Over the past year, powerful images of social bedlam and mayhem have often dominated the news. What is now being called an “insurrection” is the description of what took place in Washington, D.C., on January 6, 2021, as crowds of people turned into a mob of anarchists.

People were injured and people died!

That sad episode hardly begins to represent the breakdown of civil order that is occurring all around us and all over the world. People are now being randomly assaulted, stabbed or even shot in circumstances where safety was taken for granted. Here is how God prophetically describes our time:

“‘By swearing and lying, Killing and stealing and committing adultery, They break all restraint, With bloodshed upon bloodshed’” (Hosea 4:2).

Jesus Christ never allowed Himself to become entangled in the chaos of this world, although He was constantly surrounded by it and even eventually became its victim. His overpowering self-restraint in all that He faced serves as our example—especially, as times grow even more dire.

Our challenge to practice self-restraint in all that we think, say or do, will not be easy. To live as Christians, we need help:

“Seeing then that we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 4:14-16).

Our “help” is found in following the lead of Jesus, and it involves thinking as He thinks. The Apostle Paul puts it this way:

“For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ…” (2 Corinthians 10:3-5).

Paul adds:

“Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things” (Philippians 4:8).

Regarding what we should say:

“‘“These are the things you shall do: Speak each man the truth to his neighbor; Give judgment in your gates for truth, justice, and peace; Let none of you think evil in your heart against your neighbor; And do not love a false oath. For all these are things that I hate,” Says the LORD’” (Zechariah 8:16-17).

Jesus taught the kind of self-restraint we should practice regarding what we do:

“‘Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves. Therefore be wise as serpents and harmless as doves’” (Matthew 10:16).

Indeed, we do live, as Paul writes, “…in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom [we] shine as lights in the world” (Philippians 2:15).

As mentioned, the past year has been a time of unrestrained violence, and it will, as we have been warned by God, grow to become the very worst trouble ever experienced or that ever will be again. Against this backdrop, God’s Church will continue to proclaim the good news of the Kingdom of God—even as we remain separate from the destructive path of those who continue to choose violence and who continue to break all restraint.

©2023 Church of the Eternal God