In The News: A Real Heart Illness

By Frank Prater
September Edition

Of the many things I would like to write about for this news article, the one I have chosen may also be a controversial one.  However, what better avenue to stir our minds than to look at such subject matter with a Christian perspective. 

On a recent visit to New York City, as we toured Times Square,  the conversation turned to gun control. One may ask, why would Christians’ even be concerned about gun control?   It was I, the tourist in the group  who chose to approach the subject of gun control as we stood on a crowded street corner where masses of people had gathered.  The statement I made was that I could understand why someone from an environment like New York City could be concerned with the issue of gun control. However, I also added that in my small town America, the issue may not be the same as it would be in the city.  In the state of Arkansas, where the total population of the entire state is only about one fourth of the population of New York City, we may see the issue of gun control a little differently. 


In Arkansas , the great outdoors may be enjoyed  for many purposes like hunting, fishing, etc.  In fact, most of the population here, may consider themselves as sportsman.  To us, owning a gun means we can hunt for deer, squirrel, turkey, etc.,  in our own back yards.  In fact, and as President Bill Clinton once stated, students in public school may be dismissed from class on the opening day of deer season because the state government has determined that student hunters may as well be excused, because they might not be in class anyway. 


The conversation about gun control between the brother in New York,  and I was sort of a draw.  The tour guide, also a Christian, replied that he had never considered the issue of gun control as I had stated it. In turn, I replied how I could understand his concerns over the gun control issue. There is no way the conclusions, he and I came to will be the answer we need on gun control. How could we have gun control in some areas, and not in others, and honor the constitutional rights of all citizens?  Some will ask, how can we have gun control of any sort and honor the Constitution? Herein is the problem that we are facing concerning this issue.  


Is the true issue really gun control?  From my perspective the answer is simple, and is stated in the following cliché… “If owning guns is made to be a criminal offence, then only criminals will have guns.”  Therefore the issue of gun violence is not really addressed in the confiscation of guns, and the denial of constitutional rights of gun owners.  After all, isn’t it the criminal or criminal types, who ultimately instigate the use of guns in crimes? Does one think for a moment that criminals will turn in their guns, and not purchase more guns illegally?  Will criminals who use guns turn to knives, clubs, etc. as weapons? Will these items then also be outlawed? Why not criminalize the ownership of automobiles?  After all, cars may also be used in criminal activities?  

As I write this, a nearby community in Oklahoma is dealing with the murder of a 22 year old man, by three teenagers, using a gun, while in a car. Three criminals, one gun fired from one vehicle, leaves one man dead.  It is my understanding the gun, nor the car, should in any way be blamed for the murder. According to the reports, and the confession of one of the teenaged perpetrators of the crime, there may have been two reasons for the criminal act. One; the teens were simply bored, and were looking for some excitement. Two; it has been said the murderers were seeking to be initiated into a gang. 


At issue is something much more important than simply passing laws to control guns. We need to look deeply into the cause of such violence which is spewed from the hearts of humanity. You see, such violence is not simply an American phenomenon. Other countries also report horrific crimes committed with guns. This is done, even though the countries may have strict gun control laws. It is reported that the cities in America having the strictest gun control laws, are the most violent when it comes to crimes committed with guns. 


What you may ask is the reason of such violence? In reply, I must answer with this question; could it be that society itself is to blame?  By now some of you may say that at this point, I will now begin to condemn, and blame television, movies, cartoons, and video games, etc. for the violence.  While I in good conscience cannot give my approval to the use, or misuse, of  these items, I still cannot say that they are the only cause of the violence of which we speak.  Indeed, many may use these instruments frequently and never be involved in gun violence.    This is said with some reservation because at the same time I am writing this article, another news article reads, “Boy, 8, Fatally Shoots Relative 90, After Playing Video Game, Cops Say.”  And yet another news article reads about the senseless beating to death of an 88 year old World War Two veteran. The weapon of choice in this crime; a flashlight.  On the same day, our local paper reminds us that two men have lost their lives due to being attacked by a man using a machete. In the suspects home, police found four other machetes, and other weapons of this nature. 


Perhaps, you, and I may be of a different persuasion on this sensitive subject, but clearly, the issue is not gun control. One may ask what then is the answer, and where is the problem?  Together; we will admit that violence is a problem  in modern society. Where does the violence come from? Surely, we can all understand that violence comes from a heart condition.  


You see, unless the hearts of men are healed, or changed we will continue to see the senseless violence we see in our homes, schools, streets, etc. As it is, instead of seeing a healing process, we are seeing an escalation of the problem.    


Once again, this news just in, a senseless act of violence on a street in Memphis, Tennessee leaves a young man dead from a gunshot wound. It was not the gun that caused this act of violence, anymore than it was the car, the flashlight, the machete, or any other instrument used in the crimes I have mentioned in this article. No my friend, it was the condition of the hearts of those who did these acts of violence.  Until the hearts of men is changed we can expect more of the same. The further society gets from the principles of God, and a godly life style, the more this type of sickness will be seen. 


Yes, we are living in a sick society, where the ways of Satan are becoming more, and more manifest each and every day. If we are going to see any changes toward positive, and good in our society,  we must first have healing of the heart of man…    


The Word of God said   “My son, give me thine heart, and let thine eyes observe my ways.” PROVERBS 23:26.  Simply put, when God is in control of the heart, that person will live in a godly way.  Again, God cautions mankind that until hearts are healed, there will only be an increase of this insanity…   MATTHEW 13:15  For this people's heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them.      


It is Satan who has caused the hearts of man to be sickened to the point that they need healing. It is Satan that has bought such blindness to man that he cannot see nor understand his acts of hate, and violence comes from a sick heart… 


evfrankpraterBrother Frank Prater resides in Arkansas  with his  wife Sister Pam.  He is the pastor of Eagle Lighthouse Tabernacle in Fort Smith, Arkansas.    He also writes a column called Concerning Prophecy for  the Eagle’s View newsletter.


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