I have grown up in a midwestern, outdoor recreation family culture. Long before I was born, there has existed a hunting tradition that begins with archery season on October 1st and then has a “second coming” with the rifle opener on November 15th. Every year our family meets up together and engages in a magical time of stories, coffee, donuts, hunting, cooking and sitting on the deck reflecting on that day’s events in the woods. I love it.
If you’re reading closely, you can easily deduce that we are ALL firearm owners. It’s in our blood. It’s part of our tradition. We read articles, walk through gun stores, get advice, study bullet ballistics, fine tune scopes, train the kids, target shoot and clean barrels. Over and over and over again. I love it.
Lately, for reasons we all know, a significant part of the American population is calling for the politicians to band together and effectively end gun ownership.
Sometimes I can feel this placing my family and our traditions on a political team. We don’t want to be on a team, but it’s almost like when they chose dodgeball teams in gym class. We numbered off “1-2-1-2-1-2.” The teacher would say, “Ok! The 1s go to that end and the 2s go to the other end!” When the whistle was blown, you ran for cover or picked up a ball because a war had started whether you liked it or not. If you just stood there, you got a 40 mph rubber ball to the face. You had no choice but to play.
So take one of the hottest political issues of our time— gun control— if I just remain silent, “they” are going to take our guns away, ruin our family tradition, hijack this great Republic and turn it into an unchecked dictatorship! I have no choice but to enter the fight, correct the lies and let my voice be heard! Right?
I don’t have to do any of that actually.
Jesus didn’t die for my guns. He died for sinners. One of whom was me. The moment I was saved, I was given marching orders from my new King.
“Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.”
- Mark 16:15
“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.”
- John 3:16
Did you see the part about gun control in there? Me either.
What about the Supreme Court? Taxes? Immigration? Homosexuality? Abortion? Marijuana? Me either.
I did see the part about who God loves though— “the world.” Not just Americans, Republicans, Democrats, Conservatives or Liberals. The world. If I belong to Him, shouldn’t I love them too? Love isn’t a feeling, it’s an action.
“God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”
- Romans 5:8
God’s love was DEMONSTRATED to me when Jesus gave His life for me at the cross, while I was still a sinner. I should be demonstrating my love to the world He died to save.
“We are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were making an appeal through us; we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.”
- 2 Corinthians 5:20
Jesus didn’t call me to make an appeal for a single political ideology. I am called to beg the world through my life to be reconciled to God.
This is the part where people’s faces turn red and they start screaming:
“Then you’re not going to have a country!”
“Your kids and grandkids are going to grow up in a Communist regime!”
“I hope you’re ready to kiss all your freedoms goodbye!”
And so with peace in my heart, I say…
“But whatever things were gain to me, those things I have counted as loss for the sake of Christ.”
- Philippians 3:8
“Counted as loss for the sake of Christ.”
One day that could be a gun, a tradition, a freedom, tax money or even…the country.
Jesus said to the believers a long time ago, “I have this against you, that you have left your first love.”
- Revelation 2:4
Be honest. What is your first love?
Many Christians will claim it’s Jesus. Yet when you scroll through their social media feeds, listen to their conversations at work or around the dinner table, their first love is clear. It’s America & her politics.
I almost came to tears the other day telling some people about a gospel preaching hero of mine. Every day I watch him trade what was once his first love for the temporary allurements of political influence. It’s hard for me to accept that it’s really happening.
What is your first love?
I love America. I vote. I pay my taxes, obey the law, stand and take my hat off during the national anthem, and I honor my leaders regardless of party.
But my true citizenship resides in another kingdom. My King’s name is Jesus.
At His feet, me and all of my “America” will willingly bow and confess Him as Lord.
Because I love Him more.