VIOLENCE

Psalm 11:5 The Lord tests the righteous but the wicked and the one who loves violence His soul hates. Upon the wicked He will rain coals; fire and brimstone and a burning wind shall be the portion of their cup.

Last Sunday June 12, a lone jihadist gun man, Omar Mateen, a self professed Islamic State member, went into a gay night club in Orlando Florida, killing 49 people and wounding 53 others. He was, later killed by police. This tragic and painful incident became even more outrageous when the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) blamed Christians for causing the death of the gays in the club citing homophobic resentment against the LGBT community and supporting the Muslim Community on this issue! They choose to ignore the fact that this deranged gunman was declaring allegiance to the Islamic State; was a wife beater and above all, a homosexual himself! This incident was declared to be one of the worst terror attacks since 9/11!

Such violence has been recorded as an almost common occurrence throughout the world today and it fits in with what Jesus said to His disciples when He told them that in the end times lawlessness would increase. In truth, violence has always been part of the history of mankind. Genesis 6:11 tells us that the “earth was filled with violence.” Murders, mugging, rapes, riot – daily we are assaulted with reports of these hideous crimes inflicted upon innocent victims. In fact the Old Testament reveals that mankind has this tendency to resort to violence as a means to gain control, taking revenge, retaliation and asserting authority.

On one extreme, we find that violence is committed against people based on religion and this is quite prevalent in the Middle east especially in Iraq and Syria where violence is not only perpetrated again people of the same religion but also against other religions. The IS systematic slaughter of the Christian and Yazidi population in those places are committed publicly including beheading, rape and slavery. On the other side of violence, are those committed behind closed doors and these types of violence are in the form of verbal and/or physical abuse, committed by husbands on their wives and mothers upon their children, even maids upon their child ward! Victims of such cases have often suffered silently from the relentless verbal cruelty or physical and sometimes sexual abuses.

We can therefore come to one conclusion and that is everyone is not immune to violence. However, if we refrain from violence, the world would be a better place. As Christians we are to characterize our lifestyle by love, kindness, humility, gentleness and forgiveness – not selfishness, anger and violence. 1Cor 3:1-11 speaks about the carnality of man whereas verse 12-15 speaks about the character of a Christian.

God cares deeply for the victims of violence. God has a tender heart for those who have been victimized by cruelty and violence. David in his psalms is seen to cry out to God for deliverance. In Ps 5:1 O Lord my God, in you I put my trust; save me from all who persecute me and deliver me. They can take comfort in the fact that a decisive judgment awaits those who oppress and hurt others. Rom 12:19 Beloved do not avenge yourselves but rather give place wrath, for it is written, “ Vengeance is Mine I will repay,” says the Lord.

Christians are not immune to the devastating effects of violence or the temptation to use it. Many Christians have also been victims, not only perpetrated by strangers but also by the very people they live with and love. As Christians we do not and should not condone violence. If we see it being done to others we should find a way to help those who are violated especially when they are weak and defenseless. We should be a voice to those who cannot speak! Down with violence.

SHALOM