America’s most powerful gun lobby has demanded armed guards in the hallways of every school, declaring: “the only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun”.
This quote from the National Rifle Association has haunted me for the past few days. It expresses so clearly the great myth that so many believe that humanity can be divided into two classes – the good guys and the bad guys. Not only that, but it’s clear who the good guys and the bad guys are. The good guys are essentially people like us, and the bad guys are the ones who are different or foreign or weird. It’s no coincidence that in the same press conference the NRA called for an active national database of the mentally ill.
Yet the supreme irony is that many members of the NRA would describe themselves as Christians, probably more than that, born-again Bible believers. I wonder what Jesus would think of such a message. After all, it doesn’t require much insight to see that the Christmas story tells us there are no good guys in God’s sight. As the angel tells the shepherds: I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. (Luke 2:10). The good news is that despite the fact all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God (Rom 3:23) God out of His unfathomable love and mercy has stepped into our broken, confused world by sending a Saviour.
But as Luke goes on to show, although this good news is for all the people, it’s the good guys who so often reject it. The ones who follow Jesus tend to be tax collectors, fishermen, shepherds, prostitutes, the mentally ill, the ones the NRA would label as the the bad guys. Maybe all this shows that if we are comfortable with the Christmas story, if we have domesticated it into a trivial tale of love and sentiment, then we have missed the point.
Oh yes, this is not to deny there is real evil in the world. But Jesus shows us that the path to defeating that evil comes by quite a different route…
More about this, possibly, after the Christmas rush!
Happy Christmas, everybody.