A hot topic in America today is guns. Whenever there is a mass shooting in this country, guns take center stage. The supposition of the syllogism goes like this: (1) Guns are the cause of mass shootings in America. (2) We need to limit the availability of guns in America. (3) Conclusion: Take away guns and people will stop killing other people. Sounds like a plausible theory. At least it seems to be what many people think.
I recently heard that it is estimated that there are over 400 million guns in America…more guns than citizens. Even if our government was able to stop all gun sales over night, it would take an insurmountable number of years to eliminate guns. And to be honest, it would never happen. Guns would be imported illegally from other nations. But here’s something to keep in mind: Guns have always been around. From the days of the Revolutionary War, Americans have valued owning guns.
I agree there needs to be increased regulations on the sale of guns. No eighteen-year-old kid should be able to purchase an assault rifle. Maybe no citizen needs to own an assault rifle, just saying… Are guns really the issue – or is something else triggering the increase of mass shootings in America?
Research reveals a frightening increase in mass shootings over the past 70 years. In the 50’s, there was one mass shooting in America. In the 60’s that number rose to 13. In each of the following decades, that number has continued to increase. In total, there have been 167 mass shootings in this country over the past 50 years. More than half of that number have occurred after the year 2000 and, 33% since 2010. Clearly, those statistics show a huge increase in mass killings over the past 50 years.
So, if guns have always been available, could there be another reason for the rise in mass shootings?
Our country has changed dramatically since the 60’s. I’m 73years old, so I have witnessed first-hand many changes in America. When I was a kid, God was welcomed and honored in our country. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying everything was perfect, but Christianity had the predominant influence in the culture. What the Bible calls sin, was certainly happening back then, but it was behind closed doors. People knew adultery, lying, cheating, stealing, fornication, homosexuality, and destroying property – just to name a few of our sins – were wrong. Why? Because the Bible tells us these are wrong. Transgenderism was unheard of. Prayer was offered everyday in school. God was acknowledged in our schools, government, workplaces, and every other area of life.
Today, it is the opposite. God is no longer welcomed in schools. Evolution, which has never been proven beyond the bounds of any species, has replaced creationism. Socialism began creeping into liberal universities back in the 60’s. Today, it is influencing education around the country, beginning in elementary schools. Efforts are constantly being made to erase any footprint of Christianity from America. A current example is a case before the Supreme Court regarding a football coach who was fired for praying on school grounds. I won’t go into the details here, other than to say that it is all part of an effort to forbid any expression of faith in public schools. As crazy as that sounds, it reflects the spirit of the anti-Christ in this present age. And yet, we wonder why these horrible things are happening in our country…
Back in the 90’s, I had an overwhelming sense that God was lifting His hands off of this nation. I didn’t get the impression that He was releasing judgment – although our national sins may well exceed those of Sodom and Gomorrah. He was just lifting His hand of blessing and protection from America. Shortly thereafter, we witnessed the death of over 3,000 people in the attack on the Twin Towers in New York. Suddenly, America she wasn’t as bullet proof as she thought. Did that tragedy, along with the many mass shootings since then, indicate that God has turned away from our nation? Has He lifted the hedge of protection we took for granted? The Bible tells us that Satan was unable to touch Job, because God has placed an invisible barrier of protection around him. But when the hedge was lifted, all hell broke loose upon Job.
In Romans 1:18-32, Scripture describes what will happen if people suppress the truth in unrighteousness. Even though they know God through the creation itself, when they cease to honor God and give Him thanks, He will turn them over to a perverse and corrupt mind. Their hearts become darkened, and their minds can no longer discern good and evil. When that happens, mass corruption takes over. Morality is lost, right and wrong are turned upside down, sexual perversity will increase, murder, violence, and deceit become the new norm. Whenever I read that passage, I think the apostle Paul must have been looking ahead to our day. And yet, people can’t seem to connect the dots: Our wicked ways have opened the door to death and destruction all around us.
The church is no longer a voice of righteousness in America. The world has flooded into the church, causing the Christian and non-Christian to appear alike. Statistics on morality show there is very little difference between church goers and non- church goers. Divorce and sex before marriage are widely accepted in many Christian circles. Major denominations are endorsing gay marriage and ordaining homosexual leaders. Concepts like repentance, holiness, and the fear of God are no longer allowed in many pulpits today. Those words are too negative and leave the hearer discouraged and oppressed.
Maybe the problems we are facing today in America really point back to us as believers. Have we failed to honor God and make Him first in our lives? Have we stopped thanking Him for the many blessings He has bestowed upon us? Have we allowed the world to produce in us a lukewarm state of mind? Maybe we have forced God out of the house? It surely seems that way to me.
The only hope for America is another great spiritual awakening – where God steps down from heaven and turns the course of this nation. Church, it is time to pray and seek His face. God gave a promise to King Solomon that may be the only solution for our day. In 2 Chronicles 7:14 God said, “(if) my people, my God-defined people, respond by humbling themselves, praying, seeking my presence, and turning their backs on their wicked lives, I’ll be there ready for you: I’ll listen from heaven, forgive their sins, and restore their land to health.” (MSG) That promise is still available today. It’s up to us. No individual, politician, or spiritual leader can save this country. God alone is the answer. The question, however, is: Will we take heed to 2 Chronicle 7:14 – or will we continue to hope that someone else can do it for us?