In 2012, more than 500 violent deaths took place in Chicago. But of course, Chicago is just the most notable example of violence. It’s happening nationwide and even worldwide. The larger question is how should God’s people react to it? The Apostle Paul gives us some guidance. He wrote to Timothy at the time Rome’s vicious emperor, Nero, was in power. Nero had set the city of Rome on fire, blamed the Christians for it, burned many alive, and fed others to the animals. In the midst of this violent atmosphere, Paul told Timothy (1 Timothy, Chapter 2), “I urge you first of all, to pray for all people. Ask God to help them; intercede on their behalf, and give thanks for them. Pray this way for kings and all who are in authority, so that we can live peaceful and quiet lives marked by godliness and dignity. This is good and pleases God our Savior, who wants everyone to be saved and to understand the truth.” We also read in Jeremiah, that God sent a message by his prophet to his people living in exile—carried away by force. He told them to work for the peace and prosperity of the city, to pray for the city where they were held captive. God told them that if the city had peace, so would they. So praying for peace, working for peace, and modeling Christ-like peaceful behavior, are three things God’s people can do in a violent community.
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