Love at Gunpoint

gunsUnless you have been on vacation for the last month in a small cabin in the mountains with no TV or Internet, you know this country has been embroiled in a gun-control debate since the tragic events in Connecticut. The vitriol on both sides has risen to levels I’ve never witnessed before. An online petition was filed with the White House website to have CNN personality Piers Morgan deported back to Great Britain. When the filer of the petition, Alex Jones, was invited on Piers’ program, he quite simply made a fool of himself. And for the record, I’ve never been a fan of Piers either. I want to state unequivocally that I think Christians have more important matters to debate than this one. My goal here is not to sway you to one side of the issue or the other in regards to gun rights and gun control. But if Christians tie themselves too closely to this issue, it is a terrible waste of our influence in this culture.

With that said, I honestly think that the reason this conversation has become so toxic in our national debate is because, most often (not always) those who like guns just don’t like those who don’t. And those who don’t like guns don’t like those who do. Those who like guns are portrayed as ignorant, redneck, John Birch society-types who want to build a compound in Idaho and overthrow the government. Those who DON’T like guns are of course communist dictators who want to disarm the citizenry so that we can be made to submit to an oppressive regime.

Do you see what is happening? No longer is the issue gun control and how much or how little we should have. The issue is that one half of our country hates the other.

Sadly, I’ve seen this in churches too. Too many churches have split over doctrinal error that was really just personality differences dressed up in the robes of doctrinal differences. I don’t like you, you don’t like me, this church isn’t big enough for the two of us, so I’m gonna go find me some legit Bible reasons why we can go ahead and destroy the bride of Jesus. Are there times when we must actually remove ourselves from those who are doing injury to the Lord, the Gospel, and the Church? Absolutely.

But too often, we confuse “I don’t like you” with “God doesn’t like you.” This is why the New Testament call to love one another, to defer and submit to one another, to welcome and accept one another is so important. As Paul made so clear in the first three verses of 1 Corinthians 13, I can become a spiritual and religious giant. But if I don’t have the love of Christ for those around me, it matters not how right I am.

Whether you love or hate guns, I want you to know I love you. I love that we are children of the same King, members of the same body, worshipers of the same Lord, servants in the same Kingdom, and heirs of the same inheritance. Maybe all of us, as Christians, should affirm that this morning. Or else we might find ourselves one day going on a ridiculously foolish rant on CNN on why a British talking head should be deported back across the pond because of his political beliefs.

What about you? What instances do you know of where people's disagreement on issues was really just personality differences, a lack of love for one another? Share your story in the comments below or email me.