If there is anything that God detests, it is the shedding of innocent blood. In Proverbs 6:16-19, we are made to understand that to God, it is an abomination. In our world today, especially in Nigeria, human lives are gradually losing their value. Early in May, gunmen killed no less than48 persons when three villages were attacked in Zamfara state.
In the middle of April this year, in just one week, 215 people were killed across the country. The killing spread across Plateau, Ebonyi, and Benue states. These killings were carried out by criminals and non-state actors terrorizing every part of the country while government at both the federal and state levels appear helpless.
Even government security agencies are not left out in shedding innocent blood. Serial abuse of human rights of innocent citizens led to the ENDSARS protest in 2020. Even the climax of the protest witnessed the controversial killing of unharmed protesters allegedly carried out by men of the Nigerian Army at the Lekki Toll Gate in Lagos state.
According to a report by the Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD) in 2021, 13,000 citizens were killed extra-judicially by security operatives in the country between 2011 and 2021. In the report titled ‘Nigeria Human rights Record: An assessment of the last decade’, the CDD reported that “extrajudicial killings conducted by state actors have become the primary cause of death in the country. In fact, state actors have cumulatively killed 13,241 people since 2011.”
In Genesis 9:50, God warned Noah and his children that, “whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed, for God made man in his own image.” He has not placed the discretion of taking the life of any man in the hands of his fellow man. In Genesis 4, Cain killed his innocent brother, Abel, out of envy and jealousy. Due to his action, God placed a curse on him.
The shedding of innocent lives attracts God’s unimaginable wrath. When King David schemed and masterminded the death of Uriah, one of his most loyal soldiers, God vowed to ensure that the sword does not depart from his house. Theologians believe that the situation in the middle-east today is consequential of what King David did back then.
One of the consequences of shedding innocent blood, learning from how God dealt with David, is that the shedding of blood will never cease in the life of the perpetrator. In spite of God’s love for David, He ensures that the repercussion of his action stands. Proverbs 11:21 states that, “Be sure of this: The wicked will not go unpunished, but those who are righteous will go free.” The perpetrator may be forgiven, he may repent of his sin but what stands is that he would not go scot-free.
Another consequence is that the person would be unsuccessful in his endeavours. When Cain murdered his brother for no just cause, God placed a mighty curse on him, “The Lord said, ‘What have you done? Listen! Your brother’s blood cries out to me from the ground. Now you are under a curse and driven from the ground, which opened its mouth to receive your brother’s blood from your hand. When you work the ground, it will no longer yield its crops for you. You will be a restless wanderer on the earth,” Genesis 4:10-12.
You must also note that based on the judgement and curse God placed on Cain for killing his brother, he was made a wanderer all through his life. He was restless, tormented by his conscience and eventually died unhappy and unfulfilled.
Violent death is also not uncommon in the family of the perpetrator. Remember that David, after killing Uriah and taking his wife, almost lost his throne to his son, Absalom (2 Samuel 15:19). Similarly, in 2 Samuel 13:1-22, Absalom murdered his half-brother, Amnon, in revenge for the rape of his own sister. Absalom himself was eventually killed.
Shedding innocent blood is a curse. As a country, individual or group, we must desist from acts that would lead to the death of the innocent. As a country, considering the rate of bloodshed that is happening across the country, it is important that we Nigerians retrace our steps back to God and accept Him as our Lord and saviour (2 Chronicles 7:14).