The recent tragedy of the abduction and murder of Sarah Everard has triggered a national debate about the safety of our streets – particularly for women. There’s a sense in which this is somewhat surprising: there is – depressingly – nothing new about this particular murder. Similar crimes have been committed countless times before. However, it is understandable and right that councils and governments have been made to think a little harder about what they can do to make the world a safer place for all. The focus seems mainly to be on good town planning: making sure that street lighting is adequate and that routes are well-maintained; perhaps more police officers on the beat and plain clothes officers in potential hotspots. Fundamentally, though, as many people are recognising, none of this will avail much as long as there are wicked people around. The problem is really too enormous. Few streets in human history have ever been safe for all. Tragically, from the beginning of human existence, there has always been violent, self-seeking, aggressive behaviour. This is because these unpleasant instincts are deeply embedded into our nature. In most societies, the worst of these are curbed by education and upbringing. But we are never able to eliminate them completely. It really would be wonderful to live in a world in which we could go about our business – day or night – in safety, without fear of attack or intimidation. For this to happen, the problem of human nature itself needs to be addressed. God has promised that one day, it will be. He is going to send back His Son to the earth to right all that is so wrong in our world. We are told that “He will break in pieces the oppressor” and bring justice to the vulnerable – “He will redeem their life from violence and oppression.” (Psalm 72:4&14). He will establish God’s Kingdom, which will be filled with people who recognise their need for change and ask to be made like the Lord Jesus Christ. The result of this will be “the streets of the city shall be full of boys and girls playing…” (Zechariah 8:5) – the ultimate picture of safety. What a prospect God has set before us!

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