I made a mistake today. Driving around running errands I switched on a Christian radio station [K-Love] and they were talking about the shooting in Nashville. They went on and on about how tragic it was and how they never want to have to say the phrase “another school shooting” ever again. I was lulled into thinking they were about to do something sane or compassionate.
But, no. They introduced a guest who said, “Prayer is the only answer” to which the DJ’s both agreed, “Yes, Amen. Prayer is the only answer right now.”
Then the guest quoted the verse “If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” [2 Chron. 7:14]
As if what the verse says is: “Just keep praying and things will get better.”
Because, I’m sorry my friends, but that’s not what the verse says.
Please notice the very important part that emphasizes the need to “turn from [our] wicked ways.”
Think about that. What is it that allows these school shootings to become a near daily occurrence?
What is it that has led us to the place where guns are the #1 cause of death for children in our Nation?
Is it not our “wicked ways” that prioritize politics over the lives of children? Is it not our “wicked ways” that leads us to offer “thoughts and prayers” over and over again expecting a different result?
Maybe it’s time to stop and reconsider our “wicked ways” and our sin of complacency and apathy in the face of a relentless slaughter of our children, day after day, week after week, year after year.
Until we turn from our “wicked ways”, our thoughts and prayers will continue to be as useless as stopping the next shooting as all the other times we prayed after a mass shooting in a school.
Prayer will not change anything, my friends. It may make you feel better. It might help you sleep tonight. But it will not stop the next school shooting, or the next nightclub shooting, or the next mosque or church or mall shooting.
Prayer is not the answer. Repentance – in the form of changing our hearts and expressing our genuine love and concern for the children who remain alive today – that leads to action and change is the only answer.
We don’t need to pray about that to know it’s true.
It’s the guns. It’s not a mental health crisis.
It’s the guns. It’s not violent video games.
It’s the guns. It’s not Hollywood.
It’s the guns. It’s not the lack of more guns.
But, deep down inside we all know this is true.
If more guns made us safer than we – the nation with the most guns per capita than any other nation on earth – would be the one with the lowest crime rates and the least number of mass shootings.
But, instead, we’re the only developed nation on this planet who hasn’t found a way to solve this problem.
Japan has solved this.
Australia has solved this.
Norway, Sweden, Denmark, England, France, Italy and Spain have solved this.
If we’re really the greatest nation on earth, we would have learned from the rest of the planet by now.
Keep your stupid prayers.
We need to turn from our wicked ways now before another child gets shot in the classroom.
It won’t stop until we stop it.
Please. Let’s stop it.
Keith Giles is the best-selling author of the Jesus Un series. He has appeared on CNN, USA Today, BuzzFeed, and John Fugelsang’s “Tell Me Everything.” His latest book, SOLA MYSTERIUM: Celebrating the Beautiful Uncertainty of Everything is available now on Amazon in paperback and on Kindle.