1 John 3:11-12 – “For this is the message that you have heard from the beginning, that we should love one another. 12 We should not be like Cain, who was of the evil one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his own deeds were evil and his brother’s righteous. (ESV)
Over three years ago, I penned an article called “Breaking the Spirit of Murder!” In the article I seek to provide hope to our readers that the rising tide of murder and violence would soon recede. Three years later, the spirit of murder continues to hover over our city. It is a vile and disgusting spirit that is robbing our city’s families of their loved ones.
The spirit of murder robs in at least two ways: the murdered loved ones whose lives are snatched away from their families and our community; and the perpetrators who end up wasting their lives away in prison if caught, tried, and convicted, if they too do not become victims of retaliatory violence.
Every victim is someone’s parent, sibling, uncle, aunt, cousin, friend, or co-worker. Every perpetrator indelibly stains their family linage with the stigma and stench that accompanies an unjust taking of another human life.
The victim’s range in age, gender, and ethnicity. Sadly, the perpetrators and the victims are both trending younger. Our city has experienced over 200 homicides annually for the past three years. This deadly trend continues in 2023 where over 40 human beings have been victims of homicide as of this article.
These murders affect every one of us. They heighten our sense of fear, force us to be more aware of our surroundings, and quite frankly can make us more distrusting of each other.
How do we break the spirit of murder in our City? What can be done to dramatically decrease and even eradicate the rising homicide rate? How do we collectively restore our beloved City to a place of community where humanity lives and works cohesively?
Three years later, I offer the same solutions. First, we must love one another. John’s letter (1 John) reminds us that the message of Christ is one of love and not murder. Love is a strong affection. Love is warm and enthusiastic. Love is a godly concern for humankind and a communal concern for each other.
Love hides a multitude of sins. Love truly conquers all.
Secondly, we are admonished to not be like Cain who slew his brother Abel out of jealousy and anger. In Genesis 4, we read the account of how Cain’s anger grew towards Abel. Cain was the older brother who became enraged when Abel’s offering was favored by God over his. Cain lured his brother to the fields where he murdered him. Cain allowed sin and hatred to rule over him. We must not let sin and hatred rule over us.
Finally, we must recognize that murder is evil personified. Cain murdered his brother Abel because he was operating under the spirit of evil: i.e., the spirit of murder. The spirit of murder can be overcome. Cain was admonished to live righteously so that his offering would be acceptable. Cain failed. We must not.
We can drive the spirit of murder out of our City. Our quest must be to help those caught up in the systematic cycles of powerlessness, poverty, hopelessness, helplessness, anger, and anxiety to see a more excellent way. That more excellent way remains love.
Dr. Preston T. Adams, III
Senior Pastor, Amazing Grace Christian Church (Indianapolis)