In a violent world, what can we do? Print
Written by Mary C. Uhler   
Thursday, Sep. 29, 2016 -- 12:00 AM

What is this world coming to? Violence is happening everywhere.

We used to think of civil unrest and wars occurring elsewhere — not in our own cities. But now it seems like no one is safe from violence.

Every time I hear about another shooting, I say a quick prayer and feel like crying, “Not again!”

Who is to blame? Is there anything we can do?

We’re all to blame

Perhaps in some ways we are all to blame for the violence in our world. We are all far from perfect human beings, who often react in angry, frustration, resentment, and yes, violent behavior with other people.

What happens on a one-on-one personal level can happen on a larger scale. Sometimes one person’s feelings can escalate into violence against society as a whole.

Of course, we can also blame poverty, injustice, racism, and other societal causes for the violence. Some people see no way out of their problems except to explode in violence against society.

Pope has insights

What can we do? Pope Francis offered some insights when he met with more than 800 people who traveled from France for a papal audience at the Vatican. These were people who were survivors and family members of the July terrorist attacks in Nice. I thought it was wonderful that Pope Francis greeted each and every one of the 800-plus people in the audience.

Among those attending was a group of Christian, Muslim, and Jewish leaders from France who have been working in Nice to promote mutual respect among different religious communities, reported a Catholic News Service article.
Pope Francis praised this ecumenical effort and emphasized that it is an “urgent priority” for all leaders — both political and religious — to promote “sincere dialogue and fraternal relations among all people.”

The Holy Father said the temptation is to respond to hatred with hatred and violence with violence. Instead, we should respond with the works of God, “which are forgiveness, love, and respect for one’s neighbor, even if he or she is different.”

We can be peacemakers

We must, in essence, rise above violent words and deeds. We have to begin to do it on a personal level.

I always remember the words of the song, “Let there be peace on earth, and let it begin with me.”

While we can lament the violence around us, we can’t just blame other people or situations. We can be peacemakers in our own lives. If enough of us try to do it, we might make a difference in our world.