I have struggled this past week to put into words how I’ve felt since news broke of the tragedy in Aurora. I had a blog post in the makings last week about how to show mercy toward those who offend or violate us directly (sparked by my iPhone getting stolen – which now seems so irrelevant) and while a lot could be written about mercy in this situation, I don’t feel equipped to go there today.
I was so strongly reminded in prayer this week that we are living amidst a battle between good and evil. We spend most days unaware of the war waging around us. Then evil wins a round and the tragedy jolts us (momentarily) out of our ignorance.
There’s been a lot of discussion about gun control and the right to bear arms following the Aurora tragedy. People store up weapons with the idea that someday we might have to rise up and defend ourselves against a corrupt government. But what about the corruption that wages on today? What are we arming ourselves with to fight against the kind of evil, hate, isolation and anger that lead to murder and destruction?
I’m not interested in having a conversation about gun control. Handguns, assault rifles, rounds of ammo… that weaponry will not help us sort out the tragedy and suffering we see in the headlines, our communities and our own families. How do we find healing and restoration in the midst of evil?
God asks us to put on a different kind of armor:
“Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.” Ephesians 6:13-18
What would our world look like if we put this armor on every day? What if, instead of putting on masks to hide our insecurities and false selves, we deliberately armed ourselves with truth? Peace? Prayer? What if we stood confidently in the armor of God, prepared to fight for good?
Out of tragedies like Aurora, stories of community, resilience, healing, mercy and even miracles emerge. Every day, people choose peace over war and prayer over denigration. It’s not easy, this is not heaven. We must recognize this reality. Evil pervades.
But it does not prevail.
To believe in Christ is to know that good ultimately wins. So let’s put down our weapons and put on the armor that matters.
“Where, O death, is your victory?
Where, O death, is your sting?”
The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.” 1 Corinthians 15:55-58