After 5 nights of U.K. rioting, the world is struggling to accept that civilization is just a facade. The images of youths from all creeds and colours raping and pillaging society, have shaken confidence in humanity. Science does not have the answer to mankind’s sinfulness.
In the scheme of things, the riots are distracting us from other unfolding tragedies – like the African famine, Syrian crackdown, and corporate and political greed. However, the fear is that violence may spread beyond Britain and into the rest of the Western world. The Arab world has alread experienced uprisings this year too. As we increasingly experience a widening gap between rich and poor, corruption in government and disaffection through multiculturalism, then future riots are a matter of when not if.
But apart from lamenting the breakdown of society, what can we do? Here are some thoughts:
1. Train our kids well: The seeds of this violence have been growing for decades. ‘Where are the parents?’ is a valid question to ask. Determine to teach and train your children – or future children – about God and in godliness. In 10 years time, will it be our toddler on the street seeking violence? We will give a direct account for our responsibility in this area.
2. Don’t stop meeting with believers: One sign of the end times is rebelliousness and disrespect for parents. As such it’s critical that we select companions and communities that share godly values – for both ourselves and our kids. I believe parents should be selective about their kids friends, potential spouses and our own company. One of the reasons Hebrews specifically instructs us to not forsake church gatherings – particularly in the last days – is to help prevent us for falling away to despair and decay.
3. Pray We should pray always, but particularly when we don’t have a solution. With current events, we may not know how to pray, but the Holy Spirit has promised to intervene. He converts our desires and expressions into beautiful words for God’s ears. May our prays be longing not just for peace on earth, but also for a more intimate relation with our Father.
4. Outreach. Without being silly about safety, we must minister to the offenders and victims. Outreach ministry should take the form of justice (correctly punishing the offenders) and compassionate care for the victims. While our political and legal systems fail true justice most of the time, we must resist becoming vigilantes. There is a big difference between self-defense and revenge. In terms of the how and when of compassionate care, it is most effective when applied locally and when it ministers to the person holistically (e.g. financial loss, emotional trauma and spiritual guideance)
5. Celebrate: We must look on the bright side of life. God has saved us from our own barbaric hearts. But for the grace of God, it could be us on the streets. Let’s convert our sorrow about trashed cars into a helpful longing for our heavenly city. Let’s celebrate our future eternal home where thieves won’t break in and steal, and we will live under the rule of the Most Just King of All.