6 My soul has dwelt too long With one who hates peace.
One day I was sitting in a local restaraunt eating lunch with some co-workers. I was having a grilled ham and cheese sandwhich, and a pile of yummy fries. I had reached for my glass of tea and taken a drink and sat it down. It was then I turned my head to look around that I saw the television. There was an ESPN kickboxing match going on. My heart leapt a little bit with excitement as I turned my chair so I could watch with pleasure while eating my lunch.
I watched one guy throw a lightning jab, cross, jab combo. He then finished it off with a brutal shin kick across his opponent’s outer thigh. I nodded with great satisfaction at the fighter’s ability. His frame was well trained and muscular. He didn’t have an arrogant look to him either, which I appreciated. He was a man who had trained long and hard, he had a heart full of strength to get into the ring, and he had the look in his eyes that I have seen so many times. A look of unwielding iron that will not bend.
Over the years, I can always see the turning point in a fight. The real fight isn’t physical. The real fight is mental and in the heart. I have seen it hundreds of times. When a man breaks in his heart is when the fight is over. After that the physical aspects of a fighter goes with it. It is interesting to see people break as soon as they get into the ring before the fight begins, and it is interesting to see those who do not break. A good fighter trains his mind to focus and continue fighting no matter what. It is the wise fighter who clads his heart with armor, fires it in the furnace, pounds on it with the blacksmith’s hammer, and cools it in icy water to harden it into shape.
So I was sitting there watching this kickboxing match about to take another bite of my sandwhich, when the Lord smote me. It was not a physical blow, but it was a moment where He lifted me out of myself and looked deep into my eyes. His word to me, “The LORD tests the righteous, But the wicked and the one who loves violence His soul hates” (Psalm 11:5).
God hates violence and those who love it! I sat there dumbfounded for a few minutes thinking about that, and it was then I decided to turn my chair back away from the tele and eat my lunch. God hates violence, and I had to repent of my sin.
Sitting here writing this my mind flashes back over the last thirty something years of my life. I remember when I was a little boy and how violence upset me. Brutal cruel violence still bothers me, and I have never been able to watch Friday the 13th type of violence. But, I grew up watching Rocky, Rambo, Red Dawn, Predator, Aliens, and many, many other films and shows. Some of my favorite parts in Star Wars are the space battles. In Star Trek when the captain gives the order to “fire” and the phasers and photon torpedoes shoot and launch into space it always gives me a thrill. I loved the violence in video games. Doom 2 was one of my favorites growing up. I remember when Braveheart came out, during the battle scenes I was on the edge of my seat, and I remember cheering when the Scots were cutting down the British. When William Wallace finished the battle with a roar and drove his claymore into the ground in triumph I was jumping up and down inside. I slightly remember no one else cheering in the theater, and my friends all looking at me with a strange look on their faces. (Here is a link to a humorous look at the ending of Braveheart and the way it should have ended)
So I realized that I was a lover of violence. God smote my heart, and I have had to ask Him for forgiveness. It is hard to separate myself from violence because it is so prevalent, and I do my best not to take pleasure in it. Yes I see violence everyday, but I see it differently now. I see it as a fact of life, a way that the wickedness of man has wrought upon us. And I see God looking down with fire in His eyes with hatred for our violence. That last image is very unsettling.
God’s displeasure with the violence of humanity goes back to the very beginning. When Cain slew Abel, God’s wrath was kindled toward Cain because Abel’s blood cried up to God from the ground. Violence and murder entered into the life of humanity from that point on.
In Genesis 6:11-12 we read, “The earth also was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence. So God looked upon the earth, and indeed it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted their way on the earth.”
Jesus said in Luke 17:26, “And as it was in the days of Noah, so it will be also in the days of the Son of Man.” People were going about there daily lives when Noah and his family entered the ark, but I can’t help but feel there is something deeper to this as well. The days of Noah included that the thoughts and intentions of men’s hearts were only on evil continually (Gen 6:6) and the earth was filled with violence. In verse 7 of that chapter, it says that God determined that He would destroy them and He was sorry He had made us. Thankfully God chose Noah to carry on the race or we wouldn’t be here.
We need to repent of our love of violence, and turn toward the path of peace. That is what God desires for us. The people of God are to love what God loves and hate what God hates. God hates violence, and He loves peace. We should hate violence and love peace. I don’t know how things could ever change in this world, but God will change our hearts just as He changed mine.
The mark of the people of God is for us to love peace and always do our best to avoid violence. Violence should always be the last resort, just as it is God’s last resort. We should always seek a peaceful solution to problems, avoid violence, and probably should do our best to avoid exposing ourselves to violence even though it is so difficult to do so in our culture. Jesus describes His people during the sermon on the mount. He says of us, “Blessed are the merciful, For they shall obtain mercy… Blessed are the peacemakers, For they shall be called sons of God” (Matthew 5:7,9).
Lord, change us and let us be a people of peace.