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Sunday, 20 January 2013

An End to the Violence?

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The mass killing of young children, their defenseless teachers, and other school employees in Newtown, Connecticut cut to the heart of many people around the world, as did the murders and shootings of Webster, New York firefighters who were ambushed as they responded to a blaze set by their killer, and the brutal gang rape and beating that caused the death of a 23-year-old woman in India all just last month. More often than not, incidents like these are not isolated ones, and seem to occur with greater frequency and more calculated violence. Like many people, perhaps you, too, have questioned why and how some humans can treat others with such savagery and absolute disregard for life and feeling. At times, we may even feel like we are becoming desensitized to such brutality, because it seems to have become almost commonplace. While it might seem like a small consolation right now, the Bible provides some answers to the reasons behind mankind’s evil behavior, and proves there is an end in sight, too.

ViolenceThe apostle Paul wrote, “This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, traitors, heady, high-minded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God;” (2 Timothy 3:1-4). If you take the time to examine that list and think about many of the crimes that are committed, you can see how many of these undesirable traits can motivate despicable actions. Jesus Christ said, “And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold.” (Matthew 24:12) If you analyze that statement, it is easy to recognize how this is happening on a world-wide basis. Tune into any form of news media on any chosen day, and it is obvious how violence has become pervasive in many societies the world over.

We cannot change the course of events in this world, and we are sickened and sad when we hear of yet another terrible atrocity that humans inflict upon their fellowman. But it can be a great comfort to remember that Jehovah and His Son have a future plan to end the current chaos and return the earth to the peaceful paradise they intended it to be before mankind chose to know good and evil. See Genesis 2:16-17 and Genesis 3:1-7. The Bible is full of hope, with many prophecies explaining what the new kingdom will be like. If you need some encouragement of the promises to come, take a few moments to read Psalm 37:9-11, Isaiah 2:2-4, Isaiah 9:7, Ezekiel 34:25-26, and Revelation 21:1-5. The prophet Isaiah also wrote of the time when people who inhabit the earth will neither “…harm nor destroy…” (Isaiah 11:9). And if you’ve ever questioned whether some of the violent acts we witness could be the result of an out-of-control mental illness, the Bible promises that disease and infirmities will be done away withalso. We can be assured that Jehovah’s judgment will be one of equity with all points taken into consideration. Read Isaiah 33:24, Isaiah 35:5-6, Psalm 98:7-9, and Isaiah 11:4.

Even though God’s new kingdom is not here yet, you can spend some worthwhile time now learning from Jehovah’s word about how the course of this world will play out, how the perfect new kingdom will be established, and how you can be in it. Under God’s government, wickedness and violence will no longer be tolerated and people will no longer have to live in fear and uncertainty. As the prophet Isaiah also wrote, “And the work of righteousness shall be peace; and the effect of righteousness quietness and assurance forever. And my people shall dwell in a peaceable habitation, and in sure dwellings, and in quiet resting places;” (Isaiah 32:17-18).
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