Beyond Thoughts and Prayers

“Boycott the N.R.A.! “Ban assault rifles!” “Improve background checks!” “Raise the purchasing age to 21!”

Those are some of the proposed solutions from one side of the gun violence argument in response to another tragic shooting at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas.

The other side? “Arm the teachers!” “Provide better education and training for gun owners!”

Maybe repealing the 2nd Amendment altogether is the answer?

Not one of those proposals will work.

I’d be remiss in my pastoral writing not to address the reasons for such acts of senseless violence.

We can certainly anticipate more controversy of what could have been done, what should have been done. And you can bet that those who offer their thoughts and prayers will be shamed once again, too.

Then-Presidential candidate Kamala Harris after a mass shooting several years ago Tweeted, “Thoughts and prayers are not enough. We need action.”

Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) said: “No more thoughts and prayers.”

When Senator Ted Cruz Tweeted “Heidi & I are fervently lifting up in prayer the children and families in the horrific shooting in Uvalde,” Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez wrote in response: “You can do more than pray. Faith without works is dead.”

CNN reported that the phrase “thoughts and prayers” had reached “semantic satiation, the phenomenon in which a word or phrase is repeated so often it loses its meaning.”

Chris Matthews said that thoughts and prayers after a shooting “should be outlawed…Usually, it’s a throwaway line by a staffer who knocks off some script, some product, some wordage for somebody political to make it sound like they give a damn.”

I agree. Somewhat.

Sending good thoughts during a time of crisis means absolutely nothing; it’s a useless gesture, but Scripture says prayer is “powerful and effective.” (James 5:16)
Jesus says, “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.” (Matthew 7)

The implication is that we are to continuously ask, seek and knock.

Many things are blamed for these—dare I say?— now commonplace holocausts.

One friend posted: “Another day in America and another day where I come home to the news of another mad gunman slaughtering people. The sad thing is, it’s barely news at this point. It’s become as common as rain in the forecast.”

We’ve all seen these tragedies way too many times before. That’s why we must pray.

Psalm 37 says, “The righteous cry out, and the LORD hears them; he delivers them from all their troubles. The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.”

Perhaps you’re not convinced that prayer is powerful or effective, then how about action? Display Ten Commandments monuments in every public square, like those in Alabama voted to do several years ago.

71.6% of “Alabama voters overwhelmingly supported an amendment to the state’s 1901 Constitution authorizing public displays of the Ten Commandments,” wrote John Sharp.
“The people we’re hearing from are super-excited to have this opportunity to go down in history as the first state to acknowledge that we want God, that is, the Christian God, in their Constitution,” said Dean Young, the chief advocate for the amendment. “This is the first time in the history of the country that a state has taken such a stand in acknowledging the God of the Old and New Testament.”

Young is confident that this measure will lead to more public displays of God’s Moral Law throughout the country.

The Ten Commandments are important because they contain the 6th Commandment: “You Shall Not Murder.”

The American Family Association, a Christian group, explained, “While the country is discussing gun control laws, we think [that] people should also be reminded that innocent human life is precious. Murder is against the law in every state, and these four words also emphasize that it’s morally wrong.”

Not only that, but the other nine remind us of the laws our country was founded upon, the principles Americans used as our moral compass, but seem to have forgotten.
Frankly, the real problem is not guns, it’s me. Yes, me…and you, too. If guns were outlawed, we’d just pick up something else to use as a weapon.

Texas Governor Greg Abbott said that according to the FBI, more people are killed each year with clubs and hammers than with rifles. This statement was rated as TRUE by the left-leaning fact-checking organization PolitiFact.

Of course, it’s true. The Bible says “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; who can understand it?” (Jeremiah 17:9)

If every gun was banned, that ugly old human heart would still beat a murderous cadence. Even Barack Obama “urg[ed] education, mental health and other measures to reduce gun violence.”

Here’s yet another one of those “other measures”:

As believers in the Lord Jesus Christ we need to live for Him authentically and lovingly, sharing of a Savior who changes hearts and lives, then all violence will end forever. The Prince of Peace can do it.

Regardless of the nay-sayers and prayer-shamers, we will still pray.

~Pray that God stays the hand of the enemy in this land.

~Pray that He will open the eyes of those who do not know God.

~Pray that more people would believe the Christian message and turn from their wicked ways.

~Especially pray that we are Christ-like in all we do and say, remembering on Monday what we learned on Sunday.

Keep that in your thoughts.

And continue with your prayers.

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