Violence? No. God's power? Yes!

"Violence against foreigners ...." News headlines like this have evoked concern, even dismay, in many countries around the world, and the continual public discussion of these violent acts has focused considerable attention on them. Yet violence in any form demands a response based on prayer. Violence by children at school and at play, violence among young people, or violence in the family—all this is included here.

Whether individuals or groups are targeted, or whether it is a random, unbridled eruption of hatred, violence is always degrading and should be condemned in the strongest way possible. Some may believe that the root of violent behavior lies in a sense of helplessness, the feeling of powerlessness in the face of external circumstances, and the feeling that only the use of ruthless means gets any results at all. This might easily give rise to the impression that violence, even murder, is to some extent an irreversible part of being human. Even in the Bible account, it is sometimes argued, Cain kills his brother Abel out of understandable envy and anger.

These forms of violent power are in stark contrast to the power that is attributed to God. Even though the same term is involved, God's power is seen exclusively in the expression of His justice and His love for man. It contains nothing reprehensible, nothing that could support an unjust claim.

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September 11, 1995

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