Reading: Genesis 4:1-16
Reflection: The story of Cain and Abel was written to explore much
deeper truths than just historical facts. Once we have accepted this,
we can open our hearts to the challenge of this strange story.
Two important truths stand out with regard to this week’s theme. The
first is that right from the earliest chapters of the Bible we see God
choosing the younger brother over the elder. In the times when this
account was written, eldest sons were considered more important
than their younger siblings, but throughout the Old Testament, we
see God choosing the younger (least) brother to fulfill God’s mission.
This reveals that it is not our status or ability that God needs – just
our willingness. But, Cain could not handle God’s choice of his
younger brother, and considered this a rejection by God. His
jealousy and anger drove him to murder, which brought the
consequences of isolation, loneliness, and lack of security. This is
the second truth – and it’s a pattern with which we can all identify.
We are all tempted to believe that we can earn God’s approval
through what we achieve. We all know the frustration when others,
whom we consider less worthy, enjoy “blessings” we don’t. And we
all know the temptation to attack, undermine, judge, or dismiss
others because of our jealousy, anger, and shame. We may not
resort to murder, but the destructive consequences when we give in
to these feelings are much the same – isolation, loneliness, and a
lack of security because our relationships have broken down. The
good news is that, in Christ, we have the promise of God’s
forgiveness, and the capacity to choose differently.
How can you overcome the temptations of jealousy, anger, and
shame today, and work to keep your relationships strong?
Practice for Today: If Cain had been willing to face the darkness in
his heart, the outcome of this story would have been very different.
But, in his refusal to confess and repent change he brought
destruction on his brother and on himself. Confession is the antidote
to the disease of denial and destruction. Today allow confession and
repentance to set you free from your darkness.
Prayer for Today: As I confess the darkness in my heart, O
God, so you set me free and help me to change