Growing up I was fascinated with wargames, and I’d spend hours with friends play-pretending to be soldiers. As a boy whose dad was in the army, this was normal. YET, the thought of actual war and death totally terrified me—haunting my dreams and keeping me up at night. “Interestingly”, somewhere along the way my horror of violence got buried deep. If I’m honest, I think society brainwashed me to champion Just Killing, i.e. violence for the “good guys”. Like the song from “Beauty and the Beast”, though, this is a tale as old as time.
Like Adam and Eve old! Adam means “humanity” and Eve means “life”, and they birthed a farmer (Cain) and herder (Abel). One day, though, enraged when Abel found more favor than him, Cain channeled his anger into violence and killed his brother. Banished from his home because of this, Cain goes on to symbolically, at a minimum, found the first city. Part of this story’s inspiration is it reveals how human society has long been founded on and birthed from violence.
So, I joined the air force, went to war in Iraq, cheered videos of bombs and snipers killing enemies (and almost certainly innocents), and said “I support finding and killing evil people to make the world a safer place” with 99% conviction. I say 99% as I could still feel my buried self trembling. Ironically, I’d been a Christian my whole life, meaning I was a war advocate following the Prince of Peace! Let those words sink in.
I think the way society indoctrinates us to the “goodness” of violence is what kept me blinded to the Light. Yet, Jesus literally saved me from the unending cycle of harm and death by gently opening my eyes to how He lived, taught, died, and rose again as the embodiment of peace, and invited me to do likewise! Christ’s call to “Love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you” is truly a beautiful way to live.
When God asked Cain where Abel was, he famously replied, “I don’t know. Am I my brother’s keeper?” While we’ve followed Cain by rooting society in violence, Jesus founded a NEW humanity birthed from peace! What continues to change my life is Christ’s revelation that not only am I 100% my “brother’s” keeper, ALL humans are my siblings!
Likewise, while, like Cain, I used to channel my anger, fear, and thirst for justice into violence, now I do my best (with stumbles) to repay evil with good! My journey from death and violence to life and peace has been long and winding, and still continues, but is totally worth it. It’s as simple/complex as seeing everyone as a beloved sibling and channeling our energy, emotions, and thoughts not for “death”, but for LIFE! What do you think?
Hugs & Love,