What Causes Riots?

Fear is a natural emotion but far too often it is used for harmful and not productive purposes. Perhaps Today Ministries has been asked to help understand the recent increase in rioting events of which fear is a major cause. We should take a look at history and root causes related to riots to begin this dialogue. 

We see in the Salem Witch Trials, racial tensions presently in the south and more recently cyber bullying; all examples of mob mentality (sometimes called herd mentality).  We can find rioting throughout the Bible as well.  In Genesis 19 the men of Sodom surrounded the house of Lot and in Judges 6 the men of the city wanted Joash’s son Gideon to die for tearing down the altar of Baal.

Rioting seems to be driven by fear.  With the Salem Witch Trials, fear of being accused, tried and possibly put to death dominated and controlled the people. 

More recently we have seen people become frustrated because they feel they are not being heard. This leads to a sense of alienation from society which then causes frustrations that lead to resentment and anger. Those emotions precede actions and where the fear of not being heard drives them to start the action, greed follows when the risk of punishment is less because more people are involved and we then see looting and property damage. Greed drives the action because they are jealous of someone else’s perceived good fortune which they dually perceive as their loss and if they feel no one is listening and “keeping them down” then they want someone to acknowledge them. 

So, what can be done to combat rioting?  The Bible says in Romans 13:13a, “Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness…”  (Translation, rioting means “in jealous wrath”)

Teaching our children to respect authority, working towards making a difference in our communities and governments; respecting each other, working toward meeting the educational and economic needs of communities will all go a long way in battling the root causes of rioting. Judge Jeanine Pirro addresses this on her program Justice with Judge Jeanine.  

However, the greatest combat is one of learning better communication skills where one is able to speak assertively and all parties feel equal, heard and OK at the conclusion of the discussion. It is possible to have disagreements and concerns where members can also leave the table feeling heard and understood even if everyone doesn’t agree. 

This is something we can begin to use even in our own homes. PTM teaches on assertive communication. If you or someone you know has trouble with fear or wants to learn how to feel heard when communicating contact us for more information on communication training at Counselor@perhaps-today.com.