“Chicago Homicides Outnumber U.S. Troop Killings In Afghanistan” This is the title of a June article regarding the intense violence in the ‘Windy City’.
Chicago is the hometown of celebrities such as Mr. T, Harrison Ford, LisaRaye, Lupe Fiasco, Terrance Howard, Jennifer Hudson, even our current President, Barack Obama. But recently, Chicago’s murder rate is also currently quadruple that of New York and double Los Angeles’ rate.
Take a moment to try to comprehend that. This is the murder rate; the measurement of people taking the lives of those around them. If this is startling news to you, most people are not even aware of the high crime rate in predominately urban Chicago. You may be asking yourself ‘How? Why? Where?’ All of which are questions we do not have all of the answers to, but I would like to lend some sort of explanation.
Most recently, I learned about an up and coming Chicago Rapper nicknamed JoJo, 18. He had a ‘beef’ with 17yr old rapper Chief Keef, also in Chicago. The two took to YouTube to battle one another and both were looking to be signed by record labels. On Tuesday, September 4th, Jojo was gunned down while riding on the back of a bike through an urban Chicago neighborhood. Following the gruesome scene, Chief Keef took to Twitter to mock the death of Jojo.
An 18yr old died and a 17yr old publicly laughs. Do you care yet?
This is only one of the most recent murders within the war-zone also known as Chicago’s inner city. Crime is nothing foreign to any of us. Just because this is not happening in your backyard, does not make you exempt. As a believer, we should be concerned not only with ourselves, but with the well-being of others. (Phil. 2:4) Not just other Christians, but other people.
Often as Christians, when we hear of a crisis, what’s the first thing we say? ‘I will keep them lifted in prayer.’ And hear me well, that’s the first thing we should do. Go directly to our Father who can handle everything. (1 Thess. 5:17, Ps. 107:28-30,Phil. 4:6-7) But how often is that just the response of a good Christian without actual prayer to follow? Do you as a Christian genuinely care?
Beyond prayer, what do you do? Yes, things should be done as well.
After searching the Scriptures and even racking a few preachers brains, I was unable to find a biblical parallel like this type of violence. The Old Testament has many accounts of graphic slayings, but most were in times of war. These inhumane slayings are unprecedented. People are doing right in their own eyes, and mayhem is the result.
The weapon that can be carried into movie theaters, schools, and even places of worship. These powerful tools are in the hands of those who are underage, immature, and just the wrong people all together. But even with gun laws and restrictions, there is still a thriving market that is infuriating neighborhoods across America. Former President Ronald Reagan said “As long as there are guns, the individual that wants a gun for a crime is going to have one and going to get it.” Honestly, until there is a revolution in the hearts of people, their actions will not change. We are called to live in unity with one another not violence. Guns don’t kill people. People kill people.
Chi-town has become the site for gang wars across the city. Just last weekend, due to gang-related activity two people died and 10 were injured. In one weekend, there were double-digit injuries reportedly related to gang violence. But why? Gangs have been known to be street families. Places of acceptance for the outcasts of the community. A place where not only you were accepted, but had a sense of love. Children are pressured to affiliate themselves with gangs as early as elementary and middle school. Everyone wants to belong somewhere. God gave us the ability to love and care for one another as a family. But often people may not see the love of Christ permeating their local church or neighborhood, causing them to turn to the illusion of love that Satan has so craftily set up. We have to refuse to let another person find love in the arms of Satan.
We already know that God rules and reigns over everything. None of this is a surprise to Him. God gave us a free will and we have to choose God over everything else in our lives. Until that happens, we cannot see a change in our world. When we love God more than ourselves, more than our things, more than what’s popular, we will be able to see God’s hand move in our world. The ‘old church’ called it a revival. It was time when instead of doing things in service the same way, people got on their faces to pray and expect a move of God. Call it traditional or old school, but God hears the cries of His people. (2 Chron. 7:14)
In July, Chicago hosted Christian Hip-Hop’s Legacy Conference, and our own DJ Wade-O attended. This past Saturday, Chicago’s gospel station ‘Inspiration 1390’ held the Family Jam for Peace. There are plenty of positive efforts that are underway, but family, there has to be more! Each one of us has to take it personally; that we are the light in this wicked world.
Replace Chicago with the name of your city and see if you feel any differently.
Until it becomes our personal Christian agenda to reach the lost, to mentor a child, to be an active member of the community, Satan will continue to wreck havoc in our cities. Refuse to let the devil wreck your neighborhoods and youth. Take a stand in the name of the Lord. Do not forget greater is He that is in you than he that is in the world. Everyone cannot get to Chicago overnight to impact that city, but you can be effective in your own city. When you show a concern, things can change.
Now that you know about Chicago’s current situation, do you care?