Violence is a front-line issue in our world. We see it in so many areas. It occurs between races, between faiths, between nations, between political persuasions, between any people. People try to blame one of the above institutions, but the reason for violence is human behaviour itself.
Violence can be active or passive. It can do physical harm, or retreat from a world in need, ignoring our neighbour, just because he or she is different from ourselves, turning our back on structural injustices.
In a divided world, we are often called to violence, to stand for our cause, “to make the world a better place.” But this always makes things worse. Calls to violence serve instead to support someone’s ambition, their aspirations in leadership. These calls are not for sincere motives.
We need to be aware of the motives that work within us. Especially in our superior thoughts about our race, tribe or faith. These thoughts appear pure, as if we are stopping wrong doing in others, or bringing justice back to our world, but they are satanic and destructive.
This was the reason Jesus called us away from all forms of violence, to a new kingdom, that does things peacefully, with a new spirit. Instead of calling for divisions, he calls us to gather into one all who are weak, from all backgrounds. He calls us to overcome division and hatred with care for others, no matter their race of creed.
Peace isn’t only a negative issue – the violence we don’t do, the hatred we don’t speak – it is also a positive matter, the good we do, the healing we bring to those different to ourselves. Peace must be active and courageous, stepping into foreign and needy realms, or it won’t work.
People speak out with hatred against those who are different, or who have different views. Just a few minutes on Facebook will reveal this. God is calling us to serve, rather than to hate. Instead of participating in violence, and hateful speech, God has called us to recognize all forms of violence and heal those wounded by it.
In this book, we look at some of the views of Rene Girard, concerning the origins of violence in human culture, and how the same issues effect our lives today