Monday, April 16, 2018
So now we can tell who are children of God and who are children of the devil. Anyone who does not live righteously and does not love other believers does not belong to God. This is the message you have heard from the beginning: We should love one another. We must not be like Cain, who belonged to the evil one and killed his brother. And why did he kill him? Because Cain had been doing what was evil, and his brother had been doing what was righteous. So don’t be surprised, dear brothers and sisters, if the world hates you. If we love our brothers and sisters who are believers, it proves that we have passed from death to life. But a person who has no love is still dead. Anyone who hates another brother or sister is really a murderer at heart. And you know that murderers don’t have eternal life within them. We know what real love is because Jesus gave up his life for us. So we also ought to give up our lives for our brothers and sisters. 1 John 3:10-16(NLT)
Of course John was not telling us anything new here; actions have always spoken much louder than words. The Apostle was making a less than subtle point that you can know what’s in a person’s heart by that person’s actions. For instance, it doesn’t do much good for someone who has just clobbered me with a rock to tell me he loves me as a brother. His actions have already spoken, so his words are more a cover-up tactic, so I will not retalliate. At the least it is mumbled platitudes to aswage the clobberer’s guilt!
The fact that Cain dwells in all of us is a troubling reality. We hear so much these days of violence: school shootings, murders, bombings, hi-jacked airliners, cars driven into crowds, drug-trafficking, slavery, nerve gas, nuclear arsenals, threats…it is Cain who walks our streets in the 21st century. And the heart of Cain is not sick with mental imbalance; it is sick with the absence of love.
John says that Cain’s motive in killing his brother was a matter of lacking love. His anger grew because Cain was evil, refusing to act like he was created – in the image of God. Seeing the actions of his brother, Abel, and his obedience towards God, stoked that anger like water on a grease fire.
We are thousands of years removed from that first murder, but we have taken this practice to levels of heinousness which would probably make even Cain turn over in his grave. It is so commonplace to hear on the nightly news of another shooting that we hardly blink. We read in news accounts of not only the killing, but desecrating of bodies and multiple murder killing sprees. Children are the most innocent of victims. Men and women casually, sociopathically, rid themselves of unwanted fetal tissue (more accurately, aborting and killing a living soul), and they call it family planning.
In the name of peace we build bigger, more powerfully-destructive killing devices, and go to war, dropping bombs with such regularity it is amazing anyone in any government on earth can keep a straight face when announcing a so-called peace initiative.
However, aside from the brutality of physical murder, there is its symbiotic twin, the emotional destruction of hope in another human soul. The Cain in us begins young. With social media tools in hand, children bully and isolate themselves from not only authority, but any kind of accountability. It is typical to see Cain rising in a two-year old who strikes his playmate when she steals his rubber ducky. But, left unchecked, this anger grows on through youth and adulthood. The results are not pretty!
But there is light. The Apostle said real love is what Jesus showed us on the cross. He gave up an eternal existance of perfection to take our sinful Cain ways to an altar of sacrifice. At Calvary Jesus took the hate of the world to hell, and made Heaven a possibility for anyone who will trust him. Jesus took Abel’s place.
Obedience to God’s will and ways always makes you a brother to Abel. Cain doesn’t like being reminded of his evil by Abel’s goodness. If you will follow Jesus today, get used to living on that edge, loving Cain; it’s not comfortable, but it’s the only way to deal with the Cain in you!