Engulfed by envy and jealousy, Cain murdered Abel. Thereafter, he became the first fugitive, the first murderer in the godly society started by his repentant parents. Sad? Yes, very. But here, we learned further what God values most – our attitude.
Both Cain and Abel knew God. They both made offerings and sacrifices. However, God favored Abel’s sacrifice more. Abel’s righteousness was reflected in His offering. He gave the best that he had. He trusted God’s providence and grace. He showed his gratefulness by giving the best firstborn of his flock.
He could have given God something else or the second best, to ensure breeding animals of superior quality but in his heart he knew, God had to be the first choice among other choices. God deserved the best he could offer. This was his sacrifice and the test of faith that he passed with flying colors. He trusted that God will provide for him no matter what. He surrendered his tomorrow, his future to the Father.
Cain was a farmer, unlike his brother who herded, he worked the cursed ground to yield crops. He gave himself credit, not God, for the fruits he harvested off the ground. He was boastful and ungrateful.
When God favored Abel’s offering. Cain was enraged. He was not only jealously envious of Abel’s achievement but also mad at God. His vengeful heart wanted to get even with God by taking from Him the child that pleased Him. Further, he lied when God confronted Him and gave him the opportunity to repent his sin.
Sibling rivalry, a trait encoded in our DNA, is perhaps one of the crosses some carry. But God has prepared us for this long ago through the examples of Abel and Cain; Esau and Jacob; Joseph and his brothers; Mary and Martha; etc. Their stories give us insights on what brotherly love should be. The sin that broke their happiness was envy and jealousy. Envy is coveting what someone else has, while jealousy is the fear that something you have will be taken away by someone else.
It’s ironic that though siblings have the same parents, they are still individually different. They may have opposing opinions, wants and beliefs. Their roads may lead to different paths. They get exposed to different experiences.
What does God want?
God wants them to take joy in each other. No matter who they are or have become, God put them together under the same roof, having the same blood, for a reason. They are one of our many gifts in this life; our oldest companion. With them, He gave us our first lessons on what love is and how to love. We were able to put into practice “brotherly love” early on in our journey with them.
Here, we were able to set or defy boundaries. We learned charity, self-control and discipline. This was God’s moulding plate before He sent us out into the world.
Let us say a prayer of thanksgiving for our siblings. God gave them to us because He knows we need them to play their part in bringing us closer to Him and His Kingdom.
“By this we know love, that He laid down His life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers.” 1 John 3:16
Now, thinking biblically, if all of us were brothers and sisters; if we do love others the way God wants, there wouldn’t be any broken homes and crimes. Wouldn’t that be wonderful? If we can divide humanity into two groups, Abel group and Cain group, which group would have more in it? Can you see it? Can you picture it?
Realistically, we all inherited the original sin. It’s encrypted in our genome, human nature. When….
… we try to control, pressure or hurt other people intentionally,
… when we are cruel and judgemental towards others,
… when we belittle, step on or pressure someone to feel good or appear better,
… when we cheat and lie however big or small;
… those are remnants of the original sin; of the Cain in us.
To be like Abel is a good guide to live by…
… to love unconditionally,
… to selflessly share ourselves and give what we have without any strings,
… to accept flaws, both good and bad,
… to heal, to care, to really see the good in everything God created;
… to trust that He will provide everything we need from the air we breathe to living our whole lives. Smile. We all have an Abel in us too. Let’s make him shine.