I am pretty naïve. I don’t always have a grasp on the larger picture of what is taking place in society, various subcultures' hurts or frustration from various prejudices.
My thoughts and reactions to various incidents locally and around the globe are pretty much based on my naiveté. I hurt for people whose lives are torn apart by violence and hatred. But I also am confused by the need some have to respond with the same level, or a greater level, of violence.
Many, including I, have lifted prayers for the family of the young man in Ferguson, Missouri, whose life abruptly ended this past week. No parent should ever have to bury a child.
Prayers have been lifted for a law enforcement officer whose life has changed forever.
Prayers have been lifted for a community left reeling in violence in response to this tragic event.
I understand hurt and pain — but not to a level that leads to violence or hatred. I do not understand why people who do not know the deceased young man's family rioted, looted, spoke words of hatred, or attempted to maim or kill others.
I don’t understand why people who were not present when the tragedy occurred speculate about events, turning rumor into fact, stirring up trouble so needlessly and with such horrific results.
Jesus Christ calls us to make peace with our enemy. We are called to not jump to conclusions or spread rumors. We are called to right wrongs when they occur, but not through acts of violence.
Jesus had much to say about turning the other cheek, praying for one’s enemies, treating others the way you want to be treated, and striving for peace.
His words apply wherever violence occurs. Retribution is the world's way, not God's.
Continue praying for the hurt, anger, hatred and violence so prevalent in our world.
Pray for God’s Holy Spirit to bring peace.
The Rev. Mark Broadhead is Laurel Hill Presbyterian Church and First Presbyterian Church of Crestview’s pastor.