Thanks to the recent absence from writing in this blog, and everything I have been learning, I have decided to shift gears from previous posts, and will now start with lessons I am learning almost from the beginning of the Bible. Today I will begin with Cain and Abel.
This is a story that is so popular that even people who haven’t read the Bible have heard of it. Out of all the stories in the Bible, this one is the most over analyzed, and by that I have seen books written on the psychology of Cain, why he did what he did, and why his sacrifice wasn’t accepted.
While this may be fine for those who believe the simple answer is never right, but for me, the story can be summed up in one verse; and that verse is Genesis 4:7. “If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must master it.”
The first part of this verse isn’t just doing the right thing; it’s also talking about doing it for the right reasons. Both Cain and Abel made sacrifices of something they worked to produce. Abel’s offering was described as “fat portions from the first born of his flock.” Cain’s offering was described as “some of the fruit.” There was no mention of the quality of produce. Abel wanted the finest, and the first, out of respect and love for God, but Cain was sacrificing out of duty; not because he wanted to show respect.
The second part of this verse is a warning to Cain to “adjust your attitude.” Sin is a part of everyone, and there is no exception, (For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God. Romans 3:23) and God has given us a choice. Sin can’t control us without our invitation. It waits patiently for us, and it won’t go away. We can’t kill it, run away from it, or send it away. The only thing left for us to do is control it. We do this by following God’s calling, with a grateful spirit for all God has given us.
At this point I feel it’s important to point out that whatever we focus on we allow into our lives. If we want to keep sin in its proper place, we can’t focus on getting rid of sin; if we do that we are still focusing on the sin, and opening the door. Instead, when you focus, focus only on doing what God called you for, and on having a positive attitude, and reinforce the door with gratitude for the strength God has given you.
In the end, Cain allowed his anger, and jealousy of Abel’s success to rule him, and he killed Abel for it. For those who think of God, in the Old Testament, as a merciless God, who struck sinners down with lightning, this might prove interesting. God did not execute Cain. Instead, he banished him from his land, so he could wander, living with the guilt of killing an innocent man.
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