“Then the LORD said to Cain, ‘Where is your brother Abel?’
‘I don’t know,’ he replied. ‘Am I my brother’s keeper?’
The LORD said, ‘What have you done? Listen! Your brother’s blood cries out to me from the ground…..’” Gen 4:9-10
I am getting numb, and I know that’s wrong.
Today the blood of 80 more cries out from the ground in Nice, France, and I can’t watch anymore.
There is nothing new under the sun, the Bible says, and I know there is nothing new about bloodshed and murder and justifying killing for all manner of reasons. I doubt I share any of the killer’s rationale in this situation, but I’ve been in situations where I did – I certainly felt like I wanted Osama’s head as I stared at the destruction of the World Trade Center in 2011.
Some people respond to this violence with a wish for more and better violence from us, from the “good guys.” Everybody needs a gun. We need to declare a war. We need to build a wall. We need to get them out of here before they do it to us.
But just for a minute, before we arm up and build up, can we listen to the words of God here?
“Listen! Your brother’s blood cries out to me from the ground.”
Jesus really did call his followers to some radical obedience. He told Peter, after he took off Malchus’ ear with a sword, that those who live by the sword, die by the sword.
He told us to love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us. He told us to take it when someone wanted to slap us around, turning our other cheek to them, too – not because he was a wimp but because there is no war when the other side won’t fight.
I think from Jesus’ point of view the things we lose from not fighting are temporary, and the things we just might gain from surprising enemies with love and prayer are eternal.
No, I’m not quite mature enough to instantly feel that way. But I am getting to the point where I just hate guns, and the contempt that leads to death, and the blood thirst and the death wish and the idea that we are just so strong and clever when we can kill other people. Because as this guy with a truck proved, it’s not really all that hard – you just have to be hard on the inside.
The Bible tells us our enemies are not flesh and blood. What if we are just killing each other and delighting the Evil One, because that was all he wanted? What if we saw with better lenses, that even the one who wants me to fight and kill him because of his absurd ideas about God, is a victim of Evil and not really my enemy.
I’m not quite mature enough to instantly feel that way. But I want to grow to that place.
The blood is crying out; it’s got to be deafening in heaven. Lord, have mercy on us.