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There are government hearings going on (June 2022) that examine in detail the uprising of January 6th, 2021, which took place in Washington, D.C., at the capitol. Watching the sworn testimonies and questions, I was reminded of the verse: “A kingdom divided by civil war will collapse. Similarly, a family splintered by feuding will fall apart. And if Satan is divided and fights against himself, how can he stand? He would never survive.” (Mark 3:14-26)

This verse should warn us that, by analogy, our nation is dividing and in danger of falling apart. Abortion and gun control, among other things, have become political issues that have divided our nation and our families and friends. The result of division will be collapse unless people forgive their wrongdoers and they in turn confess their sins. If not, the family or nation remains separated. As Christians, we should realize that Satan is committed to dividing us. In the first book of the Bible, we read (in reference to Adam and Eve): “After sending them out, the Lord God stationed mighty cherubim to the east of the Garden of Eden. And he placed a flaming sword that flashed back and forth to guard the way to the tree of life.” (Genesis 3:24) Satan was responsible for the sin that separated Adam and Eve from the joyful and close presence of God. They were sent out of the garden, and the sword is also a symbol of division, resulting in war and fighting.

The sword was an instrument of warfare and used for infighting. There are 259 references to “sword” in the New Living Translation, and here are three that I have “cherry-picked.” Why those three? The first, already referred to in Genesis, shows that a sword was used to guard the Garden of Eden. Commands like, “Halt, who goes there?” were apparently not enough and even the sight of mighty cherubim wasn’t sufficient—it needed a sword.

Elsewhere, Jesus seems to say two conflicting things about swords. On the one hand, he says, “Don’t imagine that I came to bring peace to the earth! I came not to bring peace, but a sword.” (Matthew 10:34) However, he also says, “Put away your sword, […] Those who use the sword will die by the sword.” (Matthew 28:52) The first reverence is metaphorical: Jesus wanted his disciples to know that there would be turmoil and trouble ahead, indicated by his use of the word “sword.” The second provides a literal reckoning of what will happen if you think you can use a sword to carve someone up—you may get sliced in return.

The National Rifle Association met recently in Houston, and it was obvious that our nation is divided about “gun control,” as well as about other things, such as abortion and drugs, incarceration and the death penalty, and the media and fake news.

The mantra of the NRA is “Guns don’t kill people. People kill people.” It is a simple slogan, but it carries a lot of semantic weight. Of course, people kill people, but what do they usually use? Guns, knives, baseball bats, lead pipes, and other such instruments. Sometimes a person may strangle another person, but using a gun is more effective.

The catch cry of the NRA seems to me like saying, “Cars don’t kill people. Drivers do.” But drivers who use their cars to kill people find them dead, regardless of what phrase they might use. It would seem unusual to say, “What we need is more cars on the road so that people will be protected from accidents.”

I grew up with guns, but I don’t recall anyone I knew ever being killed deliberately with a gun. We used guns for hunting and target practice, but we didn’t kill people with them. We did not hunt rabbits, squirrels, or even deer with machine guns and automatic weapons. We didn’t shoot “sitting ducks” either, which would show poor sportsmanship. In other words, we were taught how to use our guns properly. We were told to never point a gun at another person and to always have the safety on. But we were allowed to live with guns because we learned how to use them.

The young man who killed 19 students and 2 teachers at the Uvalde Primary School knew how to use his guns, too, although most people would agree that he should not have been able to possess them. Our governor, one of our senators, and a former president claimed that he had “mental health issues,” and that anyone who kills someone else has such problems. This, of course, is true and such people need our sympathy and help.

However, there are probably millions of people in the US who have mental health issues, and they do not kill people. And why is that? Most likely, it is because they do not the means to do so. They may cuss and scream at people they don’t like and act crazy, but they can’t kill them with a sword or gun if they don't have one.

Even as I write this, I realize that my comments may divide people into groups who defend the 2nd Amendment to the Constitution broadly versus those who interpret it more cautiously. That sort of division happens when we can’t discuss an issue without rancor and hatred.

Satan is indeed busy dividing us, and he doesn’t care what the issue is.

Karl Franklin

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