The Painful Need to Respond to Violence

We face an increasingly urgent and painful need to respond to violence.

Over the past few weeks…

  1. The largest mass shooting in American history in Orlando
  2. One of the largest single terrorist events in Iraq with over 200 killed in one bombing
  3. Serious concerns around the use of lethal force by police connected to race, the latest in Minnesota.
  4. 5 police killed in Dallas in an ambush style attack last night.
Our hearts break for all the above.
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These events … tragic. Conversations around them … polarizing.  And the issue of violence needs faced in meaningful ways beyond just a simple wish that the problems go away.
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The Christian response is both as promising as it is uncomfortable, as outrageous as it is hopeful.
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Such a response clearly calls on us to “love our enemies.”  Such a response clearly calls on us to do the work of repentance, not casting the problem ‘over there’ but doing the work we can do to bring healing, work that starts with ourselves and the communities we find ourselves in.  Such a response calls us simply to love even in the face of darkness.
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That is not a love bereft of accountability.  It is judicious and wise. It is a posture towards the world and its brokenness, a brokenness we witness in ourselves and others.  As such it is far from pain free.  Far from easy or safe.
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It becomes then a vocational love, vocational as in a calling.  A calling that we not only should but must care about others in tangible ways because a world where expanding cycles of violence proceed unchecked is too awful to contemplate.
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One Response to “The Painful Need to Respond to Violence”

  1. Frank Maiorano says:

    I appreciate your sentiments at this tragic time. I’m glad you acknowledge that love towards our enemies “is not love bereft of accountability. It is judicious and wise.” This is especially important in light of the Heavenly Doctrines which teach: “It is a common opinion at this day that every man is equally the neighbor, and that benefits are to be conferred on every one who needs assistance: but it concerns Christian prudence to look well to the quality of a man’s life, and excercise charity towards him accordingly.”
    (H.D. 84-88).
    The question was asked: “What one thing can we do that would make a difference?” (paraphrase), and my answer is: The truth and love of the heavenly New Jersusalem descends upon earth only in proportion to our own personal regeneration. So, “Be the church!”. That starts with the first act of charity, which is to “Shun evils as sins against the Lord.” Only then will we rise above the limited confines of our own skin, and love others in the way the Lord wants us to.

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