I would even go a step further: In a civilized society we do not need police, courts, judges, prisons, and so forth.
Because in a truly civilized society there would be no crime, since we would resolve all issues with civility.
Lastly, in a civilized society one would need no weapons of any kind (not even swords and knives), for there is no danger to person or property; thus no need for self-protection and protection of family and personal property.
But we don’t live in a civilized society.
Violence abounds and is worshiped. We spend millions and billions of dollars on violent games, movies, and books. We flock to hockey games to see blood, to boxing matches to watch someone get knocked senseless, to wrestling matches and fights to observe contestants obliterate each other, and so on. Our children fight in school with fists and weapons. Husbands beat wives and wives beat husbands.
Our violence isn’t limited to physical activity. We make obscene gestures in traffic in response to a perceived slight. States have been forced to enact “aggressive driver” laws to deal with “road rage” and other violent behavior on our public streets. We scream at each other, use foul language, call names, and violently assault each other with words.
We applaud and reward incivility in our entertainment: We slavishly watch and cheer as talk show hosts and guests incessantly shout over each other, use coarse language to each other, and press their argument through loud words of verbal violence.
Violence has even begun to infect our public political discourse as it becomes more acceptable and fashionable to use lies, hateful covetous speech, and to tolerate and verbally embrace violence as long as it achieves a personal political objective. We see this in politicians’ initial reaction to and tacit support of violent Occupy Wall Street activities.
Which leads me to the scariest of all situations: The government perpetrating violence on its own citizens.
We saw examples of that in the totalitarian regimes of Mao, Stalin, and Hitler. We continue to see examples and consequences of that kind of violence in North Korea, Iran, and many other places.
Don’t believe for a moment that America is immune for some reason. It isn’t. Indeed violence is coursing throughout our land and knocking on our very doors. If we forget our heritage, if we close our eyes, if we abandon our core foundational values, if we cease being vigilant, one day we’ll wake up in the middle of an “unexpected” violent social upheaval in America. It happened before; it can happen again.
Signs of coming government violence abound all around us: The government acts without authority; due process is ignored; accepted norms are arbitrarily redefined and abolished against the wishes of the citizens, and more.
This, my friends, is just the beginning. Next come the speech police, the thought police, and then finally the police with chains. Beware, for this is the path of all the great dictators of the last century – but it is avoidable if we exercise our Constitutional rights wisely and diligently.
Sadly, I wonder if we are actually capable of doing so…
Hopeless? Not at all…
Violence is a cancer that feeds on itself and grows uncontrollably until it consumes its host. It thrives on lies, discontent, anger, hate, covetousness, and jealousy. It’s toxic; feed it and it kills everything. Violence inevitably leads to death.
It escalates and grows with each cycle of interaction. But starve it of its nutrients and it dies.
Love conquers violence
Unfortunately we cannot escape the violence of this world; it’s everywhere. But we can fight it and starve it. Christ Jesus showed us how: With love. He showed us that violence can be overcome through love, that we need not respond to violence with violence. He willingly gave His life to a violent death of beating and crucifixion to show us that we don’t have to be slaves to violence, but are in fact its masters. He showed that we can choose to respond to violence in love and break the cycle. Then He proved His authority to do so and demonstrated that no one took His life from him, that He laid down His life willingly. Jesus made this perfectly clear in the Garden of Gethsemane when the garrison came to arrest him:
When those around Him saw what was going to happen, they said to Him, “Lord, shall we strike with the sword?” And one of them struck the servant of the high priest and cut off his right ear.
But Jesus answered and said, “Permit even this.” And He touched his ear and healed him. (Luk 22:49-51)
Subsequently He confirmed it by His resurrection in the flesh, talking with many people, touching them, and eating with them. Lastly He assured us of power and ultimate victory over violence and death by promising to return and banish all violence from this world forever. Come, Jesus, come!
Violence always starts with words, then name calling. From there it progresses to pushing and shoving, fists, knives, and guns. Yes, I said guns. But note that guns are not the cause of violence; they are just one of many tools we employ to act out our violent nature on each other. We can outlaw guns, but we can’t outlaw violence, because violence is at the core of our being.
Only one person in the history of mankind clearly identified and accurately described the core problem – which is our fallen nature, our desire to do evil and our love of violence. Only one person offered a solution: Christ Jesus. And only one person continues to prove the veracity of that solution every day in everyday lives. The news media may not trumpet such events as “newsworthy”, so let me provide just one example of thousands of such true stories. This is my close friend’s story, personally recounted:
My father was a drunkard. Whenever he drank, he was extremely violent and would take his anger out on his wife. Whenever he came home drunk, my mother would tell us children to quickly hide under the bed for protection. Then he proceeded to batter her with furniture, which he frequently broke in the process. I was very young at the time. This went on for many, many years.
My father would be put in jail then released, and the cycle of violence would repeat. During one of his incarcerations, a missionary visited him, told him about Christ Jesus, and convinced him to give Jesus a try. Reluctantly my father agreed, but only on one condition. He said,
“Jesus, if you are who you claim to be, if you are real and alive, then I ask you to heal me of my drinking problem and I will serve you the rest of my life.”
You know what? That is exactly what happened!
My father never touched another drop of liquor after that day. He never beat his wife and children. He became a gentle, loving father and good provider, virtually overnight. …and he served for many decades as an evangelist leading other people to Christ. Yes, my father was radically transformed from a drunkard to a person totally dedicated to spreading the Good News, the Gospel, of who Christ Jesus is and what He can do to overcome violence and death.
Now THAT is a true miracle!
Indeed, the ability to transform the human heart, to totally cure it of its violent nature at its core, is the greatest miracle of all. It is a miracle that no one can perform but Christ Jesus, our LORD and Savior, the Creator of the Universe born in the flesh for the specific purpose of curing us from a disease for which no cure is possible outside of Him.
Let’s face the truth: We live in an uncivilized society.
Therefore I need the best protection I can get. A 24 hour bodyguard would be good, but I can’t afford one. The next best option is a gun because I don’t live in a civilized society, and the government is not trustworthy either.
But much better by far is the grace and love offered by Christ Jesus, for He, and He alone will cleanse every one of our vicious hearts from our violent tendencies. If we all made the same commitment like my friend’s father, I wouldn’t need protection and we wouldn’t need police, courts, judges, prisons, and so forth.
Because we would all be living a truly civilized life governed by Christ Jesus. Sounds like Heaven to me! Come, Jesus, come!
All is not as it looks.