“Your brother’s blood cries to me from the ground.” That’s what God said about Cain murdering his brother Abel, a consequence of “sin crouching at the door; desiring to have you” (Genesis 4).
Today naked aggression threatens to continue to spill much blood in Ukraine. And the blood of innocent victims once again cries out to God.
Why? Because “in the image of God has God made mankind” (Genesis 9:6). That is why murder is wrong.
War represents the utter failure of human beings to be who they were created to be. It is to violate the dignity of fellow human beings by effacing that image, imposing the heavy hand of subjugation, and even snuffing out life. This is not strength, but pitiable weakness. The tyrant wants to be the strong man, but no one will ever call his acts “courage” or his soul “good.”
Defensive war (“just war”) is sometimes necessary, but tragic nonetheless. Wars of aggression, on the other hand, reveal the worst of the corruptions of human nature. Wars of aggression are not started by ordinary people—wives and husbands, brothers and sisters—but by the tyrants, the despots, the authoritarians. They sometimes get their way—for a while.
The tragedy unfolding before our eyes offers us an opportunity for soul-searching and moral clarity. To call evil evil. To insist on justice. To lead principled lives. To follow the command of Jesus to lead servant lives, not the way of raw power, of “lording it over others,” which is the spirit of the world (Matthew 20:25-28).
The record is in front of our faces, via eyewitnesses and social media and smartphone videos. If our souls feel ill right now, that is a good sign. The blood is crying again.