Is Gun Control the Answer? Politics Didn’t Create the Oregon Shooter

In Oregon, at the Umpqua Community College, a 26 year old coward decided to shoot some people, especially targeting Christians, and if he got a few others who didn’t qualify, that was not a problem for him. He went into a location that was, for all practical purposes, a “gun free zone,” secure in the knowledge it was likely that he had the only weapon. (Legally, the college cannot ban lawfully carried weapons on campus.) No one could stop him from his murderous rampage. The powers-that-be in the college administration had clearly bought into the lie that cop with a stickif we all disarm, the bad people will pity us and leave us alone. So, the administration armed their lone security officer with a piece of wood, content with the notion that he would use it to knock out any bad guys who might–but probably never would–attack anyone at the college.

President Obama openly admitted that he would politicize this event, perhaps reasoning that the solution to preventing shootings would be to have Congress and the Nation delete the Second Amendment to the US Constitution. In his address to the nation, the President ripped into the NRA (National Rifle Association), making it appear that somehow all of this could be laid at their feet because they’d managed to buy off Congress, alluding to their lobbying power. At the same time, he scolded Congress. (Frankly, there is some merit to his scolding of Congress.) And, while there is truth to the notion that the NRA grew to become a powerful lobbying presence in Congress (anyone familiar with its history knows that fact), it is not the cause of all the murderous impulses that leap into the minds of men.

Dawn Turner, a Chicago Tribune writer illustrates perfectly the position of the President (and virtually all of those who are for what is broadly called “gun control”). She wrote, “I thought that when the 20 children and six adults of Sandy Hook Elementary School were massacred in 2012 we’d become savvier about gun laws, and that the National Rifle Association would shrivel up. That turned out to be naive, because the gun lobby is a powerful god before which our feckless politicians eagerly bow.”

Not only is that position naive, but illogical. Indeed, within her otherwise excellent article, Ms. Turner actually scored some hits on the real problem. Coming close to the target, she admits that the “only answer” is to try and “imbue” those young men who are doing the shootings “with a conscience” and “anger management skills” so as to enable them to see that shooting is not an answer to a problem. She then make another hit near the center of the target. Turner said: “What’s clear is this: If these young men don’t value their own lives, we can’t possibly expect them to value ours. We lament their lack of a moral compass, but they also don’t have a road map.”

Excellent insight. Of course, it runs contrary to the earlier position which somehow puts the NRA as this evil monster responsible for all the shootings. (And, there is a “road map” for the moral compass, but that is a debate for a later time.)

Removing Guns

On October 2, 2015, in the Marquette Park neighborhood in Chicago, a 16 year old was shot when someone walked up to him and shot him. Chicago gun laws are among the toughest in the nation. In spite of the tough laws, over 325 homicides have occurred from the beginning of the year to the end of September and over 1500 incidents involving guns have occurred. Guns are literally everywhere.

In its efforts to get some kind of control over the gun violence, Chicago tried to take away all guns from all Chicago citizens. The US Supreme Court decided the Second Amendment was still in the Constitution and, like it or not, Chicago did not have the legal right to disarm all of its citizens. McDonald v. City of Chicago, Illinois, 561 U.S. 742 (2010). But as we all know, the Supreme Court is made of mortals who pass on one day and there is little doubt that the day will come when the Court will take a different view of the Second Amendment and at the least, will alter the interpretation such that the owning (and even manufacturing) of guns will be seriously altered. We’ve seen the Court’s willingness to bow to the will of a minority of the people and overturn centuries of precedent, so we know the Second Amendment is not a real obstacle.

Gun Control Crowd Does Have a Valid Argument

In fairness, Turner and others who believe that taking guns away from people is the answer, do have a good argument with respect to gun control. But, it is not demonizing the NRA or those who support the Second Amendment. The real argument for them is the ease with which so many are able to obtain guns and the people who are entitled to buy them. Some, such as the shooter in Oregon, obtained his weapons legally. But, if one looked at his background, a number of “red flags” would have prevented this man from buying a gun, or at least could have delayed him. (The criminals will always have access to guns. But, that is an entirely separate argument.)

The President is right in scolding Congress for not implementing a system that could detect such people, or at least send up a number of red flags so as to impede their progress.

Could a system that was more refined (think “profiling”) have set off some “red flags” and caused law enforcement to at least investigate this young man’s rapid acquisition of weapons? It certainly is something that needs to be considered. Should there be legislation enacted that would develop a sophisticated computer analysis coupled with review by experienced law enforcement? Or should we do as the FBI and others do in targeting potential terrorists within our borders? While there would be push-back from many, I am convinced that the majority of Americans would rather feel safe than worry about whether the feds were too invasive of their privacy.

Many of my friends will step back from me on this issue, believing that it should be easy to get a gun and believing that the government is already too intrusive. It is something that concerns me as well, but frankly, we don’t have much of a choice at this point. We have to stop the terrorists. We have to curtail the ability of certain people to legally obtain a weapon. Personally, I believe that every responsible citizen ought to be able to purchase a gun. But, defining “responsible” can be difficult and defining “easy” can be impossible for some, but this is a discussion that collectively, we, as a nation, must perform.

Or, is there something more fundamental here, perhaps something more sinister?

Economic Depression Does Not Produce Killers

In the Great Depression (1929-39) there was wide-spread unemployment. The economy was essentially in a free-fall. Over 15 million people were out of work. Mixed into the economical disaster was geological catastrophes. The Dust Bowl, Dust Bowlas it is now called, destroyed the farms and homes of over 2.5 million families. They simply left all they had, which was by then buried under multiple layers of dust, and moved elsewhere. Many of them–some estimate at least 10%–went to California. Bread lines were common. Dust blew from Kansas and Oklahoma all the way into Chicago and as far away as New York City. The nation was in chaos.

But, in spite of the chaos, in spite of the absolute impoverishment of millions, there were no mass shootings. There were no children walking into a school and shooting students. There were no Columbines, no Oregon-type murderers. There were not hundreds of young men skulking around the streets of Chicago murdering each other and other children. This is not to say there was no crime. There were shootings. But, not on the scale that it is, today. What we are seeing today in our society is an epidemic. We are seeing something that we have never witnessed in our society. The only time in our society we have had death stalking us in such numbers was in the Civil War.

The Weapon of Choice Can be an Axe

What we are witnessing today is only related to guns in that this is the weapon of choice in the current society. I contend that if every gun in the nation was destroyed, we would still see the violence, perhaps as much as we see today, or more. The killings would be with knives, spears, arrows, axes, bombs and other such weapons. By keeping our focus on the weapon–guns–we are insuring we will never solve the murder mystery. We will never understand why the children we are growing are killing us.

investigate why gun control neededIf that hypothesis be true, then we need to rethink the “gun control” issue. We need to focus on why our young men are murdering each other (and us). We need to explore the reasons why and what is creating the monsters amongst us. I suspect that if we were true scientists, true lovers of truth and would allow ourselves to truly investigate, pushing aside politics and certain business interests, we would discover the following are, in large part, responsible for the evil that stalks us today:

Movies and Commercials Alter Desires and Behaviors

1. Movies. Today, the violence in the movies industry is unprecedented. To say that movies are not influencing the minds of young men and women is to defy logic and demonstrable evidence. Ask yourself this question: Are the businessmen who spend millions of dollars for a few seconds of air time during the Super Bowl broadcast stupid? Or, do they really think that in a few seconds of time, they can actually impact the minds psychologically of tens of thousands of people? Do they really think advertising works? Do they really think their “message” can be communicated, as subtle as it may be, in a few seconds? Well, they keep coming back with their multi-million dollar commercials. Want to hazard a guess as to whether advertising works?

If a commercial can influence the minds of millions of adults, then what can an hour of non-stop imagery coupled with sophisticated acting and sound, layered with embedded philosophies, do to a young mind? Do you think there might be some impact there? Do you suppose that the movie industry might in fact be altering the notions of right and wrong, or investing children with desires that have no relationship to hard work, but instead convey the idea of earning one’s living by getting “easy money?”  

If a 30 second commercial can alter the actions, preferences and create desires in the hearts and minds of adults, how much more, the minds of young, developing minds? Do you really buy an argument that says “there is no reliable data to support the notion that movies influence children to murder?”

The Gaming Industry Bends Minds

Add to the mix, the gaming industries heavy investment into the minds and psyche of our nation, especially the young men and women. These games are played into the minds of our children and even grown men and women non-stop, today. There are studies that show a serious psychological impact on the minds of young people. But, like Big Pharma, these media companies know how to Big Pharma performs magicfight and understand the art of deception. They have the deep pockets to invent their own “studies” and conjure up conclusions that defy logic and common sense. And,  as we’ve learned over the years, even scientists and  doctors can be bought. Data can be manipulated. And, like sheep, we prove over and over, we can be “had.” We have proven our stupidity in the face of hard facts.

Historians know this as well. They remember how the farmers who had ruined the land by over-planting and not letting the land rest, thus creating the Dust Bowl, would later return to the land and repeat the same mistakes all over again, ignoring the evidence that showed why the land had turned into a dust bowl. Even so, we as a nation are prone, when shown evidence that will deprive us of immediate pleasure, will always opt for ignoring that evidence, especially when shown conflicting data (conjured up by the big corporations whose interests are only in making money, irrespective of who dies).

The Internet is a Detachment Tool

2. The Internet. We cannot gauge the impact this medium has had on our children and their minds. They can see it all. Instantly. They can have a movie on any level–even porn–at any time. Parents are too busy working to monitor them. Their ideas of right and wrong are learned from watching movies or playing games on the web. They see violence as a legitimate avenue to get what they want. They come to de-personalize their world. They say things to others that they’d never say face to face with that person. Death has become an impersonal thing, something that has no emotion attached to it. They live in a fake world, acting as characters dreamed up by some game designer, doing things that are forbidden in the real world, developing appetites for acts that are surreal, until one day those appetites demand satisfaction by the real thing.

Moral Values are Taught and Demonstrated

3. The Absence of the Teaching of True Values. Children today are bombarded with conflicting ideas of right and wrong. They see people they admire whose moral values are nonexistent. They see a grandparent whose moral values are solid, but discount those values because they see in their own parent(s) a total opposite. Children will almost always go with what is easy, what is prevalent amongst their peers, and what “feels good.” Parents are failing to teach their children, depending instead on a school system that itself has no sense of true values, or if it does, has no  time to teach (or does not want to go down that road). Only a few dedicated teachers ever manage to truly impact the lives of children under their tutelage so as to give them some absolutes in terms of morals.

Today’s schools shy away from fixing any absolutes on moral behavior, preferring instead to concentrate on the “positive” things in life. But, when it comes to telling a child that he or she should never do a thing that is positively immoral, the schools will typically defer to “someone else,” such as the parent, or the church to make such declarative statements.

Teaching a child that it is wrong to steal and that it is wrong to cheat is simply not done across the nation any longer by teachers, by and large, and rare is the parent who has sat down with their child and carefully explained why it is wrong to steal or wrong to cheat.

Part of the problem is that too many of those children are being raised by parents who grew up being okay with cheating and stealing.
What lesson does it bring to a child to see an uncle or daddy running from a store whose window has been smashed, carrying a television? Thousands of parents teach their children on a daily basis that stealing or cheating is a matter of situational ethics.

If a teacher dares venture into the arena of declaring it is wrong to steal or cheat (or any other moral value), he or she will typically couch their words into “suggestions” or will qualify their words to the point of uselessness. (“I don’t think that really is something you should be doing. I’m not saying you’re a bad child. And if your daddy did do that, I’m not saying he is a bad person. I’m just saying….”) They almost never tell the child why they should not do something, nor do they tell the child things they can do to help prevent them from doing something wrong. Everything today is relative. All of the counseling to children is based on the “warm fuzzy” notions of not making someone feel bad about themselves.

Children Who Were Consumers are Now Parents

Today’s parents are consumers of all the evil our corrupt society has produced so it is unlikely that they are going to be of much use in teaching their children true values. They grew up lacking a “moral compass” and it is impossible for them to direct their children morally. They are themselves corrupted to the point that they often see no wrong in allowing their children to be consumers of things that are shocking to those with real values and morals.

America is Growing Monsters Who Are Murdering Us

The sad reality is that we–America–are growing monsters. We are raising killers. They are now stalking us, killing us, and we lament and wonder why. We look to place the blame on everything except ourselves. Since the mindless gun is the thing that killed one of our own, it must be the fault of the gun, or so the frenzied mind recoiling in horror to the wanton acts of violence that hits us, wants to say.

No, it is not about politics. It is not about gun control. Is there room for gun control? Absolutely. Can we do better at removing certain kinds of weapons from our streets? Hopefully. Are there some discussions about gun control thatelephant is not gun control should be had amongst us all, irrespective of our politics? Of course. But, the question is will we continue to ignore the presence of the elephant? Or, will we keep talking about the NRA and the guns our killers used to kill us?

We Are the Cause for the Killers of Ourselves and our Children

The real culprit is not guns and not the NRA. These are “straw men” and if we keep trying to take them down, we will continue to lose our children to the monsters we are growing amongst us.   

Our children will keep murdering us until we realize that we are the enablers, and in many aspects, the creators of the evil amongst us.
We are to blame. We have allowed ourselves and then our children to become corrupted by the culture, the movies, the games, the internet and the philosophies that make it so easy for some of them to become detached emotionally so as to murder us without any feelings of remorse.

We’ve created killers who cannot have remorse. The games do not allow remorse since the player knows the people are digital. The games are not real, thus the emotions they generate are not real. A gamer can kill a thousand people and walk away from the game happy, but not feeling remorse for killing so many people. The digital world of so many  has merged into the real world and our children have carried over their lack of feelings into their real world. Emotional detachment became the norm for parents, and now their children and their children’s children.

It is an incestuous union which sees parents breeding children who become psychologically impaired who then have children who are like themselves, impaired to the point of being unable to sort out their real emotions and their digitally created emotions. Children utter words on the internet that would, in a face to face world, provoke an instant physical response. They say these things with an internet-monotone mindset–a mindset devoid of true human emotions. They say things that are cruel and crippling to those to whom their word-bullets were directed. They utter these words with a detachment as obscenely real as the killer in Oregon who asked his victims who was a Christian, then nonchalantly told them they would be meeting God in a second as he pulled the trigger and watched   his victim fall in a heap with a bullet in the head.

And we keep wondering why the increase in senseless violence. We keep trying to make sense of it. Some keep lamenting the lack of gun control when the answer is in the mirror.

Sadly, as the farmers in the thirties destroyed their land by their greed and ignorance, we will continue, in America, to allow others to destroy the minds of our children who will then destroy us.

Copyright 2015
Voyle A. Glover
Posted in Gun Control | 5 Comments

Christians Who Practice Crucifixion? Pounding Nails & Other Crucifixion Tales

The Mighty Have Fallengiants fall

If you’ve lived long enough in this world, you’ve seen your share of men and women who have fallen off their pedestal. These are folks who, until exposure lit up their world like a night in Saddam’s Bagdad when “shock and awe” became the operative words of description, were deemed to be “good guys.” And, there is no doubt that some of them were, in an overall perspective of their lives, decent human beings.

There are enough “bad guys” who have plunged headlong over the cliffs of greed, lust, pride, arrogance and utter stupidity to allow media moguls to feed off the carnage left in the wake of these men (and women) with movies and television specials—history specials, news specials, and a few shows loosely based on the “exploits” of the infamous “bad guy.” (For example, Bernie Madoff has been featured in scores of news stories, magazine articles and media pieces.)

playing supermanBut, it seems nothing catches the attention of the public like the fall of a “do gooder,” a man (or woman) who has somehow held himself out to be the paragon of virtue, or somehow convinced those who surround him that he captures the essence of what a “good man”—especially a “good Christian”—should look, act, talk and live. These men and women, if they are already in the public eye, will always garner front page attention. But, different classes often get different treatment.

The Fall of Politicians

Politicians are a class unto themselves and their treatment for their often “bad behavior”—or positions they might take—depends on several factors, with three being the most critical. The first, and perhaps the most important, is who owns the medium through which the news will flow. Second, who are the staff for those media outlets. Third, to which political party does the “offender” belong.

Contrast coverage given President Clinton during the Monica Lewinski scandal and the coverage given the candidate for the Republican Vice-President, Sarah Clinton scandal read by allPalin when it was discovered that her daughter was unwed and pregnant. The Democratically inclined media made Palin’s daughter into a huge story and often used it as a launching pad to make unprecedented attacks on Ms. Palin. In the Clinton scandal, it became fairly clear early on that the Democrat “camp”—the media, talking heads, etc—were defending Clinton and even downplaying the importance of what he did, while the Republican “camp” was outraged and demanding resignation or impeachment, arguing that his actions had besmirched the office of Presidency and made us the laughing stock of the world. (Some of the ironies of that whole drama is that several politicians, both Republicans and Democrats, calling for Clinton’s resignation would later be caught up in their own morality play of sex and lies, some resigning as a result.)

We saw the whole Clinton drama played out as a political war. It showed us that sexual proclivities of even a sitting President was a matter the Democrats would both forgive and defend, if it was important to their political power base. There is little question that no Democrat wanted an impeached Democratic President. They remembered the disasters that befell the Republicans after the ouster of Richard Nixon. The morals of a sitting President, even one who seeks to qualify the definition of the word “is” were never a critical factor for the Democrats insofar as to whether or not they would support him.

Mel Reynolds released from prisonLater, we would see the drama of Chicago Congressman Mel Reynolds who was convicted of 12 charges, including having sex with a 16 year old child and asking her to take pornographic pictures of her 15 year old friend. He would be pardoned by President Clinton, no doubt persuaded by feelings of “there but for the grace of God go I.” In a rather terse, but succinctly brilliant statement, Snopes  noted: “An ex-Congressman who had sex with a subordinate won clemency from a President who had sex with a subordinate, then was hired by a clergyman who had sex with a subordinate (Reynolds was hired by Rev. Jesse Jackson.).

The Clinton scandal and how it all played out showed us all that in terms of raw power, clearly the Democrats—called by the Republicans “the left” because of the extreme social policies long held by the Democrats and endorsed by “leftist” media outlets—was held by the Democrats. The media in the United States was clearly a powerbase inclined to favor Democrats and those extreme social policies. Later elections have shown that these “leftist” media power moguls hold enormous power over the minds of the public at large.

Morality is only a factor when it can be used against the other side and even then, it is not about the moral behavior itself. It is about leverage. It is about the manipulation of the public mindset. It is about how this can be used against someone. Few—especially in Washington and among the press—really care about the morality. It is the value of the story. It is about how that story can cost votes. Nothing more.

The Rush Limbaugh podcastermedia power base has slowly changed over the years in some respects, due
largely to the enormously successful radio talk show talents such as Rush Limbaugh, Laura Ingraham, Mark Levin and Sean Hannity, among others, who have captured the airwaves and the interests of the political “right”—social conservatives not eager to make radical changes to society on a federal or state level. These conservative voices—often called the “far right”—are not always in sync with the Republicans or their ideas. But, if it comes down to voting for a Republican or a Democrat, though they might despise the Republican candidate the followers of these kinds of voices will vote for the Republican (assuming there is no third-party “right” ticket).

The Fall of Clergy

The fall of Jim Bakker seemed to set the stage for future treatment of those who hang the Christian sign around their neck. The coverage and treatment of his case became something of a model for broadcasters. They learned that there was a huge interest in the American public, ranging from the Christian crowd—itself an sitting on the throneenormous market—to those in the general public not particularly enamored with Christians in particular who took almost gleeful delight in pointing out the moral deficiencies discovered to exist in the fallen one. If that fallen Christian was a political conservative, all the better. The left-leaning media could eliminate his political clout as well as his standing within the Christian community.

Few of those Christian pastors or leaders who have been on the mountain tops of success and fell into the moral traps that lurk for all of us, have ever risen back to the same level of success, at least in terms of favor with the public. But, contrary to popular opinion, the truth is that some have actually become better men than they were before the fall. There is nothing better to wipe away pride and arrogance brought to a man by power and position, than the collapse of his “empire,” or the shredding of his image. Being humbled is actually a good thing.

Of course, not all of the fallen will benefit from their public disgrace. Some will ever remain schemers and dreamers, lusting for the day they can get back into the pulpit or other such position and exert their power over the lives of others. Some will seek power to the end. It is a corruption of the soul that is as addictive as heroin is to a “main line” addict.

But, many do become truly repentant before God and before mankind. It is difficult, indeed, impossible, for us to judge and/or truly evaluate the validity of one’s profession of repentance in the early stages. Something like that takes time and observation.

Sometimes, it is virtually impossible for us to really know whether or not there is genuine repentance.
In reality, it really isn’t important for most of us, since these people are highly unlikely to ever come into our world, especially if they never were there. Often, these are people who we may have seen on television or in the news, but were not particularly influenced by them directly. It becomes important only to those close to them and in whose circles they exist. We can see a prayer tearful confession made and while we may want to be dismissive of it, we really cannot judge the sincerity of it, nor the reality of it. For some, repentance is a momentary thing, something done because it is expected and because it lends itself to a desire to become accepted once more. We really don’t know.

But, for others it is a sincere and genuine effort, not a momentary thing done to please others, but instead, a heartfelt sorrow towards their offense against God and others. It is something that will have a lasting, life-long impact on them and how they conduct their lives ever after. In short, they do become different people. They do change. Unless we are up close and personal with them, we are unlikely to be able to really see that change. We are not likely to hear of them nor see them a dozen years from now. And, if we do, we really have no serious data or foundation with which to make a judgment. The caution urged by Jesus is definitely applicable:


We are told that if we do render a judgment, it is not to be on appearance alone, but is to be a righteous judgment (John 7:24).In short, if we are going to make a judgment, it had better be right. And, even if right, it should be a judgment that is truly called for and necessary. If it isn’t, we are likely to see judgment of ourselves meted out by others along the same lines we rendered judgment. That is what is known in the Bible as a spiritual truth, but which I call a “spiritual law” that is as true to its design as the law of gravity.

Crucifying the Christian

In this day of social media, we are quick to grab up the hammer and join in the nail pounding frenzy. I’ve watched as men and women, Christians, have been vilified and verbally crucified by others. Much of the crucifixion, sadly, is done by Christians, or at least those who have and do make a profession. Let me confess crucifionup front: I’ve hammered my share of nails in my day. But, I’m not so quick to grab a nail any more. Oh, it isn’t that I am too pious. Trust me, I can hammer with the best and I can give you brilliant, biblically based orations on the rightness of my hammering. If there were contests for such things, I’d surely have awards cluttering my walls. But, these days I’m more inclined to sit back and leave the judgment to God and to those closer to the matter than myself. And, even if I’m close, I’m not so quick to make a judgment. I’m fearful of making an unrighteous judgment. One thing I’ve learned about God is that He never makes a promise He cannot or will not keep. And, if He placed into the lives of mankind a spiritual law, then just as gravity works all the time, so does the spiritual laws put into place by God. The profound seriousness of Matthew 7:1-2 does not escape me.

My “epiphany” on this matter came about in several stages. The first came many years ago with the sudden glimpse of a spiritual law that came to me as clearly as if it had been spoken. I was struck with these words: “But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment.” Matt 12:36

I suddenly realized that if I were going to give an account to God Himself, in person, for every idle word I spoke, how much more every word spoken on purpose. I fear God too much to take Him or His truths for granted. His words impacted me deeply and thereafter, I became very careful of what I said or wrote.

This is not to say thereafter, everything I wrote or said was as it should have been, or that I am now perfect and never regret something I said or wrote. I’m not. But, there is an awareness in me now that did not exist before, and as I age, that awareness has grown. I still have to wrestle with my tongue for it is indeed an “unruly evil,” as is said in James 3:8. But, I can say I am mindful of the things I say and am not so quick to write or say something unless I’ve carefully thought it out.

The second stage came about as a result of something I prayed to God in sheer ignorance. He answered the prayer. It took me 3 years to recover from that prayer. It was 3 years in which I came to believe that I was utterly unfit to be a servant of a holy God. I was teaching a men’s Bible Sunday School class. I quit that class and quit teaching because my sense of unworthiness ran so deep that I simply did not feel I was fit or capable of teaching God’s Word.

My prayer was a simple one. I prayed: “God, show me, me. Show me myself as I am.”

He did. I saw myself, gradually, over time, in the light of God’s righteousness. I understood, for the first time, how the Apostle Paul could declare himself to be the chief of sinners. It wasn’t that I was doing anything seriously wrong. I have never been unfaithful to my wife and there were no moral issues in my life, nor had I done any particular sin of which I was mindful. It was, instead, this bone-deep feeling of unworthiness and a sense of the absolute holiness of God. It shook me. I could not escape it. I felt that I could never, in all of my lifetime, measure up to God’s standard of holiness. We are commanded to be holy, even as God is holy (1 Pet. 1:16). I felt about as holy as a used piece of toilet paper. (I know that is repulsive, but it captures how I felt, perfectly. Forgive me.)

BibleGod brought me out of this time with various “revelations”—understandings of God and truths in the Bible—which gave me great relief. The first came from 2 Cor. 9:8 which says: “And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work:” While reading that one day, God allowed those words to leap into my heart and flood my being. It was as though God were asking me: “How much grace do you need, Voyle?” I suddenly knew that whatever task He gave me, I was “up” to it. He would give me, up to “all grace,” the means to do that job.

Now, there were several other things He showed me that assisted in bringing me out of these dark days of feeling unworthy, but I’ll not go into them here. My intent here was to show you how important the Word of God is, and how important it can be to our spiritual health and well-being. God used a spiritual truth, indeed, a spiritual law, to deliver me from a time of darkness and ignorance and to soften my heart towards others, particularly other Christians who have managed to become victims of their own lust, arrogance and pride (in truth, victims of the snares of Satan – see, e.g., 1 Tim 3:6,7; 2 Tim 2:26). We must take God’s Word seriously. God cannot lie. So, when God inserts into our world a spiritual law, we absolutely must take it serious because it is a promise. It is an absolute law that works every time.

Therefore, we must take the words we speak seriously. We must be careful with our tongue. We must allow grace to rule in our judgments of one another. Even in the light of clear evidence, we must not be hasty to take up the nails. There are enough nail pounders out there. They will be with us to the end. We need not rush to get our hammer, not even under the guise of “protecting the sheep,” or fulfilling the admonition of Paul in 1 Tim. 5:20 and in Titus.

This is not to say there is never a time to call a brother or sister in error, or even to “rebuke” them—assuming we understand the meaning of that term and how it was applied back then. But, it is to say that we need not rush to judgment, and if we are to say something, we absolutely must follow another of Paul’s admonitions, to wit, to “speak the truth in love.” (Eph. 4:15). It is relatively easy to speak the truth. My experience is that speaking those truths in love is a far more difficult task, one that many of us are not up to doing, and a task that many are not spiritually fit to perform. (I must confess to being numbered in that group, to wit, often failing to speak the truth in love, and at times, being spiritually unfit to even speak the truth because of my inability to speak that truth in love.) Moreover, Paul would have us convey a gentler, kinder persona for the most part. As he admonished: “And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient” (2 Tim. 2:24).

So, let us speak and write carefully brethren, especially when it concerns one of us. We are to love one another. None of us are immune to correction or above rebuke. But, we can all be terribly hurt, indeed, permanently wounded, by other Christians who, thinking they are God’s spokesman to write or declare the truth about a brother or sister, or a perceived evil under the sun within the land of Christendom, undertake the task with such passion and fervor that they destroy one or some of us. Today’s landscape is littered with Christian reputations, lying beside the road for all to see. We drive by and make observations about them (usually unkind), and somehow are oblivious to the fact that this is or was our brother or sister.

Perhaps we need to start doing something that I learned from a man years ago. He said that he always asks himself this question before he acts or opens his mouth about another person: “Would I say this (or do this) if it were my son (or daughter)?” He noted that this was his way of knowing whether or not he was speaking the truth “in love.” I like that and have tried to use that myself, over the years. I confess that more than once, my mouth has remained shut.

I do not want anyone to think of me more highly that they should. I’m pretty ordinary. And, while God has given me some insight and motivation to be careful about the things I speak and write, I am not perfect. Do not be surprised if one day you read something I have written and seemingly violated everything I’ve written about here. I am capable. Trust me. I really am capable. I have a temper. I have some “hot buttons” and when they are pushed, I truly struggle to not respond. As a lawyer, I learned where the “dotted line” is on a throat and became an expert at the art of handing someone their head. I became very good at it and was very proud of my ability to do so. Like anyone, if I get “in the flesh,” I certainly can fall into pride and hurt someone with my words. I trust I will never do that, but hurting ChristiansI’m a realist and I know me better than you do. There is a love deep in me for the art of warring with words. It is not a love that comes of the Spirit, but is a fleshly thing, something I dare not indulge.

So, even when I do think things out carefully, and even when I pray about things I write, I still can be in error or can say things that probably should not have been said. And, when I do write something I wish I hadn’t written, that writing makes me even more careful for the future. As God shows me things about myself and reveals to me weaknesses that need correcting, then those things do get special attention. I thank God that I am still capable of being convicted of my wrong by the dear Lord. And, I would hope that, in the spirit of love, that one of you would tell me of my error, if such a time comes and you read it. I promise I will give serious attention to your admonishment and respond in love.

This piece was written to remind us all, particularly those who call ourselves Christian, to be kind to one another, and to  polish our words with a coat of love before we place them on our tongue or set them out for others to view. Wounding one another with words has become a way of life these days. Our words now can hurl through the space of glittering electrons and burst forth on hundreds of locations like a fireworks display, setting off a range of emotions in others that provoke ventings: a time to spew forth all the anger, rage, bitterness, hurt and disappointments we all have stored within us. For many, their real anger is something buried deep within having little to do with the offending Christian at whom their rhetoric is directed. It becomes a time to vent. Words are hurled at someone, perhaps a public figure who has been shown to be something of a hypocrite, and the instant effect is to produce in many a response of sympathetic language, endorsing the declarations and pronouncements of judgment on the guilty Christian. But, for the guilty, especially those truly repentant, those words can  have the caustic effect of missiles bursting all around them, riddling them with fear, terror, anger, and after a time, for many, a turning away from anything remotely looking like or sounding “Christian.”

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