Adam Lanza (Sandy Hook Elementary shooter) and William Spengler (Webster, N,Y. shooter), names we’ve become quite familiar with in recent weeks, were men who’II be remembered as was Cain. I thought it appropriate to share some thoughts surrounding the first recorded shedding of innocent blood, Cain killing his brother Abel (Gen. 4:1-15). Evil and violence has existed since the beginning of time. What can we learn from this story that will better equip us to handle and respond to present day atrocities?
First, evil is present where God isn’t (Gen. 4:1-6). I’m not suggesting that God is not omnipresent, for we know that He is (Prov. 15:3; Mat. 28:20; Heb. 13:5-6). I am suggesting, however, that when man chooses to remove God and His Word from their life, evil (sin) will be present (Luke 15:11). Cain had obviously ignored God’s command for acceptable worship, choosing rather to do things his way; thus, God’s rejection of his offering (Heb. 11:4). In essence, he removed God from the picture and evil stepped in to fill the void. And the same is true today. When man chooses to remove God (light) from the equation, evil (darkness) will be the result (Prov. 14:34).
Second, man has the opportunity to do what is right (Gen. 4:7). Cain was given a chance to do the right thing, to decide whom he’d place in control. Unfortunately, he chose the wrong path! Those responsible in the recent shootings were undoubtedly given opportunities to do the right thing, as are we all (1 Cor. 10:13; Jos. 24:15)! Tragically, they chose the course that leads to destruction (Mat. 7:13-14). It behooves each of us to choose Christ and to allow Him to be in control (1 Cor. 6:19-20).
Third, misery enjoys company (Gen. 4:8). Cain was visibly angry and undoubtedly miserable and decided to bring others down to his miserable, wretched state. Adam Lanza and William Spengler were miserable, and instead of pulling themselves up out of that lowly state, they desired that others share in their misery. The apostle Paul teaches us that no matter where we are in life, no matter how high or how low we feel, we must learn to be content (Phi. 4:6).
Finally, God will punish the evil doer (Gen. 4:9-15). Cain’s sin did not go unpunished! No sin goes unnoticed by God, for God sees all (Heb. 4: 13; I Pet. 3: 12). Sin, if left unforgiven, results in death (Rom. 6:23). Many were angry that the shooters, after killing many innocent people, took their own lives before they could answer for the crimes they’d committed. But make no mistake about it, they will answer for their evil deeds, they will answer to God, as will we all (2 Cor. 5:10). And He will not allow the evil doer to go unpunished (Rom. 12:19-21; 2 Thess. 1 :7-9).
Our hearts are saddened when such atrocities occur, and many will ask, “Where was God?” God was/is where He’s always been, on His throne! Unfortunately, evil will exist so long as folks put themselves in God’s place!
Terry R. Townsend
Church of Christ at Curry