Be a Calm Presence in the Storm

By Curtis Rittenour
Posted July 11, 2016

“We are sitting on a powder keg,” Charles H. Ramsey, a former police chief in Philadelphia and Washington, said during an interview on NBC News’ “Meet the Press” Sunday. “I mean, you can call it a powder keg, you could say that we’re handling nitroglycerin. But obviously, when you just look at what’s going on, we’re in a very, very critical point in the history of this country.”

This past weekend was marked by sometimes violent nationwide protests that resulted in the arrest of hundreds of demonstrators who are angry at the killings of black men by police officers. Even though there have been pleas for calm on all sides, more than 300 people have been arrested at protests in cities like New York; Chicago; St. Paul, Minnesota; and Baton Rouge, Louisiana, after two men, Philando Castile and Alton Sterling, were shot and killed by police.

Then last Thursday, a lone gunman during an otherwise peaceful protest in Dallas went on a shocking rampage, killing five police officers and injuring eight others. It was the deadliest incident for U.S. police since the terrorist attack of September 11, 2001. The act is believed to have been in response to the killings of Sterling and Castile.

Violence Is "Trending"

Violence appears to be erupting all over our planet, not just in Dallas, San Bernardino, St. Paul, and Baton Rouge, but also in Iraq, Turkey, Bangladesh, and France. As Christians, how do we reflect Christ when violence happens in our communities? While the world encourages a reactionary response, followers of Jesus must keep their eyes on Him and model His behavior in times of crisis.

The Savior discouraged violence even while being arrested for crimes He did not commit. After Peter pulled out a sword in the garden of Gethsemane and cut off the ear of the high priest’s servant, Jesus told Peter, “Put your sword into the sheath” (John 18:11). Often our fallible human reactions to control situations lead to things getting more out of control.

The Bible can be a powerful guide to us in these volatile times if we let it. Jesus encouraged us to remain faithful and to press forward in our work of spreading the gospel of peace over the earth. “Because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold. But he who endures to the end shall be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come” (Matthew 24:12–14).

To those in your community—your friends, neighbors, and co-workers—you can be a calm presence. Your demeanor can bring healing. Point others to Jesus as the answer for the complex problems of our world. Pray for victims, protestors, law enforcement officers, and everyone affected by this violence—and be like Jesus no matter what comes your way.

Learn how to be peaceful regardless of your circumstances in this presentation by Pastor Doug Batchelor called, “The God of Peace.”
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