A few weeks ago I was in fellowship with a group of Christian brothers when a turn in our conversation made me very uncomfortable.
We began to discuss the recent tragic acts of violence that ended the lives of nine faithful servants at a church in Charleston. One of my brothers suggested that if one of the victims had been carrying a concealed firearm, there may have been a better outcome. Another said if he were in a movie theater he would feel safer knowing that someone in the theater carried a licensed, concealed weapon. Another said that a friend or acquaintance routinely carries a concealed weapon to church.
I was quiet and became increasingly uncomfortable. One of my brothers noted my expression and asked me to share. I said, “safety is an illusion.”
We are willing to do much, sacrifice much for what appears to be safety for ourselves, our families and our communities. We are willing to do much, sacrifice much to protect our assets, our possessions, our egos and our good names. We do this in the pursuit of what appears to be safety, to secure what we hold as precious.
In an instant, serious disease, accident, addiction or act of violence can tear away the veil of apparent safety. Without warning our foundation of misplaced confidence, even arrogance can become seriously eroded.
So, where do we place our trust? “But store up treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor decay destroys, nor thieves break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there also will your heart be.” Matt 5:20-21 NAB
Our brother Francis offers another way, “Lord, make me an instrument of Your peace. Where there is hatred let me sow love; where there is injury pardon; where there is doubt faith … it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.” The faithful witnesses of the families of the Charleston victims witnessed powerfully to this reality.
The world’s safety IS an illusion. Seek instead the peace that comes from following God’s will in our lives, serving God’s people and trusting in God’s divine providence. The only REAL safety is found in God’s loving embrace.