I haven’t done a very good job these last couple of days at being on top of the whole “Write 31” gig. I’ve missed the prompts and just flat out haven’t had the time (or energy-4 kids, remember?) to post each day. Last week I was gone half of the week for work, and it was a weary experience. It always is when I take students to the state psychiatric hospital. It’s hard to teach hope in cinder-block buildings filled with hurting souls. I often end out the trip feeling worn down and ragged. It’s just flat out hard.
And there were more shootings this week. Places of supposed safety that seem to be anything but, and it weighs on my mind that I send my children to school and I teach at a University and we are all in danger. But the thing that scares me most is knowing that this is not an issue of gun violence, but an issue of the heart. Let me say that again-the issue at hand with violence and harm to those around us has nothing to do with the physical weapon used, but the spiritual tool at hand: the human heart.
You see, I walked the halls of the forensic unit at the state psychiatric hospital. My academic mind knows that there are chemical imbalances and the tragedies relived, remnants of a violent childhood. I’ve read the studies and the journals and know the links between genetics and brain structures and prenatal exposures. But I also know that there is evil in this world, and that evil manifests itself in ways that we cringe to see. Not each person there is an example of this, but it is there none the less. It is palpable, this presence of spiritual warfare. You can feel it weigh in against you, pressing forward and thinning the air. I have felt it before, in Africa, where voodoo originated and was practiced with a deft hand.
If you do not believe that evil exists in this world, or that it only lurks silently in the shadows and does not actively participate in the day to day-you are gravely mistaken. Evil has done it’s job and successfully pulled the veil over your heart.
Those students gunned down in Oregon? They were not just the victims of gun violence, they were martyrs of their faith. They were college kids who stood in up and faced evil in the eyes and proclaimed their belief. They are my heroes. If this were only an issue of guns, there would be no war in the Middle East. ISIS would not be tearing apart families through crusifiction, torture and sex-slavery all in the name of religion.
The proclamation that guns are the problem and should be more firmly regulated is a rouse to hide the real issue: that of the heart. We are a society riddled with violent death. Our movies sell it. Our television shows deal it. Our music flaunts it.
Our children are desensitized to it. We take a life in the name of choice and privilege. Just look at our abortion statistics. We know, scientifically, that a child feels pain in the womb, yet we brush that fact under the rug because it makes us uncomfortable. Videos documenting the barbaric procedures of abortion have been publicized, but our media ignores it. Instead of focusing on making a change in our hearts and in our world, we focus on blame and irrational argumentation. Take a look at history and you can clearly see how well gun control has played out in the past. It is ridiculous to say that we need more gun control in the United States, and to still supply arms to other nations.
I, no doubt, will likely lose readers for this. And that is okay. The truth is a difficult pill to swallow. Battle lines have already been clearly drawn and there are some things that people refuse to see. Taking a life is the heart of evil. How it’s done and what tools are used are only graphic details. The issue is in the heart and how that plays out through the action of the hand. It doesn’t take a walk through the forensic unit or a trip to Western Africa to see evil in it’s fullest forms. It is here, surrounding us daily. We have only but to open our eyes.
I am a representation, though a flawed one, of my beliefs. I have felt the work of the enemy press in and press hard. Were we not told that this is not an easy life? Were we not warned that there would be consequences in this world for aligning ourselves with our faith? The beauty is in knowing that this is only temporary, that we are not meant for this world. There is hope in knowing that the cross tied with our beliefs and the evil that plagues us here can only walk this ground and has not place on that which is holy. There is joy in knowing how this story ends. #YesIAmAChristian.