Exhortation Against Violence

The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them. And the cow and the bear shall feed; their young ones shall lie down together: and the lion shall eat straw like the ox. And the suckling child shall play on the hold of the asp, and the weaned child shall put his hand on the cockatrice’ den. They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain: for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea (Isaiah 11:6-9).

This scripture is on my mind today. It is a comforting promise of a kingdom to come—a kingdom in which there is no more violence. I’m so tired of violence. I’m tired of my own violent thoughts, actions, and words. I’m tired of the violence in our society. I’m tired of the violence between Christian brethren.

The gospel message is a message of peace. The gospel message makes a plain and clear statement: Those who kill will be killed, but through faith in Jesus we can escape death and in this present time we will experience life in abundance.

I know many Christians are full of light and life given by Jesus Christ, but how serious are we about the violence we do? Violence is something that we should take very seriously.

The earth also was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence (Genesis 6:11).

And God said unto Noah, The end of all flesh is come before me: for the earth is filled with violence through them: and behold, I will destroy them with the earth (Genesis 6:13).

Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not kill; and whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment: But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire (Matthew 5:21-22).

Just as God destroyed the earth with water in the days of Noah, God will destroy the earth with fire.

But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up. Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness, Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat? (2 Peter 3:10-12).

Just as the three Hebrew children in Daniel, we can escape this judgment if we put our trust in Jesus Christ.

Then Nebuchadnezzar the king was astonished, and rose up in haste, and spake, and said unto his counsellors, Did not we cast three men bound into the midst of the fire? They answered and said unto the king, True O King. He answered and said, Lo, I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire, and they have no hurt; and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God (Daniel 3:24-25).

In the LORD put I my trust: how say ye to my soul, Flee as a bird to your mountain? For low, the wicked bend their bow, they make ready their arrow upon the string, that they may privily shoot at the upright in heart. If the foundations be destroyed, what can the righteous do? The LORD is in his holy temple, the LORD’S throne is in heaven: his eyes behold, his eyelids try, the children of men. The LORD trieth the righteous: but the wicked and him that loveth violence his soul hateth. Upon the wicked shall rain snares, fire and brimstone, and an horrible tempest: this shall be the portion of their cup. For the righteous LORD loveth righteousness; his countenance doth behold the upright (Psalms 11).

It is a blessing that we have time to consider our violent ways. Do we speak words of life or death? Do we harm people with our actions? Do we justify sin that destroys ourselves and others? Do we attempt to establish our idea of heaven on earth through law and regulation when Jesus teaches that a changed heart is where the kingdom of heaven is found?

Violence can take many forms. Prayerful reflection can help us find the violent tendencies that we have so we can repent and seek Jesus to help us overcome.

A day will come in which the violent are destroyed by the fire of God. If we stand with Jesus, we can escape this judgment. If we stand with Jesus, we will learn the path of peace and what it really means to love one another. We will learn to turn away from violence in all its forms. This is something we should consider very seriously.

We are not supposed to do as the world does. We cannot get sucked into their violent words of accusation, slander, hatefulness, and condemnation. We cannot get sucked into the oppressive power struggles of worldly governments and establishment religion. We cannot get sucked into the deceitfulness of sin. We cannot get sucked into violence of any sort no matter how violent this world gets.

It might be within our power to do violence, but that does not mean we should. Jesus teaches that the meek will inherit the earth. Jesus teaches that the peacemakers inherit the kingdom of heaven. Jesus had the power to command legions of angels, but He endured the cross instead. We should be of the same mind.

Vengeance belongs to God and He will handle the violent according to His perfect way. For now, His way includes Christians converting the violent through our peaceful lifestyle and communication of the gospel.

Violence creates more violence. Be at peace with everyone as much as possible without denying the faith, trust in the Lord, and look forward to a kingdom of righteousness!

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