But when, we want to know. Thinking about the predatory nature of the Coronavirus, the feeling grows that one evil attracts other evil, and that in the context of hidden enemies who seem to strike at will, it seems easier to fall into confrontative feelings and be more ready to do violence to others.
Does one find, if violence is being done by others, we could ourselves fling a fist, wrench an arm backward, push someone to the ground? Especially if he had made a fresh remark, taunted us, seemed to sneer at our authority. Maybe we would put a knee on the neck of someone who was down, and twist a little harder if there was resistance.
I don’t believe we just grow up “racist.” I believe we grow up into violence. We grow up ready to pay back. We fight in schoolyards for our rights.
What we don’t know how to do is talk. Just talk. Talk the language of someone who is confronting us. And “talking him down.” Talking civilly, quietly. Reasonably. Even use a little humor.
Those are responses we often learn at home. How to end an argument. How to not fight. How to acknowledge differences. How to make peace.
The Bible is full of peace talk. Jesus was teaching peace all through His ministry. He was, after all, the Prince of Peace. In confrontation moments “He never said a mumblin’ word.” Before Pilate the Governor, who held His life in his hands, He waited to speak, until the honest, obvious truth He told as the Man of peace.
We would do well to study Jesus’ interpersonal relationships. His control over His own heart and spirit.
It’s a fearful thing to get caught up in the Devil’s talk. To taunt. To tempt. To provoke. Those who cry out in our city are right. Horrible things are done, demonic, angry things.
There was a young police officer who spent his working life wearing a uniform. But his sense of himself, conveyed something different than uniforms often do. He always spoke of himself as a “peace officer.”
All of us who call ourselves Christians, are peace officers. We are here to not only keep the peace, but to make peace.
Twenty-five years of our working life in the Pilgrim Center for Reconciliation was spent in countries of the Genocide in Africa. Terrible wrongs had been perpetrated. We were sent, by World Vision – and by God – into Rwanda, to see if somehow peace was possible.
God gave us forgiveness – the way of saying sorry. Of repenting. Of beginning again. Our retreats gave us settings where we could concentrate on that. What happened between people was miraculous. The laying down of old feelings, of hurt and resentment. Of people who had only hated, in three days’ time finding they could love. When it happened, they themselves always knew it was a miracle. Even in our angry world, there are ways to “overcome.”
Perhaps even a whole city can pray for that.
For love of city and of neighbor, your friend,
Arthur A Rouner, Jr -
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ARTHUR ROUNER MINISTRIES