Because my heart has been heavy over the recent acts of senseless violence involving young persons, and because of my own experience and mistakes at a time in my life when I was younger, troubled and vulnerable, I have felt compelled to write these pages on youth violence...
Guns have of course been a part of the American culture, and we'd be deceiving ourselves if we said this was not so. I grew up watching dozens of different war and cowboy movies. But I do not believe the problem is with guns or any other weapons that adolescents may get their hands on.
Our main problem is with the human heart. The Bible says that the heart of man is "desperately wicked (Jeremiah 17:9)."
This is not a put-down on God's part. He is, however, simply revealing the truth. And it is not an easy truth for anyone to accept that our heart may be bad and filled with sin. But I believe what the Scripture says; I believe this to be correct.
Jesus Christ said that "Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God (Matthew 4:4)." Therefore, man needs God, and our lives are somehow incomplete without Him.
Many young persons are, unfortunately, so caught up in the materialism of this world, or in having to impress their peers by trying to obtain a reputation for themselves, that they spend much of their lives on what will ultimately prove to be futile.
They long for respect and go to great lengths to get it, often to their own harm.
And in order to get a reputation and earn respect, sadly, many young men think they need a gun. They think it's cool to have one. That they're on better footing if that steel piece is in their pocket.
But this is foolishness and self-deception. Here are, I believe, some of the reasons why young men carry guns:
Some youth are obviously curious about firearms. Others think that, since the "other dude" may be carrying a gun, he's going to need one too. Such thinking has led to many deaths as teenagers are quick to pull out their pistols in an attempt to shoot first.
Then there is the delusion of self-respect. An insecure youngster thinks that by carrying a gun his peers will fear and respect him, that they would stay off his path.
Next comes power. Multitudes of teens lack a sense of identity. They believe no one cares about them. Also, that they have no control over things or events which happen around them. Thus having a lethal weapon gives one a false and obviously foolish idea that by packing a pistol he now has power.
Finally there is old fashion rebellion. Many teenagers want to snub their noses at the laws of the land, and I suppose they think that carrying a gun is one way to do this.
No doubt there are plenty of hard headed adolescents who are willing to get down and dirty, and who think it's no big deal to destroy someone's life. But they have no idea, because they're so impulsive and don't think things through, what awaits them when they make that move to get violent.
Nevertheless, the bottom line is this: Kids don't need guns, they need God.