I had not expected to blog about violence at all. There are plenty of voices out there, in the aftermath of any school shooting, or theater shooting, or terrorist act, or what have you. Oh, I admit to a comment or two to my facebook friends, but really, what do I have to contribute? I think semi-automatic weapons probably should be better controlled, as they seem to have no use in hunting or the like. I’d like to see a major overhaul in how we treat the mentally ill, at least those who scare everyone around them, even their own parents. And I have never cared for all the violence found in movies and video games, though I admit I was unsuccessful at keeping my own son away from it. Of course, he pointed out that he was quite capable of distinguishing the game from reality.
None of these positions are big news, and I don’t feel like I know enough to make specific suggestions either. Last week there was a shooting all of 45 miles away from where I live. In an interesting twist on all the rhetoric one hears, it proved to be less newsworthy, because the young man in question had access to only a shotgun. He had to stop to reload after two shots and at that time was talked into putting down the gun by two courageous adults in charge. That is still not really a reason to post anything though. Others more knowledgeable than I am have already thrown those things into the conversation.
I have to admit, I don’t really understand violence. I guess self control was drilled into me from a very young age. I don’t understand how one can get past childhood without learning that you simply don’t physically harm others, ever, for any reason. Understand, I’m not justifying bullying. It was rampant when I was growing up and it caused me much suffering, but taking revenge in a physically violent fashion was simply not allowed. So when I hear of things like school shootings, I’ve always thought those involved must have been seriously unhinged mentally. Usually, for those who survive, that becomes the defense- innocent by reason of insanity.
It’s a reason, though not very comforting, because we don’t seem to have any cure for this form of insanity. They lock these people up after the fact, but it seems like there are always more, like some sort of virus infecting society. I wish there were some cure that could be applied, but the only one I know involves individuals choosing to follow Jesus. It’s not something that could be done by inoculation or something like that. Now if Jesus were here, He would know what to do. I mean, he took a guy, as crazy and violent as they come and cast a bunch of demons out and gave the guy some clothes and he was healed, just like that! But then he turned around and let the Jewish leaders and the Romans do violence to Him, even the ultimate violence, which brings us back where we started.
I don’t know what to do, do you? Imagine my surprise then, when I looked at a friend’s website and he was talking as if you didn’t have to be crazy to commit violence and it could be fixed. It was all about anger and how people let it take control of them, but with the right tools they wouldn’t have to be angry all the time any more. Well, he didn’t give away any of the tools on the website, because it’s his job and I guess he would go broke if he did. But it is certainly hopeful to think that someone actually knows how to teach people the self control they somehow missed when they were growing up. I wish him great success!
Here’s something else though, and maybe it’s a part of that anger management therapy, I don’t know. I have found forgiveness to be an absolutely amazing answer to anger. Like most people, I get angry on occasion, most often when someone hurts my feelings, intentional or not. God doesn’t let me hang onto that anger and the desire for revenge for very long though. He keeps saying I have to give it to Him and forgive them. You and I both know, He tends to offer them mercy instead of holding their feet to the fire. But I find that almost invariably, there is stuff going on with them that I would have no way of knowing. God knows though, and when I let go of the anger and forgive them, somehow I get healed. If they do as well, maybe that’s the one thing we can do to counteract all this violence. What do you think?