The book of Ezekiel can be a difficult book to grasp at times. There are sections that are written in a literary style that we are not real familiar with. However, one theme that runs throughout the book of Ezekiel is that of accountability. In chapter 18 of Ezekiel we are told of a popular proverb among the people:
The parents eat the sour grapes, and the children’s teeth are set on edge.
The point of the proverb is that one person does wrong, but someone else receives the punishment.
God tells the people to no longer use the proverbial statement, but rather recognize that with God, “the soul that sins will die” (Ezekiel 18:20). The point is God holds people accountable for their actions.
I bring all of this up because of the recent tragic events in Arizona. I am seeing the discussion move away from the person accountable for the shooting, and toward the idea of gun control. The point is that in order to prevent this type of violence, we need to make it illegal to own certain types of guns, or gun accessories. Stricter gun laws equals less crime.
Here is where I see a problem. The deaths in Arizona were illegal already. No new law has to go on the book to make what Jared Loughner did illegal. He committed murder. And from what we can tell about the guy, he would have done it whether a gun was involved or not. He had decided to commit murder. What if he would have used his car, or an ax, or some other means to accomplish his sinful plot, Do we then have to make up new laws to prevent the next person from using those means to do wrong?
You see the truth of the matter is that you cannot legislate everything, nor can you legislate away evil. All nations can do is set up laws that punish evil and promote good. And then once someone violates those laws to hold that person accountable with the hopes that it will deter further crimes.
Evil exists. We want to believe that we can make it go away if we just tweak the system a little here or there, but that is a false hope. Instead Christians recognize evil exists in the world and that people will do evil things and when those things happen we believe that our government should hold people accountable.
Never again do I think we need to hear the proverb:
A criminal shot a man, and the innocent have their guns removed.