We live in a society that is growing more violent every day. Each time we turn on our TVs or read a newspaper we find stories of murders, domestic violence, violence in protests that should be peaceful and violence in words and the language we use. We see violent actions or hear violent words so often that we sometimes become desensitized to what is actually happening around us. There is a growing concern when we see young people who have no understanding of compassion or empathy. Self-preservation is becoming the norm.
How do we fit into this terrible description of our society? Are we among those who hurl vicious words at others? Do we foster racism, sexism, homophobia or any other kind of negative ism in our lives? Or are we the ones who look great on the outside but harbor violence in our hearts? In the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus castigates the Pharisees for their positive outward appearance but whose actions betray what is inside them.
But all is not negative. Amidst the horrible news there are examples of people who go out of their way to help others. There are generous people who give to those in need. There are the heroes among us caring for the Coronavirus victims. And the list of positive examples can go on and on.
There is a verse from Ephesians, slightly adapted, that best tells us who we are called to be. “God chose us in Christ before the world began, to be holy and blameless and to be full of love…” We are called to be the chosen of God. We are called to be holy and blameless. We are called to be full of love. I don’t know about you but there are some nagging doubts within me that I don’t totally fit that description. I know that I constantly have to empty my heart and mind of all thoughts and actions that can become negative. I have to search out within my own heart the seeds of violence that can so easily creep into my life.
All of us need to assess how we react in any given situation. Do we respond with anger, bitterness, sharp or critical responses? Do we harbor racism, ethnic biases, or religious prejudice? Do we treat all persons with respect regardless of gender, age or sexual preference? These are just a few areas where the seeds of violence can have their beginning in us. If we are ever to achieve a just society we must eradicate all forms of violence beginning with the violence within our own hearts.
What causes the most concern in you about our society today?
How do you eliminate negativity from your life?