In the wake of the school shooting in Florida, social media is flooded (again) with memes, posts, articles, and factoids for or against guns. Personally, I see guns as one of many social scapegoats. A gun is a neutral thing, not intrinsically good or bad. It can only be as good or bad as the one using it. What happens when a gun is used (whether for good or ill) is a mirror held up to the human race. As long as we have guns to blame we don’t have to look at ourselves.
Still, cyberspace is full of people debating both sides of what isn’t really the problem. And this is exactly what one would expect in a dysfunctional social system based on group denial: talking about everything except the elephant in the room.
When we blame our own sinfulness on external things like guns, we tend to look for political solutions to problems. This is what the latest round of gun debate has me thinking about. The gun issue is illustrative of the fundamental misdirection that marks human society. We refuse to accept our real diagnosis so we never seek proper treatment. We spend all our time and energy managing symptoms and ignore the disease. Believing in political solutions is like believing ibuprofen will cure a headache caused by brain cancer.
Don’t get me wrong. Society requires management, and this is the realm of politics. I don’t have a problem with seeking political solutions to problems appropriate to that sphere. But some problems are not merely problems of management. Treating our fallen nature as an issue of management is inadequate at best. It is like God said to Job about trying to tame the ferocious creature, Leviathan:
Can you pull in Leviathan with a hook or tie his tongue down with a rope? Can you put a cord through his nose or pierce his jaw with a hook? […]. Lay a hand on him. You will remember the battle and never repeat it! Any hope of capturing him proves false (Job 41:1-2, 8-9).
There is one solution to our fallen nature: Admit our own sinfulness and cry out to God for a new nature. To those who ask, this is exactly what our God promises:
I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will remove your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. I will place My Spirit within you and cause you to follow My statutes and carefully observe My ordinances (Ezek. 36:26-27).
Nothing on the evening news is outside of God’s control. I believe He can bring good even out of the most senseless acts. My hope for this shooting is not more legislation. My hope is that we are shocked into recognizing our godlessness and place ourselves in the crosshairs of the crucifixion. There, we find our fallen nature executed and ourselves raised from death in newness (Rom. 6:4).