Can human violence be stopped?

God said to Noah, “I am going to put an end to all people, for the earth is filled with violence because of them.” -Genesis 6:13 

Dear members and friends,

The past many years have been sad and troublesome to me even before all the tragic mass shootings in America. Now I am reading the news of the shootings in California that happened one after another within just a few days. This shook the foundation of my tranquility and inner peace deeply. It took me real effort to simply act normal, because there is nothing normal about what is happening in America with guns in civilian hands. How long can we pretend that it’s okay to live like this?  

According to one organization, 40,620 people die by guns in an average year in America. Gun violence is definitely one of the most serious problems we have in America. And, nowadays it has become like an unknown and undetectable time bomb that could explode at any place in our community. We use the word “violence” to describe horrific tragedies such as mass shootings. The English word “violence” is defined as “behavior involving physical force intended to hurt, damage, or kill someone or something.” Here, the key word is “intended.” Intend means to voluntarily choose such an act. As horrific as it may seem, it is true that a human being could choose to harm, damage, or kill another human being(s). The first time we read the word violence in the Bible is in Genesis 6, “Now the earth was corrupt in God’s sight and was full of violence.” The Hebrew word for violence is chamas, which could also be translated as “wrong!” In a way, what the Bible is telling us is that human-caused violence created such corruption of the world. However, the truth is that God in the Bible teaches us something that is very simple: a violent act is essentially wrong before God. The Bible warns us that violence between humans could be a catastrophic disaster to the existence of humanity. 

My brothers and sisters in God, let us take time to pray. Pray for the innocent victims and their family. Pray for the communities whose sense of security and peace has been deeply shaken. Pray for all the troubled spirits whose hearts and minds are filled with pain, anger, and confusion. Lastly, pray for the guidance and presence of loving God for us all.  

Blessings, Rev. Junchol Lee