Love In The Wake Of Another Shooting

Happy Valentine’s Day! Oh, and at least 17 people died today at a Florida high school because a shooter committed mass murder.

I think it’s time we stop treating love as if it is some trivial sentiment, some result of the sex drive, or some meaningless emotion expressed by tingles and butterflies in the stomach. Perhaps worse is the idea that God is love and by that statement the person means, God is ONLY love.

Sadly we have turned love into permissiveness and toleration, when, in fact, love is not that at all. We’ve even come up with the adjective tough to differentiate love that goes beyond the lenient, indulging, pandering kind we so often mean.

Fewer and fewer people in our society understand that “spoiling” a child is actually a bad thing, meaning we are doing damage, wrecking, ruining, destroying.

I’m not saying the Florida shooter was spoiled as a child—I don’t know anything about him. Except that clearly he has no understanding of love. He can’t love his family or the kids he once went to school with or the teachers, his community, state, country. He did a selfish, destructive, hurtful thing that has far reaching ramifications, and love was nowhere in his actions.

God’s love stands in stark contrast. He cleans up our messes, holds our hand through the valley of the shadow of death, and takes our punishment in His own body. He draws us, woos us, holds us, seals us. His love isn’t going to break down, and it isn’t going to let go.

There’s nothing trivial about God’s love. It sent Him to earth in a backwater town to an unwed mother where he was wrapped in cloths meant for a burial shroud and stuck in an animal feeding trough. And that was just the first few hours of his earthly existence. Things didn’t get noticeably better. But He came, lived, and died “for the joy set before Him.”

We’re that joy. Us, His people, whom He loved and determined to save.

I kind of think that’s the message we need to be teaching in our schools and churches, in homeless shelters and hospitals.

People are afraid and lonely and losing hope. We promise them falsely that this government program or that will solve the problem. If we just change marriage laws, allow whatever “loving” relationship a person wants, then we’ll all live happily ever after. But no amount of change in our outlook on “family” is reducing the growing problem of senseless shootings.

“It’s a mental health issue,” one commentator said. And maybe it is. Maybe all the shooters are simply mentally ill. But I think God loves the mentally ill, too. Jesus Christ died, even for the mentally ill. Shouldn’t we find a way to show the love of Christ to the most needy among us?

Of course, no one walks around with a sign that says, I’m a potential shooter because I’m mentally ill.

Rather, we’d actually have to take a risk and love someone we don’t necessarily find lovable.

Kids aren’t really in a position to do this, though they should start learning. Adults in the lives of troubled young people need to do this. But I don’t see it happening apart from God. It simply isn’t natural.

That’s why God’s love is so extraordinary. He loves us “while we were yet sinners.” He doesn’t demand we clean up first, meet His perfect standards, and then He will share His love with us.

On the contrary, He gives His love to us when we have done nothing to earn it. Because it’s a gift. I want to say, with God every day is Valentine’s Day. But His love goes beyond the hearts and flowers and special dinners. His love falls into that tough love category, so that what He gives us is what we actually need.

Sometimes that means a serious talking to or a time out or forty years in the wilderness. God knows. He’s not going to pander to us because He’s not going to do something now that will lead to our eternal destruction. Better to teach us, mold us, shape us in the image of Jesus Christ so that we can enjoy eternity with Him.

Of course some people ignore Him or actively push Him away. Those, He does what He so often did in the Old Testament—He gives them exactly what they want. Nothing could be sadder, because their end is destruction, their god is their appetite and their glory is in their shame. They simply set their minds on earthly things. And they miss the love God wants them to receive.

His love is so great because He knows us so well, because He’s invested in us to the point of going to the cross for us. Jesus said, “Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends” and that’s precisely what He did.

God’s love is far from trivial, far from indulgent, far from silly and sentimental. His love is actually infinite. It’s complete. It’s life soaked in love.

Published in: on February 14, 2018 at 6:16 pm  Comments (22)  
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22 Comments

  1. This is beautiful, Becky. Well said. I needed to read that tonight.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. “Of course, no one walks around with a sign that says, I’m a potential shooter because I’m mentally ill.”

    I agree with your comment, but I think you miss the most obvious solution.

    Would it not be wise to prevent these mentally ill people from buying guns? Would it not also be wise to introduce some workable gun laws to keep people safer?

    These are the sort of things religious people should be making an issue about.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Steve I have no interest in a debate with you, but two question

      One. What exactly does gun control have to do with Christianity?

      Two. Related to the first. Why is the burden to solve gun issues on Christians?

      Have some common decency and don’t use this post for your railings against Christianity.

      Like

      • Ok Wally, I would just like to point out the obvious, as it does not seem obvious to you.

        It is all very well to preach love, however without doing something about gun control nothing will change.

        If your God is a loving type, he will surely support the measures introduced to help prevent any firearms from being obtained by the mentally ill and the criminals.

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        • LOL..yeah you go ahead and tell God what to do, Steve. How’s that working for ya?

          You completely ignored the comment and the question, as usual. YOU are the one drawing linkages between Christianity and guns. There. Is. None. You have no clue at all how I, or the host of this blog feel about the issue, or what we personally might or might not be doing about it.

          I suggest that if gun control is that important to you, that you find a blogger who writes about it. Meanwhile your comment is nothing but you taking a chance rail against God.

          Yes, Steve, love is the answer. Why don’t you just let the good in this post perhaps teach another how to do that, rather than using this forum for your own ends.

          Peace out.

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          • You have always thought the worst of every comment I have written. I can tell you from the average person’s perspective in Australia is the fact that they cannot understand the “head in the sand” attitude and many people are fervently suggesting Americans are just plain stupid.

            This comment is often used when this issue is discussed because I have heard it many, many times, even from Americans over here, before you start accusing me of anti- this and that.

            I am still trying to work out why peace-loving Christians are so anti when gun control is mentioned after heaps of children and teachers are murdered in a school.

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          • Steve, you never actually read what people way. I will break this down really tightly for you, then I will go. All I am doing is giving you a chance to preach. Watch carerully

            ” why peace-loving Christians are so anti when gun control”

            The clarify. This is the entire problem I have with what you have said. The issue being that what said is false. There. Is. No. Link. “Christians” are not anti gun control. Many Americans are, duh, I”m not stupid Steve. I live here. Unlike you I might add. It’ so sad, Steve, that you have not even taken the time to engage either the host or me on what we might actually think on this issue. You have no clue how anybody around here feels, because you don’t ask, you just accuse. Again, so you don’t fail to misunderstand. There is not link between Christianity and how one must feel about guns. None. None. None. Find such a mandate Biblically and I will give you every thing I own in this world. This is a falsehood, and a false narrative. Steve, If you continue to perpetuate it, it doesn’t make you look good at all.

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          • Sorry if I wrongly linked you to being anti-gun control Wally. It just seems from most news stories that many right wing Christian people are supporting the NRA including your gun loving President Trump. At least Obama spoke up for gun controls even though he may have not done much else.

            I may have been hasty in my opinion, but it really concerned me that Becky and in fact other religious blogs did not mention a single thing about rectifying the problems with active and effective gun controls.

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          • Steve. Read my lips. Gun control is not a Christian issue.

            You issue a dismissive apology then immediately make exactly the same accusations

            @Becky. I am sorry I encouraged Steve to drag your post into the muck and cloud your very good message here

            Liked by 1 person

          • “It just seems from most news stories . . .” Steve, you are obviously getting your news from main stream media, and they do love to paint Christians as religious kooks who are dangerous. That’s why it’s good to actually talk to some of us and find out if we are what the media says we are.

            And I’ll just use this opportunity to point out that I’ve pointed to the only way that actually WILL rectify the problem.

            Becky

            Liked by 1 person

    • Steve, I’m going to answer your comments to me and to Wally here.

      I don’t “miss the most obvious solution.” Rather, you have missed the point that controlling guns will not deal with the anger and rage and hatred that causes someone to turn a gun on others.

      Example: one gun control advocacy group has calculated that there have been 17 shooting incidents in schools in 2018. Two of those have happened in California which happens to have the strictest gun laws in the US. Throw in the months of November and December, and that number goes up by six to a total of 8 in California, the state with the strict gun laws.

      The point I made should be obvious: if people don’t hate each other, they aren’t going to try and kill each other. So the real “answer” to “gun violence” is to deal with a person’s heart of hatred.

      There’s one sure counter for hatred and that’s the love which God alone can give.

      As to Wally’s point, Christians generally are law abiding people since Scripture is clear about what our response toward authority should be. As it happens, the US Constitution protects the right of citizens to bear arms.

      I personally grew up in a home that held firmly to a pacifistic world view. My uncles, for instance, performed alternative service when they were drafted for the military. My father’s job at the time prevented him from participation in the military. I have great respect for those who serve in the armed forces, but that’s simply not in my background.

      We also weren’t hunters, though my nephew does hunt now.

      Consequently, I have a rather unique view on this gun control issue. I believe as long as the right is protected by the Constitution, it remains a right—which can have some limits put on it by the states. And I personally think some limits make perfect sense. Like no assault weapons. I don’t see any hunter needing an assault weapon. And registration of weapons, the same way we register cars. I don’t see those things as conflicting with the Constitution. I don’t think people who have been diagnosed as mentally ill should have guns.

      But is that a “Christian” position? Not at all. The Christian position is to get past the peripherals and go to the heart of the matter. And that means we have to address people’s hatred and anger and selfishness and moral compass. We can’t do that by simply passing more laws—ones like California has which have apparently not stopped the bleeding.

      Honestly, Steve, I feel sorry that you think gun laws will solve the problem. You are blinded to the heart of mankind which is desperately wicked and will therefore find ways and means to be destructive and vengeful and hateful no matter what laws are on the books.

      The problem is so much bigger than guns.

      Becky

      Like

      • That was great Becky. I was not raised in a pacifist home although my Father became one but never raised me. I like to hunt, I served in the military and I own guns now. I also agree with the regulatory measures you suggested. I have no issue at all with additional controls.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Wally, I love that we come from different backgrounds but end up in the same place because we have the same God!

          Becky

          Like

      • You are missing the real issues by a country mile Becky.

        Your first comment, “controlling guns will not deal with the anger and rage and hatred that causes someone to turn a gun on others.”

        This is very true, however if there are many guns within the household and they are easy to buy from the local shop the person with the anger, rage and hatred that so often cannot control themselves, the ease of access makes it just so much easier for them to become a shooter does it not?

        You say, “California which happens to have the strictest gun laws in the US.”

        This may be so; however, I doubt the Californian boarders are controlled to prevent firearms and undesirables from other states coming in, and I doubt they removed all the guns from the undesirables currently living in the state. This is a waste of time for any single state in the USA.

        You say “if people don’t hate each other, they aren’t going to try and kill each other. So the real “answer” to “gun violence” is to deal with a person’s heart of hatred.”

        Well if you can point to this being the case anywhere in history, where everyone in the country or city lived without hatred and without violence please let me know. You should be aware by now that humans are not all the same, we have many thousands of people with mental illnesses just for a start, how are you going to determine who they are and predict what they are going to do?

        You say, “As it happens, the US Constitution protects the right of citizens to bear arms.”

        I do not doubt that at all. As it has been pointed out many hundreds of times by many intelligent people, this was written when muskets, single-shot cannons, flintlock pistols and cutlasses were the only weapons used when it was signed on September 17, 1787, not to mention the population was under 4 million people.

        Your statement, “The Christian position is to get past the peripherals and go to the heart of the matter. And that means we have to address people’s hatred and anger and selfishness and moral compass. We can’t do that by simply passing more laws”

        I respect your Christian ideals; however, it has been proven that by passing more laws does indeed work. I live in a country where that works well. We do not have handguns and firearms reportedly killing more children than the flu where 1,300 children in the US aged 17 or younger will die because of gunshot wounds each year. How do you prevent a 7-year-old girl being shot and killed by her 2-year-old cousin due to negligent parents leaving loaded guns lying around? Accidents happen, less guns, less accidents, less deaths.

        “In a new study released in online journal Paediatrics, about 19 lives are lost each day at the hands of a firearm. Of that figure, 3.5 are under the age of 18 with boys accounting for the vast majority of victims.”

        You say “Honestly, Steve, I feel sorry that you think gun laws will solve the problem.”

        Well all I can say to you Becky is look at the statistics, I know you do not believe a lot of stuff, but just from the school shootings alone that you should believe is true, should be enough for your government to do something positive. Please do not feel sorry for me, I live in a country that did something to protect the innocent, you should feel sorry for the children and innocent victims in your own country that die every day. Sorry Becky, but prayers and preaching God to the wicked and hateful will never cut the mustard.

        Like

        • Steve, you are missing the point again. I am not against more gun control, though I understand why this is a difficult issue and you yourself point out the problem of enforcement. Many of our most recent immigrants come from Latin America where the homicide rate is exceedingly high, country by country. So draw your own conclusions.

          But you simply cannot refute the fact that if a person does not hate others, he is not going to turn a gun on them. He also isn’t going to attack them with some other means, So logically, the most fool-proof way of dealing with mass shootings is to deal with the heart issues that cause such things.

          Becky

          Like

          • OK Becky, even if there was a way to deal with people to remove their hate and violence either by psychological, religious or medical means this raises a whole lot of more issues such as the rights of these people to reject any help from any quarter and would any of these hateful violent people with a mental illness sit down and listen to a sermon on God and then become a loving and mild mannered sheep. Realistically and medically I doubt many would and I think you would have to believe that is the case.

            You are correct that immigrant problems will be a further burden for your country and I feel this is another good reason to introduce very tight gun laws.

            Sure, enough evangelising may work with some criminals, however with mental illness the experts in these fields cannot always determine how these people will behave, not to mention the many thousands of undiagnosed mentally ill people who appear to be normal.

            I understand also a law was repealed allowing known mentally unstable patients to obtain guns like any other citizen. This is nothing less than a criminal act against the safety of innocent citizens and in Australia the Prime Minister would be removed from office immediately by his own party for even contemplating such a thing.

            Like

          • So you’re saying, the problem is just too difficult to deal with so lets slap a band-aid on it instead. Sorry, Steve, I don’t see that as an answer.

            And all you’re saying about mental health is that we don’t know who might explode at any moment. Well, right. Just like we don’t know who will commandeer planes and fly them into buildings or set off bombs during a race or hack people to death on the city streets or drive cars into people waiting at a bus stop.

            No guns in any of those situations, but plenty of hatred and malice and vengeance.

            Why should we major on the minors when we have a) a clear problem in front of us and b) the solution to it at our finger tips.

            I’m not saying to “preach them a sermon.” Loving people involves a whole lot more.

            I’m sorry you haven’t discovered this, Steve.

            Becky

            Like

          • I am not saying slap a band aid on as covering the difficulty I see difficulty lies in having Americans understanding that effective legislation is going to be the only way, no matter how unpopular it may be. I am also saying your solution of loving and understanding people will not work, history has taught us that.

            You have in the USA a population of over 323 million people and maybe if people who are trained in psychology and similar medical professions that may number as a few million are able to identify some of these mentally ill people who are at risk as it is an uncertain process, and be able to do something about it, it would only scratch the surface. The logistics for this or anything like this would literally be impossible.

            Loving or caring for these people may not be an option by family members who may have been abused by these people or these mentally ill people are on medications, drugs or alcohol that keep them as non-communicative or on a permanent drug induced high. The questions would be how are you going to reach these sorts of people with love and understanding? How are you going to identify people who are at risk of violence and do not give any warning or respond to emotions? What about people without families? How are you going to evaluate these people you love as stable, even parole boards in prisons cannot get it right?

            The facts are that humans need laws, we have had laws from the first humans. For example, you need to learn the traffic laws and pass a licence to drive a car, you need training, a qualification and a licence to perform surgery on people, You need training and a certificate to train people in scuba diving, you need an appropriate certificate to be a personal trainer, you need the appropriate licences to fly an aircraft or a helicopter.

            The training, qualifications and licences tell us all that these people are appropriately skilled to conduct these services and we should have confidence that they are mentally stable and will not injure or kill us. Guns need similar regulations and control because every person who owns one has the ability to injure or kill depending on their mental state. Of course, this will not eliminate the maniacs with guns, however it should be far more difficult for any of them to get hold of one.

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  3. Amen!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Good stuff Becky and Love is the solution.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Sorry for that may their souls rest in peace sister Rebecca.

    Liked by 1 person


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