Do not be like Cain, who belonged to the evil one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his own actions were evil and his brother’s were righteous. 1 John 3, verse 12.
What about Cain and Abel? Theirs is the third story in the Bible, right after the creation and the fall of man. It’s the third sin God directly mentions in Scripture, right after Adam’s pride and Eve’s denial. And it’s not some small infraction: it’s murder. Not just murder: murder of a sibling, murder of a brother.
If you don’t remember the story, Cain and Abel were Adam & Eve’s first and second children. They were farmers, and one day each of them wanted to bring an offering to God. Abel chose the very best he had raised: a first-born of his livestock. It was a gift from the heart. Cain, on the other hand, scraped together a few nice crops and called them ok. What happened? God accepted Abel’s gift and rejected Cain’s. What’s more, God didn’t just reject Cain’s: he corrected him, then taught Cain the right way.
So what was Cain’s reaction? ‘I’ll get even.’ Pride. Anger. He let his anger morph into hatred. It was hatred so severe that he plotted murder, then he carried it out. And what did Cain do then? He stayed in his circle of pride. ‘What will become of me? What will I do? People will want to hurt me:” these are the things Cain said when God confronted him. Me; it’s all about himself; it was all about Cain.
Today, it’s all about us. You and me: we are Cain. The story of Cain and Abel is the story of every sin we’ve ever conceived. We never murdered our siblings, but we murdered God’s love. With every pet sin we kill the good Word that God gave to us, and then blame God. Think about it: in this day just before the start of Holy Week, our sins are already nailing Jesus to the cross. Mine, yours, Kim Kardashian’s, Barack Obama’s, Karl Marx’s, Cain’s and Abel’s. All our sins are how we try to kill off God’s love. Kind of puts it into a different light, don’t you think?
It’s not about me. It’s about Jesus, about Him being God, about Him sacrificially loving us to save us from our inner Cain. Cain is why Jesus came. Our sins are why Jesus was murdered.
After awhile, Genesis doesn’t say what happened to Cain much beyond him one day starting a family and building cities. Perhaps he died a natural death; perhaps he lived a long time and died in the great flood. We don’t know and it doesn’t really matter. What matters is his example, and what it means for us, and that God had greater love.
Lord, forgive me when I have fallen as Cain did. Have mercy on me for your Son’s sake.