Time will tell if the March for Our Lives will have lasting impact, either on society at large or on the students who participated. I hope it will. I hope that impact will be positive. I hope we can all learn something from it.
The largely partisan responses to the whole affair leave me disappointingly cynical, however, about the chances for something meaningful to come of it. Yet, the students involved seem to be coming from a place I can understand and even empathize with.
By now you’ve probably seen the sentiment rolling through Facebook. I’m not sure if it’s originally attributable to Ron Paul, former Congressman from Texas’ 22nd district and presidential candidate, but he’s as good as any to have shared it (which he did on his Facebook page):
“As some Americans curiously march for the government *to take away* their rights, the 2nd Amendment is still crystal clear.”
There are other versions of it making the rotation and, I suppose on its face, it has some wisdom.
Unfortunately, it’s also an easy cudgel to whack some politically motivated teenagers with and, as long as their politics are contrary to the whackers, any tool will do.
But what if we, as Christians, look a little closer? What if we are, instead of looking for an opportunity to do some whacking, instead look for an opportunity to connect with these motivated teens looking for some safety and someone or something to trust?
Because here’s the rub: for those of us who claim to be *slaves* of Christ, how ridiculous of us is it to scoff at the sentiment that giving up our rights is in fact a way to find true freedom and abundance?
Aren’t we slaves to the One who said, in His darkest hour, “Not my will, but your will be done?”
The sentiment that giving up freedom is part of the path to God is exactly what the Law teaches. And Christ came to fulfill that law, after all.
The students are expressing a sensation that God has implanted in all of us.
The struggle is real (to borrow from this generation): we aren’t trustworthy. We are poor wielders of power. We kill, as they have seen (perhaps better than many of us judging them), when given the freedom to choose it.
So why give ourselves freedom?
Because we must be free to know our faults; and freer still to trust him who is without fault. For He is doing a good work in us, and even further set before us good works of our own.
I’d give up my free will in a second if I could give it to the Father. But even the Son couldn’t do that. We were designed to submit, not give up our ability to defy.
So the question is: will I submit to men (or a government of them) or to a trustworthy God who works all things for the good of those who love Him?
So we shouldn’t be surprised that our children, in suffering, seek to give up freedom for safety. We all do. We claim the wisdom that we’ve found the only trustworthy One to whom we wield our wills, but it sure doesn’t seem like it.
Instead of taking on this trite partisan attitude of dismissiveness and, if you’ll excuse me, total bullshit, empathize.
Then show them to whom we ought to look for the rest we all seek. Show them that men disappoint, but God does not. Show them that you know it in your belly because you’ve submitted to Him and you’ve seen it. Don’t show them that you don’t know what submission is, or that you think salvation is in the same Government you argue your guns protect you from. Show them you’re not a raging bloody idiot.
We ought to know this on this side of a Friday made Good by the struggle of will to submit.
If all you have is a pithy one-liner, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that they’ll choose more government of men than the God you sometimes talk about but rarely represent.
You’re showing them, instead, that you aren’t safe, either. You’re just part of the same old status quo. You’re a dirty picture of a Gospel that you don’t deserve, but you’re willing to take it and unwilling to get off your high horse and show it.
I hope the teens that marched for their lives learn that more government is often an obstacle to the trustworthy God that they really need.
I hope the rest of us get our heads out of our rears and start recognizing that no impediment and no obstacle is enough to stop our God from doing His Good work, but he expects more from those of us who call ourselves His *slaves* than this kind of Σκύβαλον.