A Quick Route To Self-Destruction
Back in 2019, I participated in a tour of the International Space Hall of Fame Museum in Alamogordo, New Mexico. The tour guide was a professor from New Mexico State University. During the tour his presentation covered some interesting details about the International Space Station (ISS). He explained that the ISS (constructed between 1998-2011) is the largest structure humanity’s ever put into space. Five space agencies participated in building its main components. These are NASA (United States), Roscosmos (Russia), JAXA (Japan), ESA (Europe), and CSA (Canada).
One particular fact the professor revealed was that each of countries represented by these space agencies maintains national sovereignty over its particular section. Technically, if one of the astronauts from another country enters the section built by NASA, they are entering US territory. The professor gave this hypothetical situation. “Let’s say a Japanese astronaut slapped a Russian cosmonaut. He could race back to the Japanese-built section of the ISS and have complete immunity.” But then, he added. “But as big as the ISS is, it can become a very lonely and confining place, especially if holed up in one section for six months. Therefore, those astronauts and cosmonauts must learn to get along with each other.”
Can you imagine the inhabitants of the ISS fighting a war against each other? Even if they do not have firearms in space, wielding a tool or wrench against each other could easily damage the life-support systems or puncture the skin of the spacecraft. There’s nothing outside their fragile habitat but the cold vacuum of space. Any injury to the spacecraft could be catastrophic.
Yet we are in the same predicament here in America as are the residents of the ISS. We’ve got to find a peaceful and mutually respectful way of managing our differences. Many in America are crying for revolution. They’re clamoring for civil war. States are discussing secession. And, with every bit of the same rage, others are talking about killing their fellow Americans or “rehabilitating” them in concentration camps. In America we have just the right conditions for violence and atrocities on a national scale.
Is this really what we want, a civil war or revolution? America’s got a highly developed and refined infrastructure. Do we really want to see it all come crumbling down in a violent revolution? Are we so eager to go without internet and phone service, utilities, safe travel, and access to adequate food and clean water for months or years at a time? And don’t expect healthcare to improve in the event of a civil war. Without the necessities of life, how long will people last? Granted, people in the country are probably better suited to survive during the breakdown of civilization. But cities will become death zones if society crumbles.
And how will governments pay their employees, military members, social security recipients, or retirees during a revolution? Yes, if we get what many are hoping for – the destruction of those we consider “undesirables” – life will get very, very bad for all of us. It will be like firing bullets at each other on the ISS.
I’m sorry to say that much of the inflammatory rhetoric is coming from Christian believers – on both sides of the political fence. There are millions of gun owners in America who claim to be Christians. I’m one of them. But let’s ask ourselves, “How far are we willing to go in our pursuit to hold on to our guns? Are we really ready to fight – or even kill, in an effort to hold onto what the 2nd Amendment authorizes us to own? How will this affect our witness for Jesus Christ?” It will destroy our witness – that we should place greater value on our guns than on our allegiance to Jesus and His Kingdom. What did James, the Lord’s brother, have to say about violence? “But everyone must be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger; for the anger of man does not achieve the righteousness of God” (James 2:19-20). That’s right. Using our guns against people – who don’t even threaten our lives but only come to confiscate our guns – will not accomplish God’s will.
And how would Jesus have responded to those who tried to take His possessions? Peter gives us a hint when he wrote, “But if, when you do good and suffer for it, you endure, this is a gracious thing in the sight of God. For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps. He committed no sin, neither was any deceit found in His mouth. When he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten, but continued entrusting himself to Him who judges justly” (1 Peter 2:21-23).
The personal response of the Christian believer should be like that of Jesus as He hung upon the cross. Jesus prayed for his persecutors and murderers (Luke 23:34). By doing so Jesus accomplished our redemption. Stephen did the same as his enemies stoned him to death with rocks (Acts 7:59-60). And it was his pure witness – unsoiled by anger and hatred – which pricked the heart of a radical named Saul of Tarsus (Acts 26:14-15) and ultimately transformed him into a champion for the gospel – Paul the apostle.
Jesus calls us to take His hand and follow Him into the throes of persecution and suffering for His name, not waging war against our fellow Americans. Peter wrote, “Since Christ has suffered in the flesh, arm yourselves also for the same purpose, because he who has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin” (1 Peter 4:1). Peter is talking about dying for the cause of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, not fighting for or against guns. And this “arming ourselves” speaks of putting on God’s armor of humility, patience, and love. In fact, we are never more “disarmed” then when we pick up a gun in anger and cast off the example Jesus left for us to follow. Remember, “Our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against … the spiritual forces of wickedness” (Ephesians 6:12).
PRAYER: Dear Lord Jesus, grant that I will never betray You by placing guns, ethnicity, color, politics, gender, or ideology above my allegiance to You and Your great cause of the Gospel. Please, dear Lord, perform a mighty miracle in America. Save us from self-destruction. Breathe a mighty revival and spiritual awakening in our land. Turn the hearts of Americans everywhere to You in faith and repentance – and to each other in love and reconciliation. Save us, Lord Jesus, we pray. Amen.