Friday, June 17, 2016

Guns again? Alrighty then- answer me this.....

I have a question for those who are pronouncing that we need to remove the right to own certain types of firearms from those who own them, train with them, study them and use them. I'm talking specifically about an AR-15 or AK-47 due to the recent tragedy in Orlando (you know, the ones that some of you call "assault rifles" which, by the way, gives away your ignorance on this topic), but any gun that someone wants to "ban", "control" or "regulate" qualifies. So- let's just ask some pointed questions to assess your qualifications to make such a pronouncement....

1. What is your experience and background with these weapons? Have you ever shot one? Trained with one? Studied the physics of one to understand how they work compared to a handgun or other type of firearm (again if you are calling it an assault rifle then your answer needs to be NO here because clearly you haven't done any of this enough).

2. Did you know that the AR-15 is the weapon of choice for millions of honest, law-abiding Americans for home defense? How do YOU know better than roughly 5 million Americans and what gives YOU or anyone else for that matter the right to determine how people chooses to defend their home against criminals who, by the way. won't be following any portion of the law?

3. WOMEN- have you seen what happens when a man attacks a woman? As a woman- do you want to be AT LEAST equally equipped against an attack from a stronger/bigger/more powerful man so you can defend yourself and your children (personally I'd go with better equipped, but I'm not the one trying to ban guns or someone's God-given right to defend herself any way necessary so I assume you aren't me)? If you answered yes- could you tell me what would make you EQUALLY EQUIPPED? So if he has only his physical strength and no other weapons- what gives you an equal chance? Certainly not your physical strength. A knife then? How close do you have to come to a person to use a knife successfully? How do you feel about your chances of defense if you only have a knife and are faced with going toe to toe with him and your measly knife? You do understand that the police will likely not make it in time to "save" you, or are you thinking that calling 911 is your best defense? How about your children? How do you think you will feel hiding in a closet with your children while you listen to the intruder (or INTRUDERS which is becoming increasingly common) ransack your house looking for you? Remember- when seconds count the police are only minutes away.

4. Do you have a plan that will actually work to remove all weapons from the market once you disarm honest law-abiding citizens? Somehow there are still guns and gun violence in other countries that have strict gun control- if they are banned then how is that possible? How about high capacity magazines- maybe if we ban those these mass shootings would stop....well, hold on a minute.... have you ever trained with an AR-15 and practiced dropping an empty magazine and reloading (oh, duh, you haven't and have no idea, that's why we are conducting this little question and answer with you)? Do you know how long that takes? No? I'll tell/show you- not long- I can load up on 10 round mags and be just as effective as I would be with one giant magazine that holds 30+ rounds (hand guns are similar, btw). Could it be that your fear of these weapons is actually MORE DANGEROUS than the weapons themselves? I'd say yes if it is informing your decision making.

5. Violent crime sans guns- have you seen reports showing the increase in violent crime in countries with strict gun control? Gun violence may drop, but violent crime goes UP. HUGE. So- tell me- if you or your family were to be a victim of such crime and were unable to protect yourself because you didn't have proper means to do so- would knowing that at least the criminal didn't have a gun make you feel better? After all, you want to be "fair" to the criminal, right- and if all he has is a knife then it isn't fair for you to have a gun, right?

People- if you don't have any experience with this stuff- if you don't have an intimate understanding of how brutal these home invasions and these criminals are- if you have never even held much less shot and trained with one of these firearms then you do not have a valid opinion on this topic. The end.

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Suicide

My heart is hurting right now for a Totino Grace family whose Sophomore daughter (in my son Ben's class) committed suicide this past weekend. From everything Ben has told me and that I have read in the comments to her funeral notice, this was a complete shock to all. Not even her best friend knew there was something so wrong that she would take her own life.

As a parent, this has rocked me to my core. Even though I didn't know her, Ben did, and it is hard not to think about your own children at a time like this. How would I ever survive if one of them decided to take their own life? How much harder would it be if there were no signs at all that my child was struggling in this way? I have so many questions, but are there ever really any answers at a time like this?

As a Christian this has caused me look for what God's Word tells us regarding such matters. Growing up Catholic I was taught that someone who commits suicide can't go to Heaven. I'm not sure what Catholicism teaches about this now, but since I seek assurance and teachings straight from the Bible instead of religion, I decided to go there for an answer. Here is what I have determined...

Scripture tells us that ALL we have to do to be saved is to believe that Jesus Christ is our Savior, that He died for our sins and rose on the third day and to receive His sacrifice by faith.
"For God so loved the world that he gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life." John 3:16
"This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference between Jew and Gentile, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by His grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement, through the shedding of His blood—to be received by faith. He did this to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance He had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished— He did it to demonstrate His righteousness at the present time, so as to be just and the One who justifies those who have faith in Jesus." Romans 3:22-26

It does NOT say that we are to sin no more. As a matter of fact it says that we are sinners, and as long as we are alive here on planet earth we will ALWAYS be sinners. This is why we need Jesus, and why His ultimate sacrifice for us was so monumental, because without Him taking on our punishment, we had no shot at Heaven.
". . . as it is written, “There is none righteous, not even one; there is none who understands, there is none who seeks for God; all have turned aside, together they have become useless; there is none who does good, there is not even one.” Romans 3:10-12

Now- if one sin existed that could keep us out of Heaven, what would His death have been for? If we could lose our salvation once we have it, what would be the point of Jesus' death and resurrection? And which sin would that be? Lying? Stealing? Suicide? How would we know? Plus, the Bible tells us that God does not differentiate between sins. He hates ALL sin- which is why Jesus had to die for us. Because God is just and there had to be punishment for breaking His laws... and since we are wretched sinners and all....

"For whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has become accountable for all of it. For He who said, “Do not commit adultery,” also said, “Do not murder.” If you do not commit adultery but do murder, you have become a transgressor of the law." James 2:10-11

Because of Jesus' death and resurrection our sins are forgiven. FORGIVEN! ALL OF THEM! That is what the Good News is all about. If we are Believers and have accepted Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior then we are forgiven and granted a pass to Heaven that no one can EVER revoke. Not ever. Our standing before God is not based on how we perform.... it is not based on works, it is not based on our own obedience, but on the obedience of Jesus Christ who was obedient in our place all the way to the Cross.

"For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast." Ephesians 2:8-9

Now, there is so much more to say about all of this. I believe that if you are truly saved and have Jesus in your heart, then you are also CHANGED. Changed in such a way that you live and act differently. Some people will argue that Scripture says things like "faith without works is dead" (James 2) and it does... but the context around this is truly beyond the scope of this post. The point here is that, once you are saved, one sin- no matter WHAT the sin is, cannot lose you your salvation. So the answer to the question "Can a Christian who commits suicide go to heaven" is YES. Without question. If you are truly a saved Christian based on what the Bible teaches- then there is nothing you can do to lose your salvation. Amen to that.

And if by the Grace of God you are reading this because you are considering committing suicide or have even small fleeting thoughts about it here and there, please please please go right now and read this. Right now. You are loved by a God who never forsakes us, no matter what our flawed and vulnerable human minds might think at times. Please go read it now.