Acts Of Violence Gain Our Attention
Ed and I often speculate on the significant issues of life. Most folks have considered the damage violence leaves in its path. Here in BC, we hear of unprovoked acts of violence upon people for no reason on streets, buses, etc. This harm happens an average of four times a day in Vancouver.
Sometimes, we can see a reason for a violent act, but what explanation is there for an act of violence simply because attacking another satisfies the attacker? How can public safety be fundamental if people carry weapons ready to injure when their impulse dictates?
Why has violence become a way of dealing with anyone or thing we dislike? Is it a result of spiritual cancer? The prophet Habakkuk asked God, “How long must I call for help, but you do not listen? Why do you tolerate wrong? Destruction and violence are before me; there is strife, and conflict abounds. The law is paralyzed, and justice never prevails.” (Habakkuk 1:2-4)
The Lord told Habakkuk that the Babylonians would come to administer punishment for the violence, strife, and conflicts, abounding among His people. Habakkuk learned that the holy Lord is in control of us from his holy temple. From there, He executes punishment on the sinful and rewards those who hold Him in faith. Violence is one type of sin that infects us.
Violence is the intentional use of physical force to hurt, injure, damage, destroy or kill someone. Sadly, self-directed violence or suicide is a leading act of violence worldwide. Violence between individuals includes spousal, child, and elder abuse. Then there is collective violence, as in war, where military actions between warring nations practice the intentional destruction of others.
Jesus calls us to rebuke sin in all its forms. Violence grows from hate, jealousy, anger, greed, and the need to dominate another. In Luke 17, Jesus admits sin will come, but those who entice and encourage others to sin are in grave danger. Jesus warns us with the words, “So watch yourselves.” Enticements to sin will cause us and others to stumble.
Believers in Christ are to hold each other accountable for the sins we commit. Jesus said, “If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him. If he sins against you seven times in a day, and seven times comes back to you and says, ‘I repent, forgive him.’” (Luke 17:3-4) Forgiving others is hard for us to do.
We repeatedly need God’s forgiveness but are reluctant to keep forgiving others. How hard it was for Jesus to die on the cross for our sins, giving his life in duty to God His Father. Yet we may be lazy about rejecting sin in ourselves or rebuking sin in fellow believers as if it isn’t our duty to serve God.
The demanding words of Jesus caused his disciples to say to him, “Increase our faith.” (Luke 17:5). How difficult to repeatedly forgive others who repent of sinning against us. But, if we keep doing what God asks, we will not run low or be empty of faith. It isn’t a giant or tiny amount of faith but using whatever amount of faith we have. Jesus reminded his disciples that a little or the smallest seed of faith is powerful enough to accomplish a great miracle.