On March 24th, 2018, students and fellow supporters across the country protested to bring awareness to the need for gun control in the United States. They called it March for Our Lives. A very accurate title! That event followed the National School Walkout that occurred the week before and was brought on by the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, leaving 17 people killed.
Unfortunately, that execrable event was not the first of its kind. Last year alone, in the U.S., 65 shootings occurred at schools and universities. And “since 2013, there have been 291 school shootings.”1 The statistics are alarming! And I don’t think anyone would disagree that a solution is most urgent.
The debates on gun control are not a new issue in this country, but the issue has now been ignited by students from all over demanding that action be taken to pass laws for stricter gun control.
As I have been following these events with deep compassion in my heart for those families who lost loved ones as well as empathy for the students, I felt the need to do more than just sign the petitions in favor of banning assault weapons. I needed to earnestly pray! And as I often do, when seeking answers and comfort to life’s heartbreaking provocations, I turned to the Bible for insight and wisdom.
In one of my favorite books in the Old Testament, I read in Proverbs (a plethora of wisdom!) 10:12, “Hatred fuels dissension, but love calms all rebellions.”
I continued to repeat that in hopes that it would fill the air like the fragrance of honeysuckle, travel to the hearts of all people, dismantle hate, and build up love. At that moment, as my eyes were filled with tears, a question arose: Gun control or hate control?
I have heard the aphorism, “Guns don’t kill people; people kill people.” Maybe we need to alter that to “hate kills.” Because we know love does not kill.
Hate and guns of any kind make for a deadly mix!
As I pondered that and stayed informed about the March for Our Lives event, I came across an article on kids, hunters, and those who compete in skeet, etc., who trust that when guns are handled with respect and discipline, the gun is not the problem.
I know how desperate we are for an expeditious solution to these school shootings, and I cannot help but think that banning the sale of automatic weapons to consumers will make schools and communities over all safer, but those are not the only guns that kill nor are the triggers of those weapons being pulled by loving, mentally healthy persons. In fact, a criminology professor stated that in school shootings, the shooter’s motive is fame.2
That is a very dark and morose concept of fame! Regrettably, it may be a very accurate assessment.
In 1 John 2:11, it is written, “But whoever hates his brother is in darkness. He lives in darkness and does not know where he is going. The darkness has made him blind.”
This blindness that John wrote about refers to a mental blindness or dark thoughts which obscure the messages of divine Love, leaving the person mesmerized by pride, malevolence, and enmity, followed by deplorable manifestations!
In “Disarming Animal Magnetism” from The Anthology of Classic Articles, Helen Wood Bauman wrote, “If people would recognize the first whisperings of the serpent to be not their own thoughts but the destructive influences of an unreal mind, if they would stop listening to and obeying these whisperings, animal propensities would be quickly stamped out of thought and would not be permitted to grow to intensely hypnotic, dragonlike proportions.”3
Martin Luther King, Jr. said, “Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.”
So how does Love drive out hate?
Love, according to scriptural text, is God. In 1 John 4:7-8, it is written, “Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.”
Hate then is the antithesis of Love, or God. Hate is the myopia to the existence of the omnipotent and benevolent God who is Love. Even if one does not choose to believe in the power of God, I would hope one believes in the power of love.
So, as these debates continue and passion on both sides of gun control increase, as we contemplate our position on this issue, there are additional fights we can take up and more work we can do to be efficacious in this battle.
- Let us look into our own minds and examine where we may be hiding any quality of hate, and quickly replace it with love.
- Pray and pray and pray more! It is the silent force of good! (James 5:16) The Lord’s prayer (Matthew 6:9-13) is simple but so profound. It includes all people as one and both petitions and reassures that God does deliver us from evil.
- Bless others. Bless our schools. Bless our communities. Bless our cities. Bless and bless on! A very helpful book in blessing others is The Gentle Art of Blessing by Pierre Pradervand. In fact, there are testimonies in that book of how people healed hatred.
- Take a leap and read scriptural text on handling evil. There are plenty of examples in the Bible of how the omnipresence of God usurped evil as well as positive affirmations and prayers you can practice, such as the 91st.
- Take another unbiased leap and consider reading Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by theologian, Christian healer, and author Mary Baker Eddy who thoroughly explained the power of Christ, the healing work of Christ Jesus, and how we can follow in his footsteps.
- Call on a prayer warrior and healers to pray for you, your school, etc.
There is much work to be done, and it may seem as though the work is overwhelming, and maybe even impossible, but with God all things are possible.
In the gospel of Luke 10:1-3, Jesus said, “After this the Lord appointed seventy-two others and sent them two-by-two ahead of him to every town and place where he was about to go. He told them, ‘The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field. Go! I am sending you out like lambs among wolves.’”
I trust that what Jesus was telling us is not solely for missionaries and proselytizers, but for those who dare to stand up for what is right, fair and good; to spread peace and as much as the kingdom of Love as possible. And with so many people on board arguing on the side of righteousness and change for the betterment of all, it appears it will be a harder task for those who oppose the workers of good than those arguing for it to win!
I commend the students who have demonstrated shalom and peace and rallied in protest of evil. And I think the Lord must be pleased with them as they, like many other stouthearted brothers and sisters before them, fight the good fight and demand that the manmade laws for human rights align with something greater; our divine rights to live in harmony. So, as the campaign for gun control advances, let us also advance the campaign for hate control.
L.O.V.E. Love Omits Violence Everywhere®
ICB-International Children’s Bible
ESV-English Standard Version
1 Cuddy, Alice. “America's History of School Shootings.” Euronews. March 26, 2018. Accessed March 27, 2018. http://www.euronews.com/2018/02/15/america-s-history-of-school-shootings.
2 “The Gun Owners of the Parkland Generation | The New Yorker.” Flipboard on Flipboard. Accessed March 27, 2018. https://flipboard.com/@flipboard/-the-gun-owners-of-the-parkland-generati/f-f323f33f24/newyorker.com.
3 Cuddy. Ibid.