The story from the United Kingdom, specifically London, England and areas north that is circulating all over the world is not about Pippin or Prince William and Princess Kate. The news is now about riots, looting, and general civil unrest. There is disagreement on what these events are all about. Some suggest a police shooting in London spurred on the initial riot that is now out of hand (to say the least). Rioters are taking to the streets and burning buildings and cars, breaking windows, looting businesses, throwing rocks and other projectiles at police all because . . . why? Some suggest that these young people are protesting unemployment rates or are expressing fear over a recession in general. One radio spot suggested that it was a clash between the classes (the impoverished taking out their frustrations on the wealthy). One person interviewed implied that no matter what the catalyst was, many are now involved for the thrill – they needed something to do. In other words, no one really knows why so many are rioting. When London police cracked down on the rioters, the riots moved north – there seems to be communication between rioters via social media. Cameras caught images of looters as young as nine years old participating in this unrest.
Who is to blame? I think British Prime Minister David Cameron hinted at where the blame falls when he said, “Something is wrong in our society” (as seen on GMA 08.10.2011). May I take the liberty of interpreting that to mean EVERYONE is to blame. By everyone, I simply mean everyone. I know some will be upset that I am accusing them when I am writing from the United States and have no connection to the events in the U.K. (no connection other than being a resident of the same planet and a member of the same human race). No one may care, but I have a simple plea, especially to Christians. I am calling on Christians to take up the challenge of peace and love. I am asking Christians to not be a part of the problem but of the solution. Take time to look at Jesus’ method of conflict resolution in Matt 5:23-26 and Matt 18:15-17. I am asking Christians to make the first move in reconciliation, especially those who have a vested interest in the events unfolding in the United Kingdom. Put down the rocks, cricket bats, and clubs and seek to restore relationships. Use your influence to help others do the same.
Jesus also said, “do not be anxious . . .” (Matt 6:24ff) and whether he realizes it or not, Douglas Adam’s echoes Jesus statement with the words written on the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, “Don’t Panic!” Good advice! Stopping to think will help us respond to conflict appropriately in all area of our life – not just the current unrest. Come to think of it, we Americans may need to hear the same message in regards to our economy and the NYSE.