Peace. Be Still
The first one to raise his voice has lost the argument. The first one to raise his hand to strike, has lost control.
When a man is violent to his wife and children, he is no longer a man; much less a husband or father. He is just a beast.
Well said (whoever first said it).
Violence is a horrible subject. And an exceedingly tough lesson to learn. But is it picked up only from a classroom or in school? Babies are not born with the knowledge of right and wrong. They learn it, mostly from observation of the people around them.
Violence is portrayed in movies and the media more than in magazines and books. And, in America, where children reportedly spend three or more hours per day watching TV, that gateway is a powerful influence in developing value systems and shaping behaviour.
How different is that from our local situation? Do parents have a greater influence in these latter days? Shouldn’t adults model a better way?
In a guided essay on Bartleby.com, the writer proposed that “Parents should try not to show violence towards each other when around a child. They should also disapprove of the violent episodes in front of the children, stressing the belief that such behaviour is not the best way to resolve a problem.”
As grown-ups, we know what’s good and right. We know, also, that children emulate the adults especially those close to them. Then, surely, with advancement in knowledge, technology and civility, violence should be on the decline, particularly the domestic version. Sadly, research shows otherwise.
People become violent “because you can” (sounds like a familiar slogan from credit card companies and budget airlines). Just like that. Just do it. Because you can get away with it.
Joe Hyams has good advice for such people: “Anger doesn’t demand action. When you act in anger, you lose self-control.” Or in more folksy style: “When your temper rises, lower your fists; when your fists rise, lower your temper.”
Self-control is the key. Interestingly, it comes from being under the Holy Spirit’s control! The fruition of abiding in Him brings about self-control together with love, joy, peace, etc. (Galatians 5:22,23). We all need to be rooted under His leadership, submitting under His direction and promptings.
Self-control, an antidote to violence, starts with the mind. Work it out logically. Think through it first. Why let feelings over-rule good sense? Why let a person, or words, or a situation throw you off-balance so disproportionately? Ask the Lord Jesus to calm the tempest and raging waves in you. (Mark 4:39)
Figure it out: it comes down to ownership. Others do not cause you to lose your temper. It’s your choice, your decision to fly off the handle. You remain in charge and hence accept full responsibility. It may be sweet at some moment for some to blow up. But picking up the pieces later just proves it’s not worth it. Hold it to the count of ten and say, “This, too shall pass.”
In short, “Never do something permanently foolish just because you are temporarily upset.”
Dr Andrew Goh is the editor of IMPACT
This article 'Peace. Be Still.' was featured in Aug/Sep 2018 issue of IMPACT magazine.
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