Comedian Steven Wright has said he’d “kill for a Nobel Peace Prize.” That’s funny in the context of his stand-up routine. In our current state of affairs, however, people are killing for a lot less than peace prizes. Obviously, there’s absolutely no humor in any of these shootings, bombings, and other sundry techniques people have dreamed up to destroy human lives.
We wake up almost daily to the news of another insane act of violence. Some of the perpetrators seem to have a sliver of reason for their evil deeds, but none have a truly rational one.
Pokemon Strikes Again
To make matters worse, there seems to be no solid pattern. They can happen in gun-free zones or at heavily guarded events. They can be in high crime areas or in neighborhoods where police are seldom needed. They can be well-planned acts of terror or spur of the moment snaps.
You may have heard recently about the Pokémon Go App craze. It’s a reality game played using cell phone technology. I don’t understand it exactly, but I know it’s been used to lure people into isolated traps where they are vulnerable to armed robbers (or worse). We can’t even trust games anymore!
The first telling of this sort of thing is in Genesis. As a matter of fact, that’s where we hear of many of our “firsts.” You may remember that Adam and Eve had a couple of sons named Cain and Abel. For flimsy reasons (mainly jealousy, I suppose), Cain killed his brother Abel.
As the account goes, God called Cain on the carpet and asked him where his brother was. Cain commits the pitifully naïve act of lying to the Lord and tells him he doesn’t know. God’s reply is, “What have you done? Listen! Your brother’s blood cries out to me from the ground!” We would do well to evoke this little bit of history from time to time.
It’s enormously incredible to me how cheap life seems to have become these days. Even many who decry these senseless acts turn around and support other acts of violence on humanity. They call them by other names and find high and mighty excuses to defend them, but they are no less heinous.
“Thou Shalt Not Kill”
If Abel’s blood cried out to God from the ground, I’m pretty sure modern day victims spill blood that does a considerable amount of screaming to the heavens as well. In the end, God will have the final say. We can argue and fuss as to what we’re going to do to prevent unwarranted slaughters. Nevertheless, history shows we will never stop them all—not that we shouldn’t try.
As for Cain, God cursed him. He spared his life, but Cain’s reaction to the curse was, “My punishment is more than I can bear.” Whatever punishment waits our modern day Cain’s, it’s undoubtedly more than we mere humans will ever be able to mete out. I pity those in defiance of God’s simple command—“Thou shalt not kill.”
[Dave Zuchelli is a graduate of Pittsburgh Theological Seminary and is currently the pastor of Smith Chapel, in Great Falls, VA.]