Control Issues

Control can be a funny thing.

It’s something that all of us want…at least on some level.

We want control of our livelihood, our immediate surroundings, our material possessions. We want to dictate who we’ll befriend, who we can date, who we can sleep with, who we’ll keep or dismiss from our inner circle. Sometimes, we really believe that things would be better off in society if everyone else just did things our way.

Truthfully, we tend to fear what we can’t control. In fact, we cringe at the very thought of being controlled by someone, or something, other than ourselves. We’ll fight tooth and nail for what we perceive to be our rights…and we’ll fight anyone we perceive as a threat to these rights.

I see this at play with the current broiling war over gun control.

Those in favor of stricter gun control feel that controlling guns is the way to control gun violence. Those opposed feel that stricter gun control is itself a control mechanism, aimed at taking away their beloved right to have a gun in the first place.

Both sides clearly have control issues.

I see this most vividly in each side’s attempt to control the narrative about the opposing side. They want their counterpart to look as bad as possible to everyone else. And neither side is afraid to opportunistically use tragedies to push their political agenda.

The really sad thing in all of this is that while both sides bicker over gun control, very little is actually being accomplished.

For all of the reasoning and argumentation coming from both sides, neither seems to be doing much to stem the tide of gun violence in our nation. Men, women, boys, and girls are still being gunned down on an uncomfortably regular basis.

So what’s the solution? Well…of course I’m going to say that it’s Jesus.

Except…it’s not that simple.

Yes, I believe wholeheartedly that following Jesus’ example of love…and concern for social justice…is the way to solve this dilemma. But how does that actually play out in all of this? Is there some “one size fits all” blueprint for implementing Jesus’ formula into this problem?

Is Jesus for more gun control or less gun control? There’s the million-dollar question. Wouldn’t it be simpler to just have Jesus pick a side? I certainly think so.

Except…Jesus doesn’t do sides very well.

So…where does that leave us? I clearly don’t have all the answers. But I think it leaves us in a place where we really have to re-evaluate both sides of the gun control debate. I think we may even need to reassess whether control is really the issue at all.

The issue just might be that we don’t love our neighbor like we would want to be loved. What if it were not control, but Christlike love, that was the driving force behind gun control policy? Sounds incredibly naive and idealistic. But then again, so do most of the solutions to many problems.

Until those problems are solved.