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Lenten Devotionals Wednesday March 8, 2023: Pain of Violence

“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.”  (Matthew 5:9)

Violence pervades our lives and distorts God’s kiin-dom plans.  The war in Ukraine reveals the consequences of violence on a global scale.  But violence takes many forms:  any behavior intended to hurt, damage or kill.  Physical, psychological, spiritual and verbal abuse, bullying, economic and social violence all send shock waves of pain and destruction through bodies, souls, peoples, countries and our natural environment.

Our bodies release adrenaline and cortisol during conflict, tempting us to fight violence with violence.  It’s important to acknowledge how this momentary surge of power can feel good.  But our fight response also fans the flames of conflict, moving us farther from peace.

Violence demeans both victim and victimizer; its injuries not just of the flesh, but of the spirit and soul.  The children of God are peacemakers who follow a crucified God.  Christ did not meet violence with more violence.  He resisted violence with that which is more powerful:  love.

Examine:  Sit with the pain of violence.  Breathe.  Notice thoughts and feelings that arise.  Notice your body’s response.

Imagine:  Picture Jesus with you, saying these words:  “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you.”  (John 14:27)

Pray:  Free me from pain, O God, so I can live with healing.