Katie Lewis
Katie Lewis

There is so much violence in our world today that it is truly astounding. The incidence of terrible and disturbing hate crimes during the past few years has risen sharply.

For some, it has become difficult to understand how God could let such suffering exist. Some people can’t accept that each person is unique and perfectly able to live, believe and worship as they wish. Those who commit these atrocities clearly feel that their personal hate, prejudices and opinions must be shared with the world. I feel this is why these groups are targeted, particularly around major religious celebrations and holidays. 

The news has been plagued by far too many of these incidents in the past few months; the message of hate is far too plain. Included would be the devastating attacks on Easter Sunday in Sri Lanka, the horrific mass shootings in synagogues bringing fear to our Jewish brothers and sisters, and attacks on members of the LGBT community. 

As of now, in my opinion, our best defense is to pray for peace, in our world, in our country, in our communities, and in our lives. We should, especially as people of faith, strive to spread the message of love and acceptance. We should not assist in the perpetuation of hate and violence. 

Each person has their own way of coping with all of the bad things that happen in the world around them. Not every method of coping will help every person. What helps me may not be helpful to everyone. 

I always try to pray for peace.

The clearest solution to fear-based violence is holding your faith and keeping faith always. There are so many ways to keep faith strong. I believe that prayer and positive actions are the most crucial steps I can take, especially now. Positive actions can’t undo what has been done, but positive actions can promote healing.

There is not much, if anything, that can undo what has been done but we can work to spread love and peace through kind words and positive interactions with all people we encounter each and every day. We need to be supportive and loving to all around us. We need to be accepting of all those who are different. We need to stop hate at the source. We need, as Christians, to do as the Bible says best and “Love thy neighbor as thyself.” 

If you truly live by these words, you can be a beacon of hope for all to see.

Katie Lewis is in the 10th grade at Bishop Maginn High School.