A recent Monitor article, “Chicago police use more deadly force as gang war heats up," reports that Chicago police have already shot and killed more people this year than all of last year. City officials say criminals are more brazen than ever, while critics say that the police are “feeding into a cycle of violence with aggressive policies.”
With drug-related violence ongoing, and protests escalating into shootouts in different corners of the world, is it possible to counteract the evidence that violence is becoming a daily fixture of life, with no end in sight to it? Spiritual inspiration and discernment keep us from complacently accepting violence as a way of life or feeling overwhelmed by the many forms it takes.
In praying about violence, I have found comfort in David’s beautiful prayer for deliverance and protection from his enemies, including the envious King Saul, who hated and wanted to kill David without a cause. It shows David’s unwavering confidence in the power of God – the same power that is still with us and makes freedom from violence possible today. David’s prayer is permeated with the spirit of thanksgiving and praise to God for His constant protection and security. David wrote, “My God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold and my refuge, my savior; you save me from violence” (II Sam. 22:3, English Standard Version).
Because violence often appears to be a complex issue invading every corner of life – homes, schools, politics, economics, and even religion – prayer that begins with acknowledging the one God, the one infinite Love who is Life itself, gives us the conviction that God includes no evil and therefore no violence. God’s creation – including every man, woman, child, and creature – is the only creation, and this creation is made in the image and likeness of Love. God causes His creation to be forever peaceful, serene, undisturbed, nonviolent.
Mary Baker Eddy, who discovered Christian Science and founded the Monitor, embraced the constant desire that all humanity would understand our one and only spiritual identity as safe and untouched in Love’s all-power and presence. She wrote, “The depth, breadth, height, might, majesty, and glory of infinite Love fill all space. That is enough!” (“Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” p. 520).
Understanding this spiritual fact enables us to rise up to denounce violence as a ruler of humanity. It helps move everyone, including those in government and those whose job it is to ensure public safety, to feel the touch of the Christ – the healing power and presence of God – in finding just ways to defuse violence.
Prayer gives us the spiritual understanding and intelligence to view violent situations with compassion instead of indifference, especially where comfort is needed. It can bring about the reformation of aggressive impulses that give rise to violence in individuals, countries, and governments.