Why I don’t own a gun: Thoughts on Trayvon Martin
There is so much that can be said about the Trayvon Martin case. I am still processing all my thoughts and feelings regarding the unfortunate events of that night. Many have weighed in on the injustice, racist overtones, and just plain disgust over the situation. I don’t wish to add a plethora of great reflections and commentaries on the story, I just want to encourage us to look at some things we can learn.
One lesson that has crystallized in my mind over the last couple of days is the importance of knowing your heart and the deceitfulness of sin. What do I mean??
Well, several years ago I was awakened in the middle of the night to what sounded like the opening of one of our exterior doors. To the terror of my wife and my dismay, my suspicions were confirmed when I heard the distinct sound again. Still not sure if it was indeed the door I heard, I began making my way downstairs to investigate the situation. Making as much noise as possible I slowly made my way through the first floor of our home wondering all the while what I might do if I encountered someone. You know the fight or flight conundrum that grips us when we encounter danger. My investigating proved futile as it appeared there was no one in the house. Seeing that all was clear I decided to turn on the outside flood lights as one last confirmation that this was just a false alarm. I soon realized that what I heard earlier was indeed someone trying to enter our basement door. By Gods grace they were unsuccessful. We called the police and as is their custom; they checked the neighborhood and surrounding areas; but the perpetrators were never found.
As you can imagine this experience was quite unnerving for my family and I. Sleep that week was difficult to come by and we made every effort to burglar proof the house. Extra flood lights, kick stops on the doors, a new commitment to be suspicious of every car that entered the neighborhood. We received all types of advice from friends and family on how to safe guard our home; even receiving a camera monitoring system from a cousin. Not really to my surprise; the one recurring opinion was that we should get a gun. If I was to protect my family and wanted them to feel safe, that was going to be my best option.
Now in all honesty, that thought did cross my mind but never materialized and to this day I don’t own a gun. After pouring over the details of the of the Trayvon Martin case this week, I was once again reminded and thankful that I didn’t act on the advice of so many.
This brings me to the lesson I pray we heed from this terrible situation; your heart is deceitfully wicked and you must know the evil you are capable of. You must have a keen awareness of sin and the only remedy for it. This is not a rant regarding gun laws; just a loving nudge to encourage you to study your heart.
Trayvon died from a fatal gunshot wound to the chest but let’s be clear, the gun did not kill him. Someone had to pull the trigger. So really the death of Tryavon was not simply caused by a gun but was the result series of events that took place that evening.
George Zimmerman saw a suspicious man walking in his neighborhood. Being the head of the neighborhood watch committee he did what he was trained to do; call the police. What happened next is the reason why I don’t own a gun.
Let me explain…
I see what I think are suspicious people and cars in my neighborhood all the time; my wife has called the police on a number of occasions to report things that don’t seem quite right. I would say many of you can attest to doing the same thing once or twice in your life; but unfortunately Zimmerman’s actions did not end there. He followed Tryavon. Here’s the question; what leads you, or to put it plainly, gives you the confidence to follow someone who you think is suspicious and up to no good? In my humble opinion; Zimmerman follows Trayvon because he knows that no matter what he encounters, he has an equalizer. The reason most people don’t follow suspicious people is because they are not sure what they will encounter if confronted. However, having a gun for most people, psychologically, levels the playing field. Any confrontation I encounter, having a gun either neutralizes what they have or gives me the upper hand. We believe the lie our heart tells us and we say; “I am wise enough and discerning enough to know when to use this gun and when not to use it.” Did I mention the heart is deceitfully wicked!!
A gun in the hands of a fallen sinner gives us false courage, false hope and greater chance of making a false assumption which often leads to a regrettable decision. And this truth is not just germane to a gun; the fact is, any tool in the hand of a sinner has the potential for evil. The gun is not the issue, the heart is.
And because the heart is the issue we would be wise to check it before we take into our possession that which has the ability to cause harm and even to take another life. It is nothing for the heart to convince you that because you have a gun you have the right and the need to use it.
George Zimmerman has yet to speak or show his face and so there is no way at this point of knowing if he is remorseful, distraught or indifferent. One thing we do know; Zimmerman is a sinner whose heart is deceitfully wicked and in need of saving.
And because God is gracious He has given us a remedy for our wicked heart. It’s the gospel of Jesus Christ. God gives us a new heart so that it can respond in faith to our Savior, who frees us from the bondage of sin and makes us slaves of righteousness. We receive Holy Spirit who enables us to search, study and understand the proclivities of our hearts. Do we make perfect judgments? No! But we are guided by the Word; and are given the gift of wisdom when we ask. I am convinced Zimmerman was guided that night by a wicked heart. Let’s pray that God will open the eyes of his heart to the remedy.
Again, this was not a rant about whether or not people should or should not own guns… just an appeal to remember your heart. We are all fallen sinners; fallen in our minds, wills and emotions. Our judgments’ are affected and never are they more affected than when we are tired, under pressure or scared.
Listening to the 911 tapes from that evening; it is clear Zimmerman was scared. I have called the police before and felt my heart beat faster and blood pressure elevate. At that moment it is best that I trust the sovereign hand of God who controls all things rather than my heart that is quick to deceive and tell me that a gun secures me more than He who set the stars in the heaven.