The Right Enemy

We need the right enemy. That is what shapes the current crisis of guns in America. We have the wrong enemy. We have a lot of ammunition and a lot of weapons. We are in search of the wrong enemy, so we turn these lethal instruments on ourselves.

The collateral damage we have caused in Yemen, Iraq and Afghanistan by pursuing revenge, oil and other corporate and government secret agendas did not suffice. A drone fires at a funeral, or wedding or other community gathering, indiscriminately killing dozens or more to eliminate what we perceive as a single threat. That threat was not the enemy that stalks us in our malls and city streets. Our military had a successful hit, but it is still not enough. We don’t lower our flags to half mast, or even acknowledge that we have done harm. We return to our late-night news and comedy as though nothing has happened. We bring our troops home and pretend it was a bad, very bad dream. We chose the wrong enemies.

There was a time when deep physical hunger ravaged our country. We have long defeated starvation. We still have deep pockets of hunger and undernourishment. But those pockets are literally overshadowed, hidden behind the massive girth of obesity in our nation. We have unsafe water in many municipalities with lead and other contaminants. The lead contaminates the brains of these urbanites, causing irreversible damage to their intellect and emotions. While in rural America, methane, fertilizer runoffs and rare earth elements are deep within the ground-water used to cook, clean and drink. Cancers of the blood stream and soft tissues are expected and accepted. We are saturated with pleasure, but live in a drought of discontentment, depression and disillusion. These are the enemies that depress, and oppress us.

We have more than enough enemies. We just have not trained the right weapons or used the right tactics to defeat these foes of the fabric of our society.

We continue to delude ourselves that ‘the other, and those people’ are our enemies. In fact, we are our own worst enemy. Until we resolve to not indulge ourselves in the pleasures of blaming them, or him, and confess our sin of selfishness and pride, we will continue to experience the mass killings. Corporate greed and personal indulgence feed the real enemy in our midst. Drug overdoses, sexual exploitation of pornography and child abuse are just the symbols of our wrong choices.

We have lived by the sword in unresolved, unlawful, and expensive conflict overseas. Now we die by the sword in our own land. The guns may silence overseas, thousands of miles away. But we hear them every night in our cities, and every day of week at our places of work and worship. The nightmare we have visited upon others is our daily reality. We must defeat the right enemy. That enemy is our own sin.

Matthew 26: 52 “Put your sword back in its place,” Jesus said to him. “For all who draw the sword will die by the sword.