Murder has become all too common in America. I live in one of the murder capitals of the United States, St. Louis. The first murder recorded in the Bible is that of Cain murdering his brother Abel. Jude calls the whole ordeal the Way of Cain. Everything got its start over jealousy with Abel’s offering that was accepted by God and Cain’s resentment of God for not receiving his offering.
The primary difference between the two offerings was that of the heart. It came down to attitude. Cain did his own thing when he offered his offering, but Abel came to God on God’s terms. Cain was proud and arrogant and refused correction even when God graciously tried to help him.
Cain premeditated the murder of his brother, but before he executed the horrible deed, God reached out to him in mercy. God painted a word picture for Cain to help him fully understand the gravity of his situation. If he chose to follow his hate and resentment, then he would regret his decision for the rest of his life. If he mastered his feelings and did what was right, he would greatly benefit. God described sin as a beast crouching at the door ready to pounce on him (Gen 4:1-16). If Cain did not master it, the monster would tear his life in pieces. God warned Cain that if he let this beast out of the cage, things would rapidly progress far beyond his control. The same goes for all of us in our stubbornness to win arguments and lose the war. This is what happens in marriages everywhere. God speaks to us through our consciences and many other ways and beckons us to do the right thing. When we refuse, we let the beast of our selfish nature out of the cage to assail those around us.
Cain stood at a fork in the road with two ways before him, one was God’s way and the other his. God’s descriptive words about sin as a crouching beast never penetrated his hard heart, and he in willful disobedience went the way of Cain. Is this not a picture of our lives? Here we get a portrayal of ourselves in the story of Cain and the patience and kindness of God to prepare us for what is about to occur. What we see is not flattering because it is an accurate depiction of our rebellion against God. That sinful nature does not belong just to Cain; it belongs to each of us.
Anger must be dealt with head-on. It cannot be ignored or passed over because it will become with time an uncontrollable beast. Parents, you cannot overlook anger in your child. I don’t care how sweet the child is. You do a disservice to your child and all the people who will ultimately be in his or her life.
Immediately following the murder of Abel, God confronted Cain. He showed no remorse, no sadness, and no regret. Cain’s flippant attitude when asked where his brother was, was “Am I my brother’s keeper?” God responded that Abel’s blood cried out from the ground to him. Do we not see Cain’s flippant attitude in New York’s new law to kill newborn babies? Though this law follows the way of Cain, every baby murdered through abortion and infanticide cries out to God.
Following the murder, Cain’s life is a picture of a broken man or woman, still rebellious, still unrepentant but disconnected from those around him or her and from God. The curse of humanity today is the curse of broken relationships. The brokenness of connection with God and with others. Cain experienced isolation that is itself a curse. What Cain was created for and longed for he was denied, and this is the consequence of the way of Cain.