Violence leaves us shocked; at least I hope so. These days there seems to be a lot of violence. Further afield there are wars and unimaginable horrors committed by human beings against human beings, especially against women and children. And here. Murder-suicide is becoming too familiar in our news stories.
Why do arguments lead to death? Murder and suicide seem to be huge and final “solutions” to seemingly small or at least solvable issues. What intervention could have prevented this? More support? Perhaps, counseling or the help of a mediator? What? Always questions. We do not see in the minds of the perpetrators.
But then there are the bigger questions. Is there no value for human life? Why does violence seem like a solution? What is going on in society that causes people to explode in such devastating ways?
There are theories about the cause of this type of violence which, coldly it seems, inflicts tremendous loss and suffering. Theses theories are related to morality, the pressures in society, diet, technology’s role, etc. Most likely, all of these have a place somewhere in the equation. One thing comes out though, is the loss of a moral compasss.
Some people may disagree with this assessment. However, a moral compass helps us to discern right from wrong and to have a sense of proportions and perspective. Moreover, we learn to respect and value others.
As Christians, we believe God has given us such a compass and that Jesus embodied the way God intended us to live. Here is an important question as we continue to ponder and seek answers in the face of violence that leaves us with more questions than answers: How do we live out and enable others to live out what Jesus identified as the greatest commandments:
You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the greatest and first commandment. And a second is like it: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ (Matthew 22:37-39)