The accidental shooting of Charles Vacca by a 9 year old was one that could have been avoided.
Had the parents of the 9 year old or Vacca decided against allowing a fragile child to use an open bolt, blowback-operated Israeli sub machine gun, the shooting range instructor would probably still be alive today.
The deadly incident took place in Arizona, three years ago, at a favorite gun range for many gun enthusiasts. Vacca was instructing the little girl on how to fire the high-powered weapon (Uzi). After firing the gun, she lost control, the gun recoiled and Vacca who was standing at her side received a fatal strike to his head.
The ill-fated incident sparked debate about gun control, gun safety sand children. Many considered entrusting a powerful firearm in the hand of someone so young as “extremely reckless”.
There are times when we act recklessly. Without carefully considering the emotional state or spiritual maturity of others, we act and say words that fatally strike and injure the hearts of others. We plant seeds of hate, hurt and indifference in the minds of others. Whether done in frustration, fear or jest, we misuse opportunities granted to us to powerfully lead impressionable, vulnerable and open hearts, on a path of light, when we thoughtlessly just say as we feel and do what we feel.
Christ invites us to take full responsibility of our words and actions. He calls us mirror His speech and actions (pure, honest, loving , uplifting and inspiring) even in moment when our hearts and minds are tempted to give in to dark impressions. Christ prompts us to rely on divine impressions to sweetly influence others through the art of “speaking words fitly spoken” (See Proverbs 25: 11- 13) in times and places that are appropriate (See Ecclesiastes 3: 1).
This art of giving others the right tools and words at the right time can only be experienced and mastered when we have received the gift of discernment from God.
Discernment- the ability to distinguish between the influence of God, Satan, the world and flesh in a given situation. Also, the ability to distinguish or rightly appraise a person, statement, situation or environment at a given time. This ability helps you to determine what the wisest course of action is to handle or tackle the person or situation.
This gift of discernment requires us to trust the Spirit of God, the Word of God and the voice of God when interacting with others. It shifts our focus from the dictates of our own emotions and personal biases (see Jeremiah 17: 9) and steadies our attention to the prompting and leading of the Holy Spirit. It showers us with wisdom; helps us to distinguish the spirits or spiritual influences at play in a given situation and equips us with the right words to say and most appropriate deeds to act out in the right moment.
But, exercising a spirit of discernment and walking in wisdom is a daily struggle.
It takes time to master.
Still, even while we struggle with not being reckless with our words and actions or struggle with being patient with ourselves or the work of the Holy Spirit within us, God never runs out of patience.
He forever sends His Holy Spirit to continue to call us and empower us to operate from a higher level of being.
I’m also glad that He does not hypocritically call us not to be reckless while He operates recklessly. God does not do anything without careful regard of our capacity to manage, handle and endure our current test. He does not give us access to tools, people and opportunities that we are not strong enough to use, handle, nurture, and complete or fulfill. He is not careless in the things that He gives to us. He always equips us with common sense, His Holy Spirit and divine strength. He considers our spiritual maturity, emotional landscape, resource reservoir and physical strength.
He is not an irresponsible God of sloppy proportions.
May we allow a spirit of discernment and the gift of discernment to govern our hearts, so that we’ll see a decrease in our number of “fatal strikes” committed daily, against others. May we also pause and thankfully reflect on the God who operate recklessly with us…for that’s just not who He is.
(C) 2017, Dentrecia Blanchette