Justice—do you rulers know the meaning of the word? Do you judge the people fairly? No! You plot injustice in your hearts. You spread violence throughout the land. (Psalm 58:1-2)
Relate: Three days ago…
Donald Trump’s campaign on Friday postponed a rally in Chicago amid fights between supporters and demonstrators, protests in the streets and concerns that the environment at the event was no longer safe. The announcement, which came amid large protests both inside and outside the event at the University of Illinois at Chicago, follows heightened concerns about violence in general at the GOP front-runner’s rallies. (CNN)
Two days ago…
A car bomb has exploded in the Turkish capital Ankara, killing 32 people and wounding more than 100, the health ministry has said. The explosion happened in Guven Park in the Kizilay district, a key transport hub and commercial area. Several vehicles at the scene were reduced to burnt-out wrecks, including at least one bus. Last month, a bomb attack on a military convoy in Ankara killed 28 people and wounded dozens more. (BBC)
The state-run Anadolu news agency said nine F-16s and two F-4 jets on Monday raided 18 positions of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), including the Qandil mountains where the group’s leadership is based. The retaliation was reported as funerals were held in Ankara for the victims of Sunday’s bombing. The air strikes targeted ammunition depots, bunkers and shelters, and a PKK spokesman confirmed the strikes. (AlJazeera)
Violence begets violence. When the default position of our political leaders is one of violent rhetoric and action, is it any wonder that violence is pushed back on them. I am in no way condoning what has happened in Chicago, or the bombing in Ankara. They are heinous acts and I pray justice will be swift and sure and true. Am I surprised? Not on your life. Mr Trump, Mr Erdogan, you get what you ask for… just not always in the manner you ask.
React: It is much easier to speak out against the violence of our leaders than it is to curb the violence and abuse of authority in my own heart. If my kids tend to be extra naggy on a day that catches me in the wrong mood, do they have cause to fear my reaction? Do those at work under my authority have just cause to fear bringing news of failure or delay? Even if I would never physically lash out, do I do violence in what I say and how I say it?
What if I am single, or on the bottom rung of the workforce totem pole, does that let me off the hook? How do I treat my friends, neighbors, and siblings? Do my internet habits promote the violence of sexual slavery or physical exploitation of emotionally scarred women trying to make a buck? Does my need to always buy the cheapest or most convenient helping to maintain a violent economic imbalance that sees kids in third world countries working eighty hours a week in sweat shops or coffee plantations? Is my need for too much meat every single meal doing violence to the socioeconomic niche destroying the cultures in the Brazilian rainforest that in turn is spreading the desertification of northern and central Africa creating famines and social upheaval? Do I have any idea how much the luxurious, blissfully and willfully ignorant lifestyle I lead promotes violence and injustice in my wake?
I come before You on behalf of the current and aspiring leaders of our land. I pray that You would stir their hearts to lead well and lead justly. Help them to more fully understand the great and heavy responsibility they have before You on behalf of those You have given them authority over. Change their hearts, and policies, and words that they might more closely reflect Your own heart. I pray also for my neighbors and friends and family. Help me be a bringer of Your peace in what I say and do. beyond that, I come against the systems of oppression that span our globe. Help me to be more alert and aware of how we might be contributing to the problem. Although I might not be able to change the violence and injustice on my own, I can take the responsibility to say I will no longer be a contributor to the problem. Let me make the sacrifice to do what is right… even if I do it alone.