There is a childlike thought that Good and violence are never connected. In my mind the thought implies that a God of compassion and love will never be connected with anything that resembles violence, anger, or death. In a recent conversation about authors and perspective, I was reminded that wisdom writers across the ages have spoken of Divinity waging war with evil, striking with the intent to destroying the soul of selfishness.
In a world with far too much violence, it is hard to put the concept of a violent Love God in context. Observations that document the struggle include the following.
We are inundated with violence in the choices the world gives us for entertainment. Action movies are just the beginning. Violence dominates videos and gaming devices, role-playing games, television, and best selling novels. Newspapers and headlines on the web reflect the violence communities and individuals inflict on one another. One could conclude that violence is the default answer to any problem.
Values of compassion, family, and community are under attack. Although the attacks are never as simple as a writer might make them sound, there are recurring themes that individualism is more important than community, justice trumps forgiveness, and that accepting others means we cannot hold different values. Each variation on the theme attacks that idea that we are members of a family that needs to continue learning and growing to love and accept each other in all the ways that families at their best do.
When values clash, especially in the ongoing struggle between Good and Evil, unless one is willing to take it to the ultimate limit, the other side wins. I am not willing to concede to Evil, regardless of the price involved.
The God I know is reluctant to give up on anyone. I am glad that Compassion is willing to take a stand as history notes; “You smashed the ships of Tarshish with a storm out of the East.” (Psalm 48.7) I believe this is not God’s first choice however it is the ultimate; Good cannot live with Evil.