Violence is no new thing. Cain, first mortal man of natural birth, killed his own brother in a jealous rage. God, knowing his heart, warned if he didn’t deal with his anger it would end up destroying him. And, it did. Anger will do that to anyone.
The fact that we usually turn to the church for answers in times of crisis indicates that we know this is basically a spiritual problem. If it was just an educational problem, we’d leave it to the schools. If it was just a legal problem we’d leave it to the courts. If it was just a discipline problem, we’d leave it to the parents. But it’s a problem of the human spirit.
So what can the church do about violence?
First, we can call people back to God. A bumper sticker I read said, “With God all things are possible. Without God all things are permissible.” The more God is elbowed out of our society, the less moral restraint there is. We need God in every part of our lives.
Second, the church needs to return to its first calling, to preach redemption through Christ. The message of the Gospel is that no person has to stay the way they are. People can change. Love can overcome hate. Peace can conquer violence. Brotherhood can replace prejudice. It is true, “The old-time religion . . . makes you love everybody.” It even makes the Baptist love the Methodist.
Third, we can join together with the school and the home in demanding respect for authority and strict discipline. People must be accountable for their actions. We must counter the onslaught of the media – television, movies and music that devalue human life and glorify violence.
The bottom line is that all hope is not gone. We need to stop ringing our hands and start ringing church bells. The answer is inside those doors where we find Christ. That’s where I found help. That’s where society will find it also.