You've probably heard the ancient story of Cain and Abel. Although it appears in the Bible, it's not really a religious teaching. It's a story about the desire to kill. Whether or not you belong to any religion, the story is as powerful today as it was when it was first told thousands of years ago. The fact that it appears at the beginning of a book as old as the Bible speaks to its importance. You see, the desire to kill has plagued humanity since the beginning of recorded time.
Cain was a farmer, and Abel, his brother, was a shepherd. One day they offered the very best of what they had grown to God as a gift. This was like any child trying to please a parent, or any adult offering himself and his gifts to the world.
The problem was that God accepted Abel's gift but rejected Cain's.
This was completely unfair. Cain had worked as hard as Abel. God didn't explain why he liked Abel's gift but didn't like Cain's. It seemed like God was rejecting Cain as a person. Like Cain was worthless and Abel alone was the favored one, the golden child.
Cain was humiliated and enraged. He obviously couldn't do anything to God for treating him this way. But he could take the life of Abel, the one whom God loved.
God saw this coming. "Why are you so angry?" God asked Cain. "If you do what is good, you will always be accepted. But if you don’t do what is good, evil awaits you. It wants you, but you can choose to rule over it.”
God could have intervened, but He didn't. God left the choice up to Cain.
Cain had wanted nothing more than love and respect. But Cain had been hurt very deeply, and his desire for vengeance was great. He murdered Abel. And he spent the rest of his life wandering the earth as a fugitive, forever denied the love he had sought.
If Cain wanted nothing more than love and respect, why did he kill Abel? By committing murder, he forfeited all of the love and respect he wanted.
This is an age-old question, but scientists are now providing answers.
Brain researchers have recently discovered that the same pleasure centers of the brain that become active for narcotics are also activated when people are administering “just” punishments. In other words, when we have been deeply hurt and want to punish those who hurt us (or even society itself), we are experiencing some of the same powerful biological cravings experienced by drug addicts.
This is an important new discovery, because it means that the intense desire and attraction that you might be feeling right now to kill others is just that...a feeling generated inside your brain. The good news is that this is only a feeling. It is not a mandate or a law from anywhere outside of you. It is not a death sentence. If your brain created it, then your brain can also make it go away. As God said in the story of Cain and Abel, you can choose to rule over it.
(including your own)
it's not too late
your life matters.
(and so do the lives of the people you would kill.)
Is your situation like Cain's? Most of us have felt this way at some point. That's why the story has continued to be told for thousands of years. The only difference is that some people act on the desire to kill and others do not. Why?
Crisis Hotline: 1-800-273-8255
If you are thinking about killing or mass murder...read this site first.
The craving to kill can be very powerful and very dangerous. It can also be very deceptive, causing you to believe that it will not go away until you satisfy its demands that you kill. This is not true.
The first step to controlling it is to understand what is happening to you. This begins by recognizing that you are not "evil" and that you are not destined to become a murderer. Unless you have a serious brain abnormality, what you are probably experiencing is a life-threatening, almost addiction-like compulsion to do harm. This compulsion is the result of your brain responding to a trauma. The trauma was being wronged or humiliated, perhaps repeatedly, at some time in the past. Part of your brain wants to strike back. It wants to kill.
It is important to realize that only one part of your brain (the greedy pleasure centers, where all cravings reside) wants you to kill. The other parts of your brain, where reasoning and control take place, know that killing would be a huge mistake that would only make your life worse and probably result in your own death. The renegade pleasure centers, focused only on pleasure, do not care about future consequences. They want what they want now.
And so you are engaged in a life and death struggle. The stakes could not be higher. Whenever we face a battle of such importance, we need all of the help and resources we can get. Remember, the craving to kill is just that, a craving. It is not a death sentence. Your brain created it, and your brain can make it go away. How?
It will only take about 5 minutes.