From the Pulpit – Living in a violent society

Karel Samek is pastor of the Seventh Day Adventist Church in Ashcroft.

Everyone has encountered violence in some way. I encountered it in school. I saw other kids being bullied. Stronger beat on weaker. I hated it then and I hate it now. Violence is everywhere around the globe and it’s growing.

There are other kinds of mental, emotional, social, verbal, psychological forms of violence or abuse. Much of it happens in homes. It’s like a perpetual self-feeding monster growing stronger with each outburst. It’s been claimed that aggression and violence is the expression of insecure individuals who had not experienced security of unconditional love and acceptance. There are other causes as well. A hidden unhealed hurt and pain feed anger, confusion, animosity and rage. It’s often vented on the vulnerable and innocent. Generational hurts that haven’t been healed grow exponentially. People revert to alcohol, drugs or free love, but the pain does not go away. Can this trend be reversed, changed and healed? It can though it is a gradual road toward recovery with its ups and downs, but it’s worth it.

Media and entertainment feed us with steady doses of violence. The daily news report every uncouth or gory event. Sports glorify bloody encounters. Eager crowds watch modern gladiators of violence and brutality. Watching the helpless, soft and tender newborn babies and the affection and love shown to them at their birth we in turn become soft and tender, more caring and gentle. What happens to us even few hours later turning our displeasure on others? Or what happens to that soft bundle of new life in after years turning some of them into individuals inflicting hurt and violence?

In the Bible we have description of the world just before the flood – Genesis 6:11–13: “And the earth was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence. And God saw the earth, and, behold, it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted their way upon the earth. 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’.”

Bible tells us that God’s heart was grieved because humanity “perverted their ways and every thought of their hearts was only evil continually.” Image of God which is His selfless, caring, self-giving tender love was obliterated from people’s lives. Their greedy, self-centered hearts became set on pursuance of their own selfish goals irrespective of the consequences to anyone else. Their neighbors, family members became obstacles in their mad pursuance of twisted or unrealistic desires. Yet, getting all that we want  does not heal our hearts or satisfy our heart’s hunger. It only makes us more disappointed, frustrated and angry. The Lord who came to heal us we ignore, recklessly turning to unfulfilling pursuits.

In Luke 17:26 Jesus speaks of the condition of humanity just before His Second Coming comparing it with the pre-flood times: “And as it was in the days of Noah, so it also shall be in the days of the Son of Man.” There’ll be the same reckless obsession with pursuits of temporary life to the disregard of eternal values and God. Violence was the norm then and it is becoming today. Once I read a statement: “The inhumanity of man to man is his greatest sin.” Yes, we often hurt most the ones closest to us. How sad!

Noah after finding God’s grace that transformed him was given 120 years to call people to turn their lives and accept God’s grace to change their lives. Today the same offer through the gospel is offered to spiritually blind and hurting humanity. God took on Himself human guilt in the person of His Son. He’s extending to us all through His unconditional love the offer of forgiveness, change of heart, life and life focus. How many of readers of this article will take Him on His offer?

Karel Samek is Pastor for the Ashcroft 7th Day Adventist Church. For more information on the Ashroft Church, go to www. ashcroft22.adventistchurchconnect.org

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