While they were in the field, Cain attacked his brother Abel and killed him. Genesis 4:8
The many killings reported by the news media are not a modern phenomenon. In Shakespeare's "Hamlet," the king is killed, and the uncle, Claudius, marries Queen Gertrude. Hamlet wants to kill Claudius but by mistake slays Polonius, the father of his beloved Ophelia. Her brother, Laertes, and Hamlet kill each other in a duel. Hamlet's mother dies of poison intended for her son.
We can go back to a much earlier source to see the killing instinct at work: the Bible. Cain, the first son ever to be born, killed Abel. Among Adam's other descendents was Tubal-Cain, "who forged all kinds of tools out of bronze and iron" (Genesis 4:22), some of them used for killing. Another descendant, Lamech boasted to his two wives, Adah and Zillah: "I have killed a man for wounding me, a young man for injuring me" (Genesis 4:23). As you read on in the books of the Bible you find many instances of individual and group killings, in peace and in war.
Some say the Bible shouldn't be read because it indirectly encourages people to shed human blood. But the opposite is true. Secular humanists and others who deny the reality of sin and claim an inborn goodness of human nature should read the Bible to convince themselves of the truth of this statement in Genesis: "Every inclination of his [man's] heart is evil from childhood" (Genesis 8:21).
Killings will not stop until there is a change of heart -- a change that only the Holy Spirit can effect through the Gospel. He makes the individual a new creation in Jesus Christ. The Spirit creates faith in the Savior, and with faith He engenders love: love to God and love to fellow human beings, including enemies.
Strange as it may seem, only the death of Christ, brought on by His enemies, can keep people from killing each other. For it not only reveals the horror of hatred vented against the Innocent One, but more important, it sets people free from the power of sin. God is at work in converted human beings, enabling them to change hatred, anger, jealousy, and other motives for murder into love, patience, and forbearance. In Christians the killing instinct turns to kindness.
PRAYER: Lord, renew my heart so that I may grow in my love for Christ and my fellow human beings. Amen.
(Devotions from "With Jesus Every Day" copyright 1997, CPH. All Rights Reserved. No part of this publication may be printed, reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without prior written permission of Concordia Publishing House. Permission is granted for one-time emailing of this link to a friend. For information on other devotional material, please contact CPH at 800-325-3040 or visit CPH at www.cph.org.)
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