Sermon quotes on violence


Christians, instead of arming themselves with swords, extend their hands in prayer.

W.H. Auden

Murder is unique in that it abolishes the party it injures, so that society must take the place of the victim, and on his behalf demand atonement or grant forgiveness.

Gregory Boyle

Part of the spirit dies a little each time it’s asked to carry more than its weight in terror, violence, and betrayal.

Tattoos on the Heart: The Power of Boundless Compassion, Free Press, 2010, p.44.

Clement of Alexandria

Above all, Christians are not allowed to correct with violence.

Albert Einstein

Peace cannot be kept by force; it can only be achieved by understanding.

The Ultimate Quotable Einstein, Princeton University Press, 2010, p.252.

Gary Haugen

Victims of oppression & injustice don’t need our spasm of passion…they need our legs & lungs of endurance.

Gary Haugen

The one category where we could not see where the body of Christ had very much capacity to respond was where the poor were the victims of violence.

Gary Haugen

One of the biggest forms of violence that the poor suffer around the world is slavery.

Martin Luther King Jr.

Hate begets hate; violence begets violence; toughness begets a greater toughness. We must meet the forces of hate with the power of love.

Martin Luther King Jr.

The ultimate weakness of violence is that it is a descending spiral, begetting the very thing it seeks to destroy. Instead of diminishing evil, it multiplies it.

Martin Luther King Jr.

Through violence you may murder the liar, but you cannot murder the lie, nor establish the truth. Through violence you may murder the hater, but you do not murder hate. In fact, violence merely increases hate… Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.

Where Do We Go from Here: Chaos or Community?, 1967.

Martin Luther

Nothing good ever comes of violence.

Justin Martyr 

We ourselves were well conversant with war, murder and everything evil, but all of us throughout the whole wide earth have traded in our weapons of war. We have exchanged our swords for plowshares, our spears for farm tools…now we cultivate the fear of God, justice, kindness, faith, and the expectation of the future given us through the Crucified One….The more we are persecuted and martyred, the more do others in ever increasing numbers become believers.

Justin Martyr 

We who formerly hated and murdered one another now live together and share the same table. We pray for our enemies and try to win those who hate us.

Alister McGrath

The 20th century gave rise to one of the greatest and most distressing paradoxes of human history: that the greatest intolerance and violence of that century were practiced by those who believed that religion caused intolerance and violence.

The Twilight of Atheism: The Rise and Fall of Disbelief in the Modern World, Oxford University Press.

Osheta Moore

Peace is fierce—it has to be, because violence and discord won’t go down without a fight.

Shalom Sistas, Herald Press.

Marshall B. Rosenberg

All violence is the result of people tricking themselves into believing that their pain derives from other people and that consequently those people deserve to be punished.


Christ, in disarming Peter, disarmed every soldier.

Leo Tolstoy

All violence consists in some people forcing others, under threat of suffering or death, to do what they do not want to do.

The Law of Love and the Law of Violence, 1908.

N.T. Wright

Jesus offers a new sort of justice, a creative, healing, restorative justice. The old justice found in the Bible was designed to prevent revenge running away with itself. Better an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth than an escalating feud with each side going one worse than the other. But Jesus goes one better still. Better to have no vengeance at all, but rather a creative way forward, reflecting the astonishingly patient love of God himself, who wants Israel to shine his light into the world so that all people will see that he is the one true God, and that his deepest nature is overflowing love. No other god encourages people to behave in a way like this!

Matthew for Everyone, Part 1

N.T. Wright

To be struck on the right cheek, in that world, almost certainly meant being hit with the back of the right hand. That’s not just violence, but an insult: it implies that you’re an inferior, perhaps a slave, a child, or (in that world, and sometimes even today) a woman. What’s the answer? Hitting back only keeps the evil in circulation. Offering the other cheek implies: hit me again if you like, but now as an equal, not an inferior.

Matthew for Everyone, Part 1


Christ, in disarming Peter, disarmed every soldier.

Mikki Kendall

The problem has never been the ways that victims don’t tell, so much as it has been that some victims aren’t seen as valuable to protect. 

Hood Feminism

Jonathan Walton

In 2015, the Guardian reported that 1,134 people were killed by police in the United States. And that number is only an estimate because it is still not mandatory to report these deaths to the Justice Department, FBI, or any other government agency.

Taken from Twelve Lies That Hold America Captive: And the Truth That Sets Us Free by Jonathan Walton Copyright (c) 2019 by Jonathan Walton. Published by InterVarsity Press, Downers Grove, IL.

John M. Perkins

We may be “connected,” but we’re lonely, we’re isolated from each other, and we’ve become afraid of each other. That fear has produced acts of violence that are becoming all too common.

He Calls Me Friend: The Healing Power of Friendship in a Lonely World, Moody, 2019.

Rowan Williams

The skills have been lost of being present for and in another, and what remains is mistrust and violence. 

Lost Icons: Reflections on Cultural Bereavement (Edinburgh: T & T Clark, 2000), 175.

Still Looking for inspiration?

Consider checking out our illustrations page on Violence. 

Follow us on social media: