Tuesday, July 5, 2016

How to not get shot

Is it unreasonable to avoid guns in this violent world?
Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images for BEGOC

Get a gun... learn karate... The world has gotten too dangerous... shoot first and ask questions later.
Is that true? Has the world changed so much that it is impossible to heed the Bible’s counsel?

  • "Those who use the sword will die by the sword.” (Matthew 26:52)
  •  ‘Beat your swords into plowshares.’ (Micah 4:3)
  • ‘The weapons we fight with are not fleshly, but spiritual.’ (2 Corinthians 2:4)
If we are serious about guiding our lives in a way that pleases God, then we must believe that the Bible’s counsel is always the best course, no exceptions. Is it?
Absolutely! Here’s proof. An organization that works for violence prevention in the workplace gives some of the following suggestions for dealing with aggressors:
  • Do not provoke the aggressor.
  • Give firm, short, positive answers without raising your voice. Speak clearly and slowly.
  • Do not argue with or contradict the aggressor. Make it clear you are listening.
  • If possible, avoid touching or picking anything up, whether it is an item the aggressor cares about, or something he might view as a weapon.
  • Try to propose a solution that gives the aggressor an honorable way out.
  • Avoid physical contact at all costs, unless it is your last resort in self-defense.
Can you see how developing a Christian personality would give you a head start in this type of life-saving behavior?
Here’s a real-life example: Just last week a student at Taft Union High School in California walked into a classroom carrying a shotgun, intent on killing a list of students he considered bullies. He shot one of the students on his list when the boy stood up. He shot at the other students as they fled.
However, the teacher in the classroom, Ryan Heber, with no gun, calmly talked the boy into putting down the weapon. While Heber hasn’t given any interviews, it was reported that the shooter said to Heber, “I don’t want to shoot you.”
Heber is reportedly well-liked by all the students. His having built a reputation for kindness saved his life. On the other hand, if he constantly displayed unchristian, aggressive qualities, whether he’d been armed or not, he might not be alive today.
In Colossians 3:9 Christians are commanded to ‘strip off our old personality, put on a new personality.’ What is a personality, do you know?
One authority defines it as a habit; or more properly, the sum of all your habits.
Here’s a personality test for you: you and another person are approaching the entrance to Burger King at the same time. You can:
  • Walk a bit faster to get to the counter first
  • Slow down and let the stranger go first
  • Hold the door for the stranger
Which do you do? If, without thinking about it, you speed up so you won’t be stuck behind that old codger who will study the BK menu like it’s War and Peace, that says something about you, your personality. You could ‘strip off’ that trait by making the conscious decision to hold the door for strangers, and smile at them as they pass. After you’ve done that a couple dozen times, it becomes a habit. Congratulations, you’ve changed your personality.
Why do you care? That Christian personality can mean arguments that don’t happen. Since some arguments end in gunfire, your Christian personality could save your life. It can affect your driving, and save you from a road rage incident. It can make you less likely to be the target of an outburst from some frazzled shopper.
Arming ourselves for protection against other humans is saying we know more that God does about the best way to protect ourselves. Proverbs 29:25 says “Fear of man will prove to be a snare, but the one who trusts in Jehovah is protected.” Christians don’t have bumper stickers reading ‘In Smith and Wesson we trust.’
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