The Tragic Reality of Violence

The news over the past few weeks has been exceptionally tragic. We had the tragic downing of the Malaysian Airlines jet (MH17), the brutal conflict in eastern Ukraine, horrific attacks by the Boko Haram in Nigeria, the exodus of the Christians in Mosul, and the ongoing conflict in Gaza. And this is not all!

I have been studying the book of Joshua over the past few weeks. In the course of my readings, one commentator makes a point I never had seen before. He pointed out that when sin entered the world one of the ways sin manifested itself was in violence. This is what the commentator wrote:

“The biblical story of humanity becomes very quickly a story of sinful rebellion against God, and the heart of this sinfulness is not sex as often imagined, but violence. Violence asserts itself primevally in Cain’s brutal murder of his innocent brother Abel, a paradigm for all the cruel ruthlessness in the world that sets the life of the other at nought…Cain’s murderous act escalated to Lamech’s murderous habit. It is the violence of humanity that precipitates the flood; violence is the sin of Sodom; the reign of Pharaoh is violence enshrined n the apparatus of state. Violence cannot be removed from the record because it belongs intrinsically to it” (McConville and Williams 2010, “Joshua”, p. 189).

The news over the past few weeks shows us that not much has changed with humanity. Violence continues to characterize much of the human story.

As I read this, we face a particular challenge as the people of God. Can we create and model communities of peace, communities that reflect the gracious reign of The Prince of Peace?

As we create communities that reflect the gracious and peace loving character of God, what we do in our localities will have a global impact. This is because we were created to be communities that have a global impact. Why else did Jesus teach us to pray: “Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” We are hardwired as the people of God to think globally and have a global impact.

Let us strive to live at peace with one another (Hebrews 12:14), and as we do this let us pray that our actions have a rippling effect, reaching to the farthest corners of the earth!