DOXOLOGY is the praise of God, and sin is the absence of praise, and it might well be true that violence is relationship without doxology.
Violence is sin, but it’s also accurate to say that sin is adequately described as violence — the two are synonymous. Seeking to be in relationship with another can range from anything from a bliss-filled seeking to love the other, selflessly, to needing the relationship in order to abuse the person. Sin runs rampant in the absence of right relationship.
Violence is all about violation — the transgression of a boundary that, in doing so, does not bring glory (praise) to God. Anything that hurts anyone is violence, and that means anything, no matter how small, that brings about any harm requires remediation. Of course, that takes not only awareness, but courage, and if we don’t fall short in the first area, we may well choose to turn a ‘blind’ eye to the intervention needed to correct the violent matter.
Let’s hope we’re humble enough to redress situations where we’ve violated people.
As Christians our avid concern is to not sin. We agree that we’re called to love one another. And if we agree that sin is violence, because in effect it’s the opposite of love, then we’ll become passionate to chasten away to the last dregs any semblance of violence from our lives. We might also be keen to call attention to it in situations we witness directly. And that is our Christian mandate.
Let’s consider that violence (sin) is any practice that does not have the praise of God in the front of its mind. It’s any time we think even ambivalently about another person; it doesn’t need to be overt violence. It only needs to be a falling short.
And this is the problem with much of our modern day church. It’s not the overt things we do to aggress people, but it’s the little pieces of inaction we don’t take. Or it’s a missing of the mark by just a half degree. Yet, a half degree might as well be half a mile.
Violence can even be trying to maintain an appearance whilst not genuinely setting out to answer the call of love. (Remember the Pharisees and their fasting and almsgiving in Matthew 6.) Violence, this way, is the running of an anti-relational agenda in the guise of a real interest in the relationship. It looks like love is front and centre, but, tragically, there’s much violence done when ‘love’ is done only for appearance’s sake.
We’ve talked fleetingly about the problem; let’s now proffer a solution.
The only way to defeat violence is to declare war on it through peace; by nonviolent activism, which is an active form of submission, and the exercise of love that transcends the fear that violence seeks to generate.
Love is the divine accompaniment for life, and the only accessory that adorns violence in a way to resolve it through reconciliation.
And there’s no better way for love to be expressed than through the peace of adult demeanour — being rational, realistic, reliable, responsible and logical. Reactive emotions like anger, fear, disgust, and even surprise, are actually violent reactions. The only worthy response in declaring war on violence is to fight without fighting; to return love for the violence experienced. And it’s not only possible to do this, it’s also the best way to live under God’s power.
It’s futile fighting with a person who won’t fight back; who insists on loving. And that’s the only way to have victory in a war on violence.
The person who declares war on violence believes love is not only bigger, but that love is also able to win the violator over to its compelling agenda. The simple fact is, when we’re won to love’s agenda, when we operate under its persuasive power, we see the folly in violence. Violence’s folly is in the fact it doesn’t have all parties at heart. Love knows that it wins hands down because love looks after everyone.
Declaring war on violence is done best by loving through unemotional adult demeanour.
Violence cannot survive as it is when it’s faced with mature adult responses. It has to change. So the key to winning a war over violence is to find a way to fight with love, which is patient, kind, nor greedy or boastful.
When faced with violence, love responds not out of fear, but out of its own confidence that its way reigns supreme.
The only weapon to conquer violence is nonviolent activism; to challenge the violator through a peaceful demeanour.
And yet, with all this said, there are situations of violence that will confound any form of love we’ll bring. We can only but try! And it bears noteworthy consideration, this does not apply to intentionally evil family and domestic violence — I will leave that as a disclaimer.
© 2016 Steve Wickham.