In Solomon’s prayer for wisdom, we read: “Give your servant therefore and understanding mind to govern your people, able to discern between good and evil; for who can govern this your great people?” (I Kings 3:9)
Decision-making to promote gun violence prevention (GVP) necessitates discernment. Questions like: What is a good law or regulation? How ought weapons be regulated? How can we respect the meaning of the Constitution? How can we enhance the Preamble’s urging to “…ensure domestic tranquility?” How do we move forward for gun violence prevention? How do we save lives? I dove into the Bible seeking answers because I believe that for people of faith that is where we begin. Solomon’s prayer provides direction for answering these questions.
What is “good”? In the Old Testament, we hear of hospitality, prospering, “sensuous pleasures of sweetness”, faithfulness to God’s Covenant, God, moral excellence, joyful, agreeable, merciful, the innocent, the highest good and love.
What is evil? That which causes pain, harm, unhappiness or misery. Malice. One who injures you. When the covenant between God and humanity is injured. Idolatry.
It is safe to say that in Holy Scripture, weapons are used for killing and punishment. Using a sword, spear or bow and arrow for sport or target practice is nearly non-existant. There are a small number of references to hunting. Killing and hurting are the name of the Biblical weapons game.
Hence, it is fair to discern “good and evil” of weapons and their use. After all, people are created in the Image of God and are a “little lower than the angels.” Is it too much to expect weapons to honor these descriptors?
I will submit that putting weapons to the “good and evil” test will result in a significant improvement in gun violence prevention. Why? Because decisions about guns will prioritize hospitality and community, fostering joy, protecting the innocent and creating prosperity for all. “Good” will be the standard of excellence.