Thursday, January 3, 2013

Prayer in Schools, Video Games, Mental Illness, Gun Control, Fear, Grief and Love

“At the root of war is fear: not so much the fear men have of one another as the fear they have of everything. It is not merely that they do not trust one another; they do not even trust themselves… They cannot trust anything because they have ceased to believe in God.” - Thomas Merton

It has been 3 weeks since the massacre at Sandy Hook and I have heard every phrase in my title as the solution to the problem of violence in our country. (Excluding the Fear, Grief and Love part. More on that later)

Let me go on record and say that NONE of these things will cure the problem of violence in our society. Any measure we take on any of these may curb it but they will never eradicate violence in our culture. Let's look @ each one briefly.

Prayer in Schools: Does anyone really believe that no one in that school on that day did NOT pray. Prayer is a powerful thing and I use it daily but we have this thing called free-will. God, out of his love, gave us free will. We all can choose good or choose evil, some will choose evil even in the face of prayer.After Jesus was born 1,000's of young boys were killed at the hand of King Herod. Putting prayer in school will not change people's free will.

Video Games: As a former teacher I do believe the games our young children play are way to violent and graphic and leave nothing to the imagination. With that said, if video games are truly the cause then we would have many more massacres than we do now. Playing a violent video game simply does not make someone become a mass murderer.

Mental Illness: Mental Illness is a critical issue in our country and it rightly deserves our attention. Better access to mental heath services are greatly needed for those who can not afford it on their own. It is also not the reason we have mass murderers. Did you know that studies done show that not all mass murderers have a mental illness. Just because someone has a diagnosed mental illness does not predispose them to becoming a mass murderer.

Gun Control: The 2nd Amendment of our Constitution guarantees Americans the right to bare arms. Short of abolishing the 2nd Amendment it would not eradicate violence in our culture. Going back to free will. Even if you make something illegal someone will find a way to get what they need. The shooter @ Sandy Hook; they were not his guns, they were his mothers which she owned legally. As much as I hate guns any actions on control, even if successful, will not curb the violence in our country. Though I do not believe everyone arming themselves is the solution either.

So what do I believe? What is the solution to stopping and preventing these massacres from occurring in our country? As a Christian, I believe the only thing that will stop the reoccurring violence is when Jesus returns. Scripture tells us that Jesus is the Prince of Peace and that when he returns he will reign on earth. So I believe, that violence will not end till the Prince of Peace returns, and we will fear no more.

Fear is the biggest problem of the human race. (As said in the opening quote) In Scripture alone the phrase, "Do Not Fear" is said over 300 times; Old Testament and New Testament. The fact that angels and Jesus repeat this phrase demonstrates how innate fear is within us. I believe that if we want to curb the violence in our culture we have to look inside ourselves. We have to look at our fear, search it out and dispel it. Fear controls us and we allow it too by feeding it. Since the shooting at Sandy Hook gun dealers have been unable to keep ammunition on their shelves. That is fear people, plain and simple. When we search out our fear we have to be willing to face our own grief as well. Just as we are quick to fear we are quick to suppress. Grief is like a taboo word in our society. We are supposed to "suck it up" and keep going. Grief, fear and anger that is not dealt with explodes eventually. Now while you and I may not massacre little children we can all think of time when everything came to a head and whoever was in front of us got the brunt of it. Lastly, if we are going to have courage to face our fears and our grief then we must embrace love. Love for ourselves and for our neighbor. Burden's are much easier to carry when we share our fears and griefs with each other. We discover that we are not alone and we know and feel the love of another person

Nothing will change till we start with ourselves.

What do you fear? What are you grieving or avoiding? Share in the comment section and let us love one another and support each other amidst our fears and grief.