Good Guys and Bad Guys

January 22, 2013

Romans 3:22

"For there is no distinction, since all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God."

Anthony B. Robinson

National Rifle Association President, Wayne LaPierre, says, "The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun." Therefore, the good guys need more guns.

Let's try to think about this as Christians. For Christians, as Paul puts it above, the world does not divide into "good guys" and "bad guys." We wish that it did. If it did, it would be easy. Everyone thinks they are the good guys.

But the gospel says - and here it gets tough - we're actually all in group two. We're all bad guys. To use the old language, "We're all sinners who stand in need of grace." All, not some.

Perhaps we think, "Well, that's theology. It has nothing to do with real life or guns or all this violence plaguing American life." Actually, it has everything to do with all these things and more.

Instead of assuring us that we are the good guys, the ones who should have guns, our faith cautions us to be very, very careful about claiming to be the good guys and very, very cautious about  taking the power of life and death into our own hands and homes. We are all - at least potentially - violent people.

The real world is not like a B movie, divided clear as day between the good guys and the bad guys. Rather, the world is divided between the people who know their own sinfulness and potential for violence and who because of this treat guns with great respect and severe limits; and people who imagine that because they are good guys it's okay - even imperative - that they are armed to the teeth.

Paul had it right. "All have sinned and all have fallen short of the glory of God."

Prayer

Dear God, embracing humankind, forgive our foolish ways;  Reclothe us in our rightful mind, in purer lives your service find, in deeper reverence, praise." (Hymn No. 502, New Century Hymnal)

About the Author
Anthony B. Robinson, a United Church of Christ minister, is a speaker, teacher and writer. His newest book is Called to Lead: Paul's Letters to Timothy for a New Day, and he is also the author of the just-published Book of Exodus: A God is still speaking Bible Study. Read his weekly reflections on the current lectionary texts at www.anthonybrobinson.com by clicking on Weekly Reading.

Order Spring Cleaning: 2013 Lent Devotionals - new from the Stillspeaking Writers' Group and other favorite UCC writers. Lent starts Feb. 13.

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