Ministry

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Two Overlooked Factors to Reduce Chicago Crime

The headline read, “Chicago Crime Skyrockets in 2016.” There were 2,400 shootings in Chicago in 2015. That number rose in 2016 to 3,525! An increase of over 1,100. The shootings resulted in 762 homicides. This is more crime than New York and Los Angeles combined!

Police officials are trying to solve the out-of-control crisis by adding more police and taking away more guns. These steps are futile because the respect for police has eroded and police feel that their “hands have been tied.” Also, Chicago is already the most “gun free” city in America.

The only answer is to seriously consider and implement two overlooked factors:

1. Transforming the Thoughts of the Heart

Researchers have confirmed the wisdom of Scripture. Our heart functions by neurotransmitters that send messages to other parts of the body. If these messages are motivated by anger, aggression, anxiety addictions, depressions or thoughts of suicide, these motivations will overpower the mind, will and emotions of a person.

Wrong behavior will never change until wrong thoughts of the heart are transformed. Jesus made this very clear. “For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lewdness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness. All these evil things come from within and defile a man” (Mark 7:21–23).

Up until the 1960’s America had a Biblically-based culture. The Bible was read in most public schools. Then in 1963 the Bible and prayer were removed from American public schools. The sexual revolution of the late 1960’s filled the void and crime began to escalate.

There is no way to have a crime-free society without a reverence for God. He has embedded His moral law in the heart of every person; and He has also delegated authority to government officials “for the punishment of evildoers and for the praise of those who do good” (I Peter 2:14). Notice the two-fold responsibility of law officers: they are not just to punish evildoers, but to praise those who do what is right. All people long for praise; in fact, they are controlled by those who praise them.

There is only one way to transform the evil thoughts of our heart. It is the same solution for the second overlooked factor.

2. Increase Serotonin Levels

If we are serious about reducing crime, we must “connect the dots” between crime and low serotonin levels. Serotonin is a vital neurotransmitter. It is also called the “happy hormone” because of its beneficial effects on health, mood and behavior.

Researchers point out that low or imbalanced serotonin levels result in anger, anxiety, addictions, depression and thoughts of suicide. The whole purpose of antidepressants is to keep serotonin in the brain. An antidepressant is called a “Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitor” (SSRI). The first problem with this pharmaceutical approach is that only 5% of our serotonin is produced in the brain while 95% is produced in our “gut brain,” which God (in the Old Testament Scriptures) calls our “reins.”

The second (and more major) problem with antidepressants is that they have very damaging side-effects including depression, aggression and suicidal thoughts. It is extremely significant that 35 of the killers in mass school shootings in recent years were all on, or were withdrawing from, antidepressants. A mental health research group gave the following report:

“There is overwhelming evidence that psychiatric drugs cause violence. 27 international drug regulatory warnings cite violence, mania, hostility, aggression, psychosis and homicidal ideation. Individuals under the influence of such drugs and committing these acts of senseless violence are not limited to using guns and are not limited to just schools.” [CCHR International 2012]

Despite all these warnings, the use of antidepressants is skyrocketing in the United States, according to data provided by IMS Health. The total number of people taking psychiatric drugs in the U.S. was 63,589,802 in 2002 and in 2013 it increased to 78,694,222!

How to Increase Serotonin

Before discussing “how” to increase serotonin, we need to understand “what” depletes it in our body. Dopamine and adrenaline are two powerful hormones that block serotonin receptors.

Dopamine is the “pleasure hormone” and adrenaline is the “fight or flight” hormone (activated by fear). When we understand the destructive results of misusing dopamine, we realize why Jesus gave such a severe warning against lust in our heart (Matthew 5:27-30).

On the matter of overusing adrenaline, every person is born with four primary fears: the fear of rejection, the fear of failure, the fear of poverty, and the fear of sickness and/or death. These fears must be resolved in order to raise serotonin levels.

The primary way to increase serotonin is with the energy of “inner light.” Researchers who are aware of this “find” are using “bright light therapy” instead of drugs to deal with depression. The lights must be at least 10,000 lux at a distance of 12 to 48 inches away from the patient. The God who created us was very aware of our need for inner light. The first thing He did was to create light. This was on the first day of creation. He didn’t create the sun, moon and stars until the fourth day of creation.

God created light with the power of His Word. “Then God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light” (Genesis 1:3). God’s Word is just as powerful today as it was in the beginning of creation. When we internalize it in our heart, mind and “gut brain,” we experience God’s power and inner light. David declared, “The entrance of Your words gives light” (Psalm 119:130). “For the word of God is living and powerful . . . and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12).

The only way to transform our thoughts and raise our serotonin levels is to find a verse of Scripture every morning, record it daily in a journal, memorize it and put ourselves to sleep by quoting it to God.

Light always conquers darkness. The average person has fifty to eighty thousand thoughts every day. Many of these thoughts come from darkness. Therefore, a daily infusion of light is essential. Thus, Jesus declares: “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God” (Matthew 4:4).