I knew better, but I did not do better! I have no excuses! My dad had warned me that God’s commandments should not be broken. I remember his words even now. As I was growing up, Adam said to me, Son, the commands God has given us are not there to prevent us from enjoying the best life, they are there to protect us from experiencing the worst life.
I knew I should have offered the first fruit of the land to God, but I did not. I reasoned that since I worked hard for the harvest, I should enjoy the first produce of the land! I conveniently chose to forget that as the land owner, God was the owner of all things harvested on the land. I forgot about how generous He was to allow me to keep all that was produced on His land produced except the first fruits. So, I took His generosity for granted and purposefully withheld what I knew He desired.
What happened next is similar to what happened when Homer Simpson gave Marge Simpson a bowling ball for her birthday (though she had never bowled a day in her life). God was displeased and my offering was rejected!
Instead of accepting responsibility for what happened, I became furious. Knowing it was futile to be angry at God, I turned my anger towards my brother – a classic example of projection. As I focused all my ire towards Abel, God intervened to warn me that my feelings were getting the best of me and were quickly approaching the point of no return. Still I ignored Him.
Instead, I filled my heart with thoughts of all I felt that Abel should have done. I said to myself that he could have offered me some of his firstborn animals. He could have cautioned me not to offer up just any portion of the fruits. He could have pleaded with God to accept my offering. I convinced myself that I was the victim here. I was the victim of Abel’s competitive spirit. I convinced myself that he did not do any of these things because he wanted me to look like a fool in front of God. He wanted to show God that he was better than me. I reasoned that he was happy inside and snickering at my shame.
As I walked around seething with anger, I suddenly heard a small voice whisper to me: Cain, if you can’t do better than the competition, why don’t you just get rid of the competition. It was exactly what fragile ego wanted to hear. So, I did the unthinkable and got rid of Abel.
Looking back, it is clear that I let my anger take me over the edge. I should have allowed my anger and frustrations to pass. I should have listened to wise counsel. But I did not. I let my negative emotions get the better of me and influence my decisions. And I lived to regret it.
- Don’t take your relationship with God for granted – it will impact your other relationships
- Accept responsibility for your mess ups instead of trying to justify them
- Look for and pay attention to wise council, especially when things go wrong
- Any decisions you make when you are angry and frustrated will only hurt your relationship
- Focus on living in community instead of living in competition
If you become angry, do not let your anger lead you into sin, and do not stay angry all day – Ephesians 4:26