What is God’s Heart on Violence?
From June Hunt
Founder, CSO (Chief Servant Officer)
Hope for the Heart
Surely it bothered you too! The unprecedented spike in violence across our nation this past year. Lawlessness has been permitted to take over certain cities – with devastating, demoralizing death tolls. We have watched political and other forms of violence sweep through our city streets, punctuated now by the tragic violent incursion into the nation’s Capitol building. This must stop.
All authentic Christians must stand united in one accord in opposition to all forms of violence. This is our calling from God and our obligation to our watching world – we must stand against violence. To do so offers us an opportunity to positively impact our culture and present a united witness for Christ.
What does God say about violence? How should we respond to it? The Bible is the best place – indeed the only place – to start.
God is not silent on this issue. His Word speaks to both ends of the spectrum: in His condemnation of violence and in His compassion toward its victims.
God’s Heart on Violence
- God hates violence. “The LORD examines the righteous, but the wicked, those who love violence, he hates with a passion” (Psalm 11:5).
- God will judge those who are violent. “God will judge us for everything we do, including every secret thing, whether good or bad” (Ecclesiastes 12:14 NLT).
- God is angry with violent behavior. “Must they also fill the land with violence and continually provoke me to anger?” (Ezekiel 8:17).
- God prohibits violent people from positions of church leadership. “Since an overseer is entrusted with God’s work, he must be blameless—not overbearing, not quick-tempered, not given to drunkenness, not violent, not pursuing dishonest gain” (Titus 1:7).
- God commands violent people to change their ways. “Give up your violence and oppression and do what is just and right” (Ezekiel 45:9).
- God will one day end all violence. “No longer will violence be heard in your land, nor ruin or destruction within your borders . . . the LORD will be your everlasting light, and your God will be your glory” (Isaiah 60:18–19).
God’s Heart for the Victim
- God hears the cry of the victims. “You, Lord, hear the desire of the afflicted; you encourage them, and you listen to their cry” (Psalm 10:17)
- God cares for those in anguish. “You have seen my troubles, and you care about the anguish of my soul” (Psalm 31:7 NLT).
- God offers healing for those who have been wounded. “He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds” (Psalm 147:3).
- God understands the suffering and pain. “He [Jesus] was despised and rejected by mankind, a man of suffering, and familiar with pain” (Isaiah 53:3).
- God holds the victim of abuse in the palm of His hand. “I am the Lord, your God, who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you” (Isaiah 41:13).
- God wants you to rescue those in need. “Rescue the weak and the needy; deliver them from the hand of the wicked” (Psalm 82:4).
As Christians, we must be swift to support God’s commands – with consistency. We must not condemn violence at one time, while condoning it at other times. We must consistently adhere to the Scriptures regarding violence and the value of life.
Notice in the Ten Commandments how God established the sanctity of human life. He likewise establishes protection for the property rights of others. To take or destroy your neighbor’s tools of their livelihood or fruit of their labor is a form of violence against them. God prohibits both forms of violence. Similarly, to bear false witness against – unjustly label or accuse – another person is to steal their good name and violate their dignity. (See Exodus 20:1–17)
Consistently proclaiming and practicing these biblical truths will provide the common ground for our unity as followers of Christ and offer the world the unequivocal clarity of God’s heart on the matter.
Lastly, we must remember in these perilous times that our God is still the “God of hope” (Romans 15:13). The hope and healing needed to move forward in peace will not be found apart from the Prince of Peace residing in our hearts. So let us continue to look to the Lord for His strength, wisdom, and guidance – and hold forth the hope of Christ and His Word. With His hope in our hearts …
“We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed;
perplexed, but not in despair;
persecuted, but not abandoned;
struck down, but not destroyed.”
(2 Corinthians 4:8–9)
What does God’s Word say about violence?
What can be done about it?
This book on Violence provides biblical truth, revealing God’s heart on the matter – both His strong condemnation of violence as well as to His compassion and care for the victims. Learn about the different