The Source of Violence and How Christians Should Respond
Written by Lydia D’Ross, Ordained Minister and Outreach Chaplain for RENEWAL at Brookhaven Hospital
In the book of Genesis, the first blood shed or violence on the human race was recorded. Most of us are familiar with the story, Cain murders Abel, for a reason that comes right from the heart–it was jealousy. It was not just a superficial jealously that could be easily dismissed, but rather, Cain allowed his jealousy towards his only brother, to grow deep in his heart, and it eventually cost Abel his life. Abel’s heart was right towards God, but Cain’s wasn’t. God was still merciful towards Cain, giving him an opportunity to repent and to get right with God. Cain chose the latter. The source of violence can begin with a thought or words.
“Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed; for in the image of God has God made man.” (Genesis 9:6).
Violence against human beings is wrong as God created man in His own Image. For God is love.
Jesus modeled non-violence. In Sermon of the Mount Jesus called the crowd (Matthew 5)
21 “Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not kill; and whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment: 22 But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment…”
Murder may seem to occur instantly, but it is often the result of something that has built up over time. The soul builds on the thought of jealousy that leads to anger, to rage and then towards action, for example.
All sin comes out of the human spirit of the heart. Do your best not to get offended or cause offense but instead, be peacemakers. Don’t be triggered by another’s rage. John Stott, in his commentary on the Sermon on the Mount says, “Now peacemaking is a divine work. For peace means reconciliation, and God is the author of peace and of reconciliation.” Matthew 5:9 “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.”
Mel Larenz, Minister for Elmbrook Church and Director of the Brook Network says this, “There are many professionals whose work is peacemaking, and we need to pray for them and support them. Law enforcement, criminal justice, educators, mental health professionals, and many others. Safety and security in a community comes from a network of collaborators. We will never eliminate violence, but we can lessen it. ”
Let’s teach our children to become peacemakers for their generation, and pray for all of the adults who are doing the important work in our communities of peacemaking and reconciliation in these turbulent times.