My heart goes out to the families of the victims of Elliott Roger’s murderous rampage. May God give His mercy and compassion to those who grieve the death of innocent loved ones. May His people demonstrate to these families the deep love of God as they try to cope and recover from their catastrophic loss.
As happened with other shootings that have stunned the nation, the carnage has rekindled a passionate debate about gun control. One side says “If only guns were illegal, Elliott would have been unable to shoot anyone and three of the victims would still be breathing today.” The other side says “If everyone had a gun and was trained on how to properly use them, Elliott’s roommates might have successfully defended themselves and Elliot would have been incapacitated from the very start of his execution of revenge.”
However, it seems to me this story illustrates that there are some other things that need to be banned, things far more important than guns.
- Hatred – Elliott was consumed by hatred for entire classes of people for alleged grievances against him.
- Envy – Elliott killed because he resented that others enjoyed things he didn’t have.
- Self-Centeredness – Elliott was laser focused on Elliott, not on the needs and struggles of others.
- Godlessness – Elliott’s actions clearly convey he did not believe in an eternal God who would defend him, correct injustices, and meet his needs in the future. In the absence of God, Elliott fancied himself as god.
- Corrupt value system – Elliott was consumed with the belief that circumstances and possessions dictate value. If the circumstances of his life were better, his life would have had more value. If he had things – a girlfriend for example – his life would have been valued. Elliott found no value in his life absent of desired circumstances and possessions.
If Elliott was loving, happy for others to enjoy life, selfless, god-focused, and content in his circumstances, he could have owned an arsenal of weapons and we would all have been safe. It is ironic that if the girls who knew Elliott could have described him in such a manner, they would probably have been lining up to enjoy his company.
Let’s start a campaign to ban hatred, envy, self-centeredness, godlessness, and corrupt value systems.
Didn’t Jesus Christ do that 2,000 years ago? Didn’t He speak of love for God and love for your neighbor? Didn’t He speak about not being envious of others? Didn’t He speak about the Good Samaritan, who put other’s needs before his own? Didn’t He speak against a value system that prioritizes an emphasis on circumstances and possessions?
He convicted us. He spoke to our heart condition. He hit the nail on the head. In our true nature, humans hate, envy, are self-centered, are godless, and corrupt. What did we do with His laser accurate description of our souls? We killed Him! Who wants to be told our hearts need to be changed? Who wants to be told we are corrupt in our core value system? Not the people of Palestine back then and not us today either.
If Elliott Rogers’ soul was corrupt, maybe that means our soul is corrupt too. Maybe our hearts have hatred, envy, and selfishness too. If we debate how Elliott’s character should have been different, we must inevitably look in the mirror at ourselves.
We can’t have that! Oh no! We love our hatred, envy, and selfishness! So, we can’t look at issues of the heart when we examine this tragedy. Nope!
Instead, we focus on gun control or the failure of the mental health system, police, or parents. We protect our own hatreds by focusing not on Elliott’s all too normal condition of his heart but on the guns and ammunition found in his smashed car beside his body.
And so there will be more tragedies in the future because we fail to see the real reason Elliott did what he did, which has a name – “sin”.
Let’s instead ban toothpicks, kitchen utensils, belts, shoe laces, razors, garden tools, plastic bags, etc.,.