Since I just posted about making a weapon, and I’m sure we’ll post about lots more weapons in the future, I thought that I would post our family’s thoughts on boys playing with weapons like guns, etc. Our position on this has developed as our boys grow and we are faced with new parenting situations, and I’m sure it will continue to change a little as our boys get bigger and into different things!
Boys like guns. There’s no way around that! Even if we didn’t own toy weapons, there would still be gun shaped pretzels, “gun sticks” brought home from the park, etc. If you have boys, you know!
The bottom line is that when it comes to violence, guns are not really the problem. The problem is our sinful hearts. Anger. Hatred. Desire for revenge. The thought that violence is something to turn to to solve our problems.
We have often taken our sons to Matthew 5: 21-22:
“You have heard that the ancients were told, ‘YOU SHALL NOT COMMIT MURDER’ and ‘Whoever commits murder shall the liable to the court.’ But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother shall be guilty before the court; and whoever says to his brother, ‘You good-for-nothing,’ shall be guilty before the supreme court; and whoever says, ‘You fool,’ shall be guilty enough to go into the fiery hell.”
These verses are not teaching that bad people go to hell and good people go to heaven. Rather, the point is that murder comes out of the heart attitudes of anger and hatred. A person is guilty before God if there is anger in their heart, even if outwardly they never resort to violence. Therefore, we need to address the heart issues of anger and revenge if we want to get to the root of the problem. Like most aspects of parenting, this is not easy!
We allow our boys to play with weapons, but we don’t allow:
- Pretending to shoot or injure each other, especially in anger.
- Pointing a weapon at a parent as a response to something they don’t like.
- Being the bad guy. This is not a black-and-white issue in scripture, but we don’t like them pretending to be bad. They don’t need any more practice at that!
The behaviors above are evidence of wrong heart attitudes that need to be addressed.
We have discussed with them that:
- Police officers and soldiers do not (well, should not) shoot because they enjoy it. Law enforcement is not a fun game. People should not enjoy injuring others.
- Hunting for food to eat is one thing; Killing animals out of a destructive spirit is another.
- Life has value. All things are created by God.
However, we can still enjoy catapulting, shooting, flinging, and all the other wildness boys love.
We do play:
- Nerf gun wars
- Water gun fights
- Shooting a sling shot!
- Running around with the neighbor boys playing hunting games
- Old west cowboys
- Sword play with nerf swords or pool noodle lightsabers
I will say that we do have to end some of these games when they take an angry turn or get too wild!
The boys have more historical weapon (like Davy Crocket) type toys because we prefer those over semi-automatic weapons of mass destruction (violent video games, toy machine guns). Again, this is our preference but not specified in scripture.
I’m absolutely sure that I have not exhausted this topic, and we will continue to learn as our children grow!
What comments do you have to add about shepherding boys’ hearts in the right direction concerning weapons?