Friday, December 14, 2012

Why Do People Commit Murder: A Spiritual Perspective

 This post is in response to the Sandy Hook school murders that occurred just a short drive away from where my own loved ones and I live. So please bear with me, this will be a long commentary as I just don't feel it is fair to the victims or their families to try and abridge the content.

Murder is a horrible and tragic thing. It not only destroys the victims, but it also has within it the potential to destroy the lives of all the survivors left to try and wade through the deep waters of pain and senseless destruction. It is a stone dropped in a pool of water that will send ripples out for years to come. So what causes some people to cross the line and commit this vicious act that offers no chance of restoration for the victims? Well....I want to offer my thoughts on the matter from a spiritual perspective.

Ephesians 4:31

Amplified Bible (AMP)
31 Let all bitterness and indignation and wrath (passion, rage, bad temper) and resentment (anger, animosity) and quarreling (brawling, clamor, contention) and slander (evil-speaking, abusive or blasphemous language) be banished from you, with all malice (spite, ill will, or baseness of any kind).

Webster's Dictionary defines murder as "to kill (a human being) unlawfully and with premeditated malice." 
Murder is not a random act....even though we may label it that way. Murder is actually a symptom of something much deeper and much more prevalent....bitterness. The root of murder is in unresolved bitterness that has been allowed to fester and grow deeper and deeper into the heart, mind and spirit of the perpetrator. 
Picture it like the branches on a tree. Bitterness is the hidden root system that sucks it's nutrients out of its surroundings. Just like a baby tree....if the root system is fed and will grow deeper and stronger over time and the visible evidence will branch off into any number of directions. Some of those branches are anger/wrath, gossip/character assassination, hatred, unforgiveness, resentment, retaliation/revenge,violence, murder and even insanity.
When we come to grips with this basic understanding it will empower us to make better choices in our lives to prevent those branches from growing and thereby affecting not just ourselves, but many others who would be victims of our bitterness.

Hebrews 12:15

New Living Translation (NLT)
15 Look after each other so that none of you fails to receive the grace of God. Watch out that no poisonous root of bitterness grows up to trouble you, corrupting many.

Webster's defines bitterness as "exhibiting intense animosity"
You know when you've been around a person who is bitter because you can feel it. It doesn't mean that person is evil, it just means there is an unresolved hurt(s) that over time has been fed and watered with feelings of justification. If a wound was inflicted and the person wronged can't remember the incident without feeling a rush of anger, rage, disgust, slander, etc....that's a sure sign bitterness is at root.

So now that we understand what bitterness is, how does it progress into murder? I'm sure you're sitting there thinking..."well I've felt bitterness for something but I would NEVER murder anyone.." Well...let's dissect this step by step.

What's the first emotion you deal with when somebody hurts you? Unforgiveness
Unforgiveness comes when our thoughts replay a mental video of the offense over and over and over in our minds. It torments us the anger we feel as a result of that torment digs the root a little deeper.

The next emotion after unforgiveness is Resentment.
Resentment is the persistent nagging voice that anchors in the unforgiveness by reminding you that you were an innocent victim. It justifies the unforgiveness. The root grows deeper.

Next is Retaliation a.k.a. Revenge
This is when things start to get dangerous. They wronged me, so I'll make them feel what I felt. Coupled with unforgiveness and justified resentment it is now becoming easier to shut off the internal gauge of right and wrong. When acted numbs the senses and the root grows even deeper.

After these the process still isn't just continues to intensify and get worse. Now something needs to happen to re-inforce all of the previous emotions. Anger and Wrath. See, all of the others to this point can snake relatively unseen below the surface, but anger is very visible. You NEVER have anger without the other three, because it is birthed out of the other three and cannot exist without having them to fuel it. The root grows deeper.

After a toxic foundation has been set the very next emotion to be birthed is Hatred. This is where the bitter person begins to systematically remove the offending person from their life. At first they remove them emotionally, but next come the steps of physical removal. 

The next to last progression of emotion is Violence. Violence is anger in motion because it's no longer just in the heart and mind as an emotion, and it's not just's now physical.

The final stage in this horrible chain of bitterness is the one that brings the most destruction not just physically, but in the hearts of the person hosting it. Murder. 

Bitterness is a systematic elimination of a human being or human beings that culminates in the final physical act. It is imperative that we realize the importance of why we must forgive. The world is filled with Murder, anarchy, division, Violence and Bitterness. It is in our nation, our churches, our families and it is in our personal lives. We must not allow bitterness to take root in our lives. We must take steps to actively recognize it, face it and put a stop to it by offering forgiveness even when we are justified in our pain.

Ephesians 6:12

New Living Translation (NLT)
12 For we[a] are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.

Matthew 6:14-15

Amplified Bible (AMP)
14 For if you forgive people their trespasses [their [a]reckless and willful sins, [b]leaving them, letting them go, and [c]giving up resentment], your heavenly Father will also forgive you.
15 But if you do not forgive others their trespasses [their [d]reckless and willful sins, [e]leaving them, letting them go, and [f]giving up resentment], neither will your Father forgive you your trespasses.

Please also remember one thing when dealing with your own issues. Although God wants you to have a heart towards resolution with the people you have Bitterness against, if they do not respond to you (because they have the root of Bitterness) then it is not your problem. You have to come before God personally and get your freedom. The resolution comes from God.