The older I get, two things tend to solidify in my heart. I am more convinced than ever that the ancient stories of Christian martyrdom are true. I also believe that people will stop at nothing to attain their heart’s desire. What I have not been able to figure out yet is just why things never seem to change.
Despite the presence of God ‘walking the Earth’ more than two thousand years ago, humanity still insists of being violent and depraved. Sure, there have been pockets of peace throughout history, but peace has not been a lasting force.
The easy answer, and ultimately the correct answer, is the devil has been working without rest since The Garden. I used to think human violence was limited to far away places. Then I grew up and started watching the nightly news. Human violence is ‘right next door’ and among our closest friends.
Take a moment and read the brief description about today saints. It is no longer a stretch to imagine this sort of torture happening today to those who profess Christ in America. Some call me out that such violence doesn’t take place. I admit it doesn’t take the same form, but the treatment of human beings who don’t ‘tow the line’ today are treated with just as much violence as the ancient martyrs.
Recent stories of war protests turning into riots on college campuses remind me of the race riots of American history. Interestingly I can’t post which riots because they are ‘seasonal’ in history. I shudder to think how violent we will become in this new ‘season’ of violence.
I know we are preparing for Christmas and most people don’t want to think about such heavy topics. We must face the facts. We can’t prepare our hearts for Christmas with prayer and fasting while we ignore the violence that surrounds us.
Saint Paul understood that violence surrounds us. He also understood that peace begins with our behavior. If we are willing to put forth the effort for peace, it begins with following Saint Paul’s advice. STOP fighting back. STOP throwing verbal spears on social media. STOP highlighting poor behavior.
START letting bygones be bygones. START forgiving before your opponent escalates. START attending Church services and pray for peace. START helping others who need a ‘leg up’ in your neighborhood. START being the Christian you desire to be.
If we are really willing to do whatever it takes for our heart’s desire, then we should be willing to take Saint Paul’s advice.