Responding to the Violence

The news today reported another mass shooting. This time, it was in the state of Texas. The report shared that, so far, every week in 2023 witnessed a shooting of some kind. This time, eight people were killed and seven were wounded. As I read the article, I thought to myself, “When will this end? “What can a person do?” As a result of the shooting, a vigil has begun in Allen, Texas, with students sharing that they do not want to be the next victim in a school shooting. Others held signs that expressed their fear that they or a loved one might be next. We are certainly living in uncertain times.

All this violence has got me thinking and praying. I have been searching my own heart concerning these things. I have been asking myself, “How am I going to respond to all of this?” When we hear of these things, there are usually one of five responses that can take place:

  1. We can hear these things over and over again, leading them to become so common that they do not have an impact on us anymore. We kind of pause for a moment, get the information, and then move on with our lives.
  2. The horror of such crimes can lead us to become fearful, and we retreat into our homes and do all we can to avoid being out in society as much as we can.
  3. We arm ourselves with protection, preparing ourselves for the moment that we may need to fight back.
  4. As Christians, we seek to pray for the violence in our land and in our communities.
  5. At times, we may even make an attempt to speak out against what is happening, just like in the article that I read.

Today, I thought to myself, “In light of all this recent rise in these types of crimes, how do I respond?” As I was walking out in nature, praying, and talking to the LORD about this, a thought came to my mind: “Begin to pray for and then seek to contact (when appropriate) as led by my heavenly Father those hurt by the violence, letting them know that there are people out there who really care and are joining them in prayer and seeking to be a support for them as well as any others that are sadly hurt by such violence.” Then another thought came to my mind: “What if Christians everywhere were inspired to do something tangible to let those in their communities know every time something like this happened that they are here to be a support of Yahweh’s love for them?”

Think about this for a moment. Every time something like this happens in our country, instead of moving on with our lives, retreating into our homes, seeking to protect ourselves, or just praying about and/or speaking out against the violence, we would actually be the hands of Christ’s ministry to a hurting world? Just recently, my family and I tried this, and the Covenant School in Tennessee, which was devastated by the gunman who entered their school and killed three children and three adults, expressed thanks for our kindness in sending a sympathy card that expressed our prayers and readiness to stand in support of them as they walk through this time of grief. I believe that during my walk and talk with God this morning, He was inspiring me not to allow this to be a one-time response to the hurts of the world but a daily response to evil!

In Revelation 18:1–5, we read that one day the world will be lit up with the glory (or character) of God. This takes place because His true people are in this world as a representation of who He really is to others. I believe this can happen when each child of our heavenly Father, moved by the Holy Spirit, responds to what is happening in the world today in the same way that Jesus did. Here is how Dr. Luke describes the Savior’s response to a hurting world in Acts 10:38:

how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power, who went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him.

May God help us to seek God’s anointing to move forward with Divine power to move and take action in response to all this rise of immorality and crime. May we seek Him to be the good in this world that overcomes evil through loving acts of healing kindness that can help counteract the violence in this land! This may be the response to the evil that God is looking for to take place in our world today!

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