By Alan Bailey
Violence is hard to understand. There are countless creatures in the animal world that live more peacefully than many humans. Yet we have a much bigger brain. We have moral awareness and power to reflect and make decisions. We also have a conscience.
As far back as we can go in history, violence has been part and parcel of human life. Today, after all the years of progress and development that has taken place in some areas, we are no less plagued by the same old thing. The main difference is that we have more implements to hit each other with. It is in the home, on the streets and across the nations. It is even unsafe in the womb.
What it is about
Those who lash out are quick to point out the faults, misdemeanours and offences of others. Though they are unaware of it, their greatest concern is their own egos. Everything or everyone that runs counter to their plans is an enemy to be attacked. Whatever upsets their cherished enjoyments and indulgences stirs their anger.
The worst kind of treatment an ego can receive is to be doubted, or slurred or put down in some way. A man hates to be shown to be inadequate. If it is proven that he is a disgrace and should be ashamed of himself, the nastiness which is never far from the surface erupts, showering itself all around.
So what appears to be an attack is very often an act of defence—the defence of a shaky, inadequate self that refuses to face the truth.
Perhaps it is the case that we all have had our part in the giving and receiving of personal attack. We are part of a fallen race. See what happened when the sinless Son of God came into the world. There was an attempt by Herod to kill Him as a baby. All through His ministry hatred was lurking, looking for an opportunity to do away with Him. Then, this innocent one, having only done good to others, was taken and ridiculed, whipped, beaten unmercifully and made to carry a cross on which He was nailed and left to die.
Peter, a disciple who saw it all, writes later in this way. "He committed no sin, and no deceit was found in His mouth. When they hurled their insults at Him, He did not retaliate; when He suffered He made no threats. Instead, He entrusted Himself to Him who judges justly. He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live to righteousness; by His wounds you have been healed" (1 Peter 2:22-24).
It is a great thing when a person, tired of their own wrongdoing and shortcoming, turns away from it all, giving themselves to the risen Christ. What a change He brings! What a future He promises! No more violence then. •