Tag Archives: Guns

Not Reliant

Read Mark 13:3-13

ALSO IN SCRIPTURE
“For false messiahs and false prophets will rise up and perform signs and wonders so as to deceive, if possible, even God’s chosen ones.”  (Mark 13:22, NLT)

FacepalmJesusA friend and colleague of mine just recently shared with me a trailer for an upcoming “faith-based” film, called The Reliant. The film takes place in America following a collapse of the American economy, where people are in social disarray and are rioting and resorting to extreme violence due to their financial and social circumstances. It stars the likes of Kevin Sorbo (of Hercules and God’s Not Dead fame), Brian Bosworth, Eric Roberts, and others.

The premise itself is very realistic. Many of us have lived the economic collapse of 2008 and the devastating panic that such an event causes in society as a whole. When finances get tight, but the cost of living remains the same and people cannot make end’s meet, things can go southward very quickly. Add to that fact that we have, in recent years, seen a rise in militant white nationalists and “progressive” anti-fascists (aka Antifa) violently marching through streets at the cost of property damage and even the loss of lives; yes, the premise of The Reliant is quite believable.

The question is NOT about it’s believability; rather, the question is in what it places its reliance. After all, the very title of the film is The Reliant. When one watches the trailer it, on the one hand, is claiming to be a faith-based film. The words faith, God, family, and other things all appear on the screen. We can hear people say the words “God is good”. On the other hand, the film is about a man fighting to defend his faith and his family through gun violence.

You heard me right. This film is an action film about a man who uses his gun to shoot and, presumably kill, the Antifa-like protesters that are resorting to violence. Granted, he’s doing it to “protect” his family from violent protesters and people who have a beef with him and his faith. I am not quite sure how the faith aspect fits in; however, the film’s slogan is as follows: “Protect family and faith at all costs.”

The problem with this premise is that it ABSOLUTELY NOT faith based. The characters are supposedly reliant on God; however, all it seems they are reliant on are guns. Nowhere, in all of the Gospels, will you hear Jesus utter the words, “protect family and faith at all costs”. Quite the opposite. Jesus taught about not responding violently to violence. He taught to turn the other cheek, to love one’s enemies, to pray for those who persecute you, and he told Peter that, “those who live by the sword will die by the sword” (Matthew 26:52).

In Mark, Jesus went so far as to say, “A brother will betray his brother to death, a father will betray his own child, and children will rebel against their parents and cause them to be killed. And everyone will hate you because you are my followers. But the one who endures to the end will be saved” (Mark 13:12-13, NLT). The endurance that Jesus was speaking of was endurance in the faith and in living by his teachings. He is NOT saying those who endure to the end by blowing their enemies away will be saved.

While this film might claim to be a “faith-based” film, the kind of faith it promotes is a faith in guns and their ability to protect us. That is counter to the teachings of Christ and the Gospel message. Do not hear me wrong. I AM NOT saying that people shouldn’t own guns or that they should be banned. So, don’t read that into this. The critique being made is not about guns, or violent movies, or  but about people who promote a false-Christian message. It is about people who are blasphemously using Christ’s name to call for faith in guns.

Let us not be deceived. Jesus warned that many would come in his name and claim this or that his him, but that we ought not to be deceived. When something comes in the name of Christ, but looks, sounds and acts nothing like Christ, we can be sure it is NOT Christ. I pray that you will not support this film as it we should not support something that sells the world a false Messiah or a false Gospel. While the characters and filmmakers are clearly not reliant in Jesus Christ, I pray you place your reliance in Him, sharing his love and grace to all people.

THOUGHT OF THE DAY
“I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me.” – Jesus Christ in John 14:6, NLT

PRAYER
Lord, draw me close to you and help me to grow in my trust and reliance on you! Amen.

WORKS OF THE FLESH: Quarrels

Read Galatians 5:13-21

ALSO IN SCRIPTURE
“A hot-tempered person starts fights; a cool-tempered person stops them.” (Proverbs 15:18 NLT)

In his letter to the church in Galatia, the Apostle Paul is writing to a community that is divided over the issue of male circumcision: should new Gentile followers of Jesus be counted as a part of the Jewish covenant without being circumcised, or should they have to be circumcised just as all of the Jews are circumcised. Being that Christianity at the time wasn’t a religion, but a sect of Judaism, this was a VITALLY IMPORTANT question. While Paul is opposed to making Gentiles be circumcised, he also is against divisive behavior regardless of which side it is coming from. In response to this division, Paul describes to the Galatian church what he calls, “the works of the flesh.”

FieryQWORKS OF THE FLESH: Quarrels. I remember when growing up as a boy who had a younger sister. My sister and I were only two years apart and, for the most part, we were really close in our relationship. We did a ton of things together. We would play in the yard, we would ride our bikes, and when push came to shove we defended one another. With that said, like most siblings, when we got into a quarrel with one another, we really got into it! We knew each other so well, that we knew how to push each other’s buttons. Our love, in those moments, grew into bitter animosity. You know the old adage, “the best of friends make the worst of enemies.”

Well, my sister and I were never enemies…thanks be to God. With that said, there were moments where we really quarreled with each other. We would go back and forth, delivering insult for insult, and we would drive our parents crazy with it. All my parents wanted was for us to get along and to be peacemakers…and by that I don’t mean becoming a Colt .45. Yet our words would go back and forth and the bullets shot from our mouths would often cause more hurt than either of us realized. What’s more, often these quarrels would be over the most trivial and mundane things (e.g., whose turn it was to watch TV or what music we would listen to on the radio).

What’s sad is that, while it is natural for children to quarrel with one another, the quarreling doesn’t end when children grow into adults. Many families are split down the middle over quarreling, and that holds true for church families. In the church, more time is spent on quarreling than on worship and mission combined. We find ourselves so ready to quarrel with the people “we’ve always disagreed with” that we’ll disagree on just about anything in order to keep that quarrel going. We may not think of ourselves as being that way, and we may not consciously realize we are behaving that way, but in all honesty that is the reality of it.

Like an exasperated parent, God is wanting us to stop quarreling, but we are often too busy quarreling to stop and listen to God, let alone to stop and listen to one another. Pride is at the root of quarreling, for neither side wants to give in or give up for fear of showing weakness in such humility. Often we are too blinded by our own opinions on things that we cannot even entertain anyone else’s opinion; thus, we shut the other out and quarrel with them. Again, God is calling us to stop quarreling. God is calling us to be peacemakers. It is certainly okay to put forward our opinion on things; however, it is not okay to do so at the expense of everyone else. It is okay to have a voice, but it is not okay to shut the voices of others out. Often times, our quarrelsome tendency will intimidate people to the point that they remain silent to avoid conflict. Let us stop with the quarreling and join Paul in his quest to serve God by being peacemakers and seeking harmony.

THOUGHT OF THE DAY
“If we open a quarrel between past and present, we shall find that we have lost the future.” – Winston Churchill

PRAYER
Lord, quell the pride within us and transform us into your peacemakers. Amen.