“Be polite, be professional, but have a plan to kill everybody you meet” – Gen James Mattis, USMC
In the wake of the terrible tragedy that occurred in Las Vegas this week there are all sort of opinions out there regarding how to prevent these attacks in the future and who can be blamed. While this horrific event has brought out several harrowing rescue stories, and sacrificial work for the good of others, the pundits still jump to their opposing corners and spew their talking points which ends in the politicization of a moment in time when we should be simply pulling together to support those who have been hurt.
While I’ve got my opinions about of the government’s role in curbing these types of attacks, I wanted to offer some ideas for what a Christian disciple ought to consider in order to be a part of the solution while we live in a time where events like what happened this week are simply a reality.
Our project at Intentional Encounter is centered on inspiring men to become free from the attachments of the world so that we can be open to a life changing encounter with Christ. We have found that an effective path towards freedom is found by gaining self-mastery through becoming fit and ingraining good habits like eating healthy. As we become detached from the addictive stimulus that bombards our culture we can reclaim our ability to make choices rather than be subject to our impulses. Through increased personal freedom we can become informed of the ways of the culture and make educated decisions on how to act rather than being swayed by one view point or another. Everything starts and ends with freedom.
Understanding how to defend yourself and those in your stead is a critical component of manhood. We must be able to recognize and identify evil for what it is and be aware that we may be called upon to repel an evil act when that time comes. While it is informative and important to better understand the common traits of those who purport evil in our society, we can’t forget the reality that their acts of aggression and violence are in direct conflict to the truth of how they were made and present an imminent danger to others. Regardless of what their mother’s did to them when they were kids or whacky ideology they ascribe to we must recognize their inherent dignity while at the same time identify that their violent actions are evil. These ideas are not mutually exclusive.
When dealing with disturbed individuals Jesus didn’t just sympathize and excuse their delusion. He recognized the evil acts which were spewing out of them and stopped it. He, like no one else, has the power to change the interior dispositions of the heart, but He still recognized and repelled their evil acts.
We must be prepared to defend ourselves from evil acts even if it comes down to blows. Learn how to punch, kick and grapple. In our day and age men also need to understand the art of war and how a firearm is a tool to be used to defend ourselves and those we are responsible for. Get to the gun range, familiarize yourself with various weapon systems, take a class, become a proficient weapon handler in case your preparation is needed to serve its’ end.
This term basically means to plan for the worst and hope for the best. Through a little mental planning and becoming aware of your surroundings you can put yourself and your family in a better position if and when the s&*% hits the fan.
The news is replete with stories of violence seemingly all around us. It is here and a part of the fabric of our culture, whether it is the threat of terrorism or random acts of evil perpetrated by the quiet guy who kept to himself until he snapped. As men we must not be caught on our heels but rather become situationally aware when we are out and about in order to rapidly increase our decision making process under extreme stress.
This can be done in public venues, like church, by knowing where the closest ingress and egress routes are, placing your family strategically to be able to see an attack coming and get them to safety rapidly. If you are trained, capable and situationally aware you then can become the predator in order to put down the threat and save lives. You should also place yourself in the shoes of an attacker when you are out to decide where the easiest paths to violence lie and plan accordingly.
While this seems like something the police should handle, it is. The government trains its officers well and they will respond appropriately, however, if you are waiting on them to end the situation and have no plan to help yourself or your family then the event will extend longer than needed and evil will continue to tighten its grip and try to snuff out freedom through fear, violence and death.
While these practical lessons may seem reasonable for just being a dude, you may be wondering what they have to do with being a disciple of Christ. I believe that being a dude has everything to do with our identity as disciples because it is someone who knows who they are in God’s eyes and acts accordingly despite pressure from the world to act differently or not at all. Since the Fall, God places men over fields to toil in (Gen 3; 17-19) and we are called to put our hands to the plow (Luke 9; 62) in various parts of our lives and we must be willing to cooperate with Him and put the work in to tend to our fields. Striving for personal freedom, preparing to fight and becoming situationally aware are all skills we can develop to become effective disciples’ of Christ who tend to what has been given to us as men to cultivate.
Lastly, it is the Christian who can bring back the proper perspective of hope to a world that is riddled with fear and despair. We possess the truth that there is nothing to fear in Christ. He has defeated evil once and for all and it is our mission while we are here on this earth to spread that truth. While evil is allowed by God and continues affect our world through sin, it does not have the final say and we can participate in God’s life-saving mission by picking up our cross daily and laying down our lives for each other.
“Put on the Armor of God” (Eph 6:11)