian” to make your case.

I’m a flawed human being the same as they are.  I make mistakes every day.  But if I’m made aware of my error I have some obligation to try better.  I’ll never be perfect, but I can try harder to do the right thing.  Others can do the same thing.

33 Verses to Remind Us We Do Not Have to Fear:

“So do not fear, for I am with you;
do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you;
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”
Isaiah 41:10

“When I am afraid, I put my trust in you.”
Psalm 56:3

“Do not be anxious about anything,
but in every situation, by prayer and petition,
with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.
And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding,
will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
Philippians 4:6-7

“Peace is what I leave with you;
it is my own peace that I give you.
I do not give it as the world does.
Do not be worried and upset;
do not be afraid.”
John 14:27

“For God has not given us a spirit of fear,
but of power and of love and of a sound mind.”
2 Timothy 1:7

“There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear,
because fear has to do with punishment.
The one who fears is not made perfect in love.”
1 John 4:18

“When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought joy to my soul.” Psalm 94:19

“But now, this is what the Lord says…
Fear not, for I have redeemed you;
I have summoned you by name;
you are mine.”
Isaiah 43:1

“An anxious heart weighs a man down, but a kind word cheers him up.” Proverbs 12:25

“Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil, for you are with me;
your rod and your staff, they comfort me.”
Psalm 23:4

“Have I not commanded you?
Be strong and courageous.
Do not be terrified;
do not be discouraged,
for the Lord your God will be with you
wherever you go.”
Joshua 1:9

“Therefore do not worry about tomorrow,
for tomorrow will worry about itself.
Each day has enough trouble of its own.”
Matthew 6:34

“Humble yourselves, then, under God’s mighty hand,
so that he will lift you up in his own good time.
Leave all your worries with him,
because he cares for you.”
1 Peter 5:6-7

“Tell everyone who is discouraged,
Be strong and don’t be afraid!
God is coming to your rescue…”
Isaiah 35:4

“Do not worry about your life, what you will eat;
or about your body, what you will wear.
Life is more than food, and the body more than clothes.
Consider the ravens:
They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn;
yet God feeds them.
And how much more valuable you are than birds!
Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?
Since you cannot do this very little thing,
why do you worry about the rest?”
Luke 12:22-26

“The Lord is my light and my salvation—
whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the stronghold of my life—
of whom shall I be afraid?”
Psalm 27:1

“Cast your cares on the Lord and he will sustain you;
h
e will never let the righteous fall.”
Psalm 55:22

“Immediately he spoke to them and said,
‘Take courage! It is I.
Don’t be afraid.’”
Mark 6:50

“Be strong and courageous.
Do not be afraid or terrified because of them,
for the Lord your God goes with you;
he will never leave you nor forsake you.”
Deuteronomy 31:6

“’For I am the Lord, your God,
who takes hold of your right hand and says to you,
Do not fear; I will help you.
Do not be afraid, for I myself will help you,’
declares the Lord, your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel.”
Isaiah 41:13-14

“God is our refuge and strength,
an ever-present help in trouble.”
Psalm 46:1

“The Lord is with me; I will not be afraid.
What can man do to me?
The Lord is with me;
he is my helper.”
Psalm 118:6-7

“Fear of man will prove to be a snare,
but whoever trusts in the Lord is kept safe.”
Proverbs 29:25

“He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves,
“Quiet! Be still!” Then the wind died down and it was completely calm.
He said to his disciples, “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?”
Mark 4:39-40

“The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear him, and he delivers them.” Psalm 34:7

“But even if you suffer for doing what is right,
God will reward you for it.
So don’t worry or be afraid of their threats.”
1 Peter 3:14

“I prayed to the Lord, and he answered me.
He freed me from all my fears.”
Psalm 34:4

“Do not be afraid of them; the Lord your God himself will fight for you.” Deuteronomy 3:22

“Then he placed his right hand on me and said:
‘Do not be afraid. I am the First and the Last.’”
Revelation 1:17

“Jesus told him, ‘Don’t be afraid; just believe.’” Mark 5:36

“And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love.
Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,
neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow
—not even the powers of hell
can separate us from God’s love.”
Romans 8:38-39

“The Lord your God is in your midst,
A victorious warrior.
He will exult over you with joy,
He will be quiet in His love,
He will rejoice over you with shouts of joy.”
Zephaniah 3:17

“He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High
will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
I will say of the Lord,
“He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.”
…He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge;
his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.
You will not fear the terror of night,
nor the arrow that flies by day,
nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness,
nor the plague that destroys at midday.
A thousand may fall at your side,
ten thousand at your right hand,
but it will not come near you…
For he will command his angels concerning you,
to guard you in all your ways…
“Because he loves me,” says the Lord,
“I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name.
He will call upon me, and I will answer him;
I will be with him in trouble,
I will deliver him and honor him…”
from Psalm 91:1-16

Gun control needs to happen. We can’t just continue saying that guns don’t kill people, people kill people.  Not one life will be saved that way.  But without open discussion about the real issues nothing will happen — as has been the case for several decades already.

Thanks for stopping by.  I grieve over the Orlando shooting as I have grieved over every other mass murder, over the countless gun-suicides, and gun-assisted crimes where innocents have lost their lives.  Perhaps tomorrow we can talk about something more pleasant.  I’ll be here.  Why not join me.

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13 Comments

  1. Peter, you seem very passionate about this today, but you are painting gun owners with a rather broad brush. I have owned various guns throughout my life and the purpose of owning them was never to kill someone. When I was younger I used them to hunt. However the last dozen or so that I have owned were not purchased for hunting. I simply enjoy target shooting. I helped teach gun safety when I was a scout leader and Janice taught archery in the 4H shooting sports program. I have many friends that own them for the same reasons. Most of mine are 22 caliber, certainly not intended to kill people. Do I need guns? Probably not, but I enjoy the ownership and use of them as some might enjoy collecting cars. Is the need of something required to own it now? They were not purchased because of any fear that I might have. And yes, I have purchased 3 in one day. We were returning home through Tennessee a couple of years ago and stopped at one of our favorite gun stores south of Nashville. I found a 22 target pistol that matched one that I owned to make it easier for Janice and I to shoot in competition against each other, a highly accurate custom 45 also for competition. and a small 22 pistol for Janice just because it was her favorite color, purple. It wouldn’t have made any sense to stay nearby and come back on different days so we bought them all the same day. I am left wondering why gun control proponents have so much fear of me owning guns. And how me not owning guns would make anyone else safer.

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    1. Bob — my gripe is not with gun owners specifically. Although somehow, someplace, this country is going to have to come up with a policy on guns that protects those who are not being protected now. We have been remaking this country from the inside out for the past 200+ years. The days of militia are long gone and just as we now have airbags, safety locks on appliances and a lot of other changed standards at some point this nation is going to be forced to reign in the idea that we are still in a Wild West sort of country and act to protect the innocent. I never said anything about taking guns away from legal owners. So you’re question about gun control advocates being afraid of you owning guns misses the point by a long way.

      My GRIPE and I thought I was pretty clear about this, is with the leaders of Christian churches who attempt to to make gun ownership an issue of Christian faith. For that abomination there is no support for in Scripture. And I just heard a Minnesota Public Television broadcast that was saying just about that. Jesus’ message was 180º opposite any gospel of fear. Bob, what you have done is legal { at least knowing you I assume it is 🙂 } And I have no contest with people who have bought in the past via legal channels in legal purchases. That said, on the issue of multiple guns in one day…. a bargain is a bargain, right? Well, on that issue I would just say that reasonable minds have a right to differ reasonably. A killing weapon — even a .22 doesn’t seem like it falls in the same category as one steak or two, or should I buy an extra box of diapers. As for safety … JUST one way is what happens to those guns if you’re broken into when you aren’t home?

      But in a world where fewer people actually know what Scripture says, I have a big gripe with Christian Leaders who make it sound like gun ownership is in harmony with the Gospel. I don’t know any Christian who actually tries to do everything Jesus taught. Many of us try very hard, but we all have our sacred cows that we refuse to give up — that’s the nature of human imperfection. And as followers we are to do the best we can. But to be taught that “X” is gospel when it’s really “Y” that is gospel should not be tolerated.

      Besides, Bob, you know the scripture: All things are lawful to me, but not all of them are expedient. Just because something is lawful in our society doesn’t mean that we are compelled to do it. Else what difference would there be between believers and non-believers? Sometimes he calls us to ‘come out of her, my people.’ To be different. To be a city set on a hill. To do what we don’t have to do, or what others choose not to do.

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  2. Thank you Peter. Target shooting and hunting are legitimate reasons to own guns. However, They are not legitimate reasons to have these guns in your home like you would a bowling ball or golf clubs. In fact, many golfers join clubs and keep their clubs locked there.
    I don’t think it’s too much to ask someone to lock their deadly weapons up at a gun club.

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    1. Dave,

      I have not heard many people make your suggestion, but it’s certainly worthy of consideration. The big problem is that right now the sides are drawn and no one wants to talk to the other side about a compromise that will involve change on both sides. Until then, nothing of real significance will take place.

      So long as politicians have no more time to devote to this problem than knee-jerk reactions to headlines I fear the nation won’t find a solution that works, but one thing is sure. We are no longer a nation of brave adventurers whose lives depend on their wits, a flintlock, good relations with the natives. The world has changed, and we have all seen our lives changed in major ways be they airbags in cars, tamper-proof medicine bottles, or safety interlocks on power tools. These we have adapted to and eventually we’ll come to realize that guns too need more control.

      I hope I live to see that; I sometimes question whether I will.

      But when pulpits get used to teach the indiscriminate ownership of guns things have gone too far.

      > >

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  3. I have followed you for three years but today you went over the edge. You paint Christians in a light that I and i am sure many others do not belong in. Thank you for the 3 years as i am unsubscribing.

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    1. > I’m sorry to see you go, but you do realize that my criticism is not aimed at believers, but at those who <> that the message of Jesus needs firearms and is not sufficient of itself. > > The perfect follower of Jesus I have never yet met. We all — in our imperfections — do the best we can to follow his instructions but we all have our own little sacred cows that we have a hard time giving up; those things that his instructions ask us to surrender to His will and His purpose. For some it might be food, for others it might be guns the things we struggle with in our own walk of faith are as diverse as the number of believers — we all have our feet of clay. But it’s not honest to TEACH others that the message of His all sufficient salvation as if it were in need of arms for self-protection. > > Those who have purchased legal weapons have done what the nation asks and I have no problem with them either. The laws of this nation allow what they allow. But is it not true that Jesus does call believers to live to another standard than what this world asks of us. It was Jesus who said, ‘My kingdom is not of this world.’ and the calling to act as lights set on a hill that others can observe is not an easy task. > > Anyway. I wish you the best. Sorry to lose you but I obviously expected there would be some kickback and so it must be. >

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    1. Harry, Thanks for commenting. I’m sure I don’t have to tell you, but last year we were averaging a multiple-victim shooting per day. Most of them didn’t make it into the national news. But they were there. And you know that this isn’t the thrust for my blog but sometimes I wander off on tangents. 😬

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  4. I, too, am a Christian; however, I do not believe in gun control. My husband is an avid hunter and taught me how to shoot. I don’t hunt nor do I want to. I also learned how to shoot a bow and arrow. Should I put away my bow because I might kill someone with it? We humans are born in sin. We have the Ten Commandments to follow, but how many do that? People can kill with a knife or a heavy rock just as easily as with a gun.
    Jesus knew his purpose in giving up his life to save us. There were times he hid himself or went around so they would not see him. If Jesus had not allowed the guards to nail his hands and feet to the cross, it never would have happened. If Jesus did not lay down his life for us, we would still be lost and headed for hell.
    God has protected me on many occasions. Some I’ve been aware of and a few others I sort of wondered about. I trust God completely and know that a gun may not help me. During the last few years on my Home Health job, I had my life threatened 3 times. God stayed their hand each time. (I’ve blogged on those incidents.) Would I have shot the villain if I had a weapon? I don’t know. I never went back to two of the homes. One was a man on the street with a rifle pointed at me. The police came but he was long gone. My patient didn’t know him. I prayed for safety for both me and my patient whenever I returned, but I never felt comfortable again visiting her. She has since passed away.
    There’s always a responsibility when owning a weapon of any kind: keeping it in good working order and safely away from children; using it properly; teaching others how to use it correctly.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. As I said at the beginning of this post, I wrote the post because of Christian leaders who attempt to equate gun ownership with being a good Christian and that is what I take exception to. The individual who acts lawfully — whatever the law is at the time — I have no gripes with. As long as you’re subject to the powers that be you’re doing what you should do — in my opinion. But attempting to portray gun ownership as a Christian activity is out of bounds.
      As you say, we all do the best we can, and some believers may decide that owning a gun is something they want to do. Fine. But you aren’t attempting to say that Jesus wants us all be gun owners, now are you. It’s a very different thing. Those who teach are responsible for what they cause others to do.
      I too have been in harm’s way and have been saved from the danger.

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