The theme of the Reformation was in fact about this very struggle. Human nature desires to be in control and defaults to violence to make others bend to our will. God’s love on the other hand is demonstrated in Jesus death and resurrection. This side of heaven we will always have individuals so scared by sin that they no longer function in a civil manner.
I recently saw a video on how to stop bullying. In it the presenter asks someone to bully him. In the first round he fights back. Responding to attacks on him with his own attacks on the bully. As he does so it continues to escalate and becomes more and more vicious. In the second round he respond to his attacker with agreement and thanks for pointing that out to me. The bully becomes speechless trying to find responses.
The bully is disarmed by the victim’s refusal to fight back. Jesus used this tactic in his trial and crucifixion. He remained speechless. He allows his accusers to take control and in turn lays down his life for the sake of us all.
When we engage in conflict we usually find ourselves on the defensive and we often fight back. The end result is often an escalating stalemate that resolves nothing, or in the case of our recent massacres it ends in tragic loss on both sides. Understanding that I am a sinner in need of God’s Grace helps me to see that I am no better than my accuser. When we are able to convey that to our opponent their struggle for dominance is ended and true conversation can begin and hopefully prevent this violent escalation.
The scripture says, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.”
When we recognize our need to let God save us, we can begin to stop fighting to save ourselves and begin to love others as He has loved us and hopefully bring peace before things escalate to the point that everyone looses.