Cain spoke to Abel his brother. And when they were in the field, Cain rose up against his brother Abel and killed him. Then the LORD said to Cain, "Where is Abel your brother?" He said, "I do not know; am I my brother's keeper?" And the LORD said, "What have you done? The voice of your brother's blood is crying to me from the ground. And now you are cursed from the ground, which has opened its mouth to receive your brother's blood from your hand. When you work the ground, it shall no longer yield to you its strength. You shall be a fugitive and a wanderer on the earth." - Genesis 4:8-12
It's too easy to resort to violence. No matter how refined or sophisticated we think we are; we all have a breaking point. Violence manifests itself in many ways. Physically harming people is too easy to point out but we start off at being verbally abusive. We falsely teach our kids a quaint verse about "sticks and stones," believing that they will stand strong amidst the throng of degrading speech. Yet, words do hurt!
Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruits. - Proverbs 18:21
And we attack one another out of our sin nature and cause, somewhat, irreparable damage. Somewhat because Christ can heal that pain but most often, the abused is overwhelmed by their verbal abuser and only time can unravel the layers of destruction.
Then there is being emotionally abusive which can also manifest itself in being detached. Hebrews 10:24-25 talks about the necessity of community worship and fellowship.
And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.
So that means living a hermit style life is counter to the culture of humanity because we were created to relate with one another: husband and wife; parents to children; siblings to siblings; family to family; and friends to friends. So, when we strip a person of that essential need to relate, like one parent denying the other parent access to their child or children, we violently dissect their sanity and prohibit proper social interaction and development.
In the Squirrel Syndrome devotion, I covered the four behavioral patterns in the business world. Level 1 is the eager beaver who needs a lot of instruction and guidance. Level 4 is the rock star who needs very little instruction or guidance. Level 3 is the top performer who is wavering because of unsureness or being distracted by external circumstances. I talked about how Cain was a top performer but waivered in performance because he was so focused on Abel's success. Now, it has finally declined to the point that he could not allow further success for his brother. Cain withdraws into a hermit like mode to find the opportune time to take out the beautiful spirit of Abel.
Level 2 is the apathetic and indifferent one. This is the person who care less who is affected by their actions. They have no desire to change their destructive patterns and will use terms like "freedom of speech" and "telling it like it is" to justify carrying on in such a destructive manner. This type of spirit can drive Level 1, 3, and 4 people into a Level 2 role.
In pride and a wicked spirit we continue to unleash this perversion on beautiful spirits until all hope would seem lost. Think about the hearts of people with loved ones struggling with alcoholism or drug abuse. It's a violence to the family structure because one person's lively spirit was decimated at the hands of someone/something who/that assaulted its fabric of beauty.
Most often, the layer of hatred builds until it manifests itself in the form of physical violence. After the mental and emotional shell has been left on life support, the physical shell will be as fragile as brittle. And the worst happens because of our culture to assassinate.
But it doesn't have to remain that way! We can all chose to respond differently! We can resolve to be a person who plants love, charity and kindness rather than a killer of the soul. As Christians, we can show proof that the spirit of God is working within us:
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. - Galatians 5:22-23
As I pen this devotion, 31MAR17, I am hours away from a funeral, that I cannot attend, for a beautiful spirit that was assassinated and taken from this world. She leaves behind two beautiful children who will miss out on the joys of being loved by a truly sweet mother. Her death is/was a violence to a community of people who more than appreciated her value and contribution to society.
Choose, today, to honor the broken and fallen by using better words and actions to your fellow man and fellow woman! It's too easy to tear down and assassinate. It's far more difficult, yet rewarding, to build up and appreciate.
So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love. - 1 Corinthians 13:13
Dedicated to Anne Pedicini