People are born to conflict as surely as sparks fly upward.
The violent storming of the Capitol building yesterday was undeniably reprehensible and horrific. It resulted in many injured, incredible property damage, and more tragically, at least one person dead. Just like the summer rioting, it also shook the national consciousness. Many politicians and pundits condemned the protest by claiming, “This is not who we are as Americans.”
As one who believes in peaceful protest and law and order (see Romans 13), I also condemn violence in all forms. However, I disagree with the “this is not who we are” statement on the grounds that this is precisely who we are in terms of human nature AND thus we should hardly be surprised. Job said, we are “born to conflict,” Jesus said “In this world we have tribulation (John 16:33). Paul said, we are naturally “children of disobedience” (Ephesians 2:2). But even beyond biblical anthropology, our country was born out of violence. The Civil War, to say the least, was violent, as was the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s.
As one TV personality put it last night, we need to condemn the violence but also try to understand the source of it. That’s the only we will be able to “fix it.” From a Christian perspective the only way we can “fix it” is by first fixing the human heart. Unless we undergo a radical heart transformation, the cycle of violence will only repeat itself and do so endlessly, no matter what our elected leaders do and say.
The Good News is that Jesus Christ is the “Great Physician” and as such, is the only one that can “fix” the heart. He does so by removing all of our inborn tendencies towards hatred and violence and then by filling it with peace, love, hope, and joy. Ask him to do a little surgery on your heart this morning and he will gladly do it.