What is it about our natures that when we don’t get what we want we tend to take it out on others? Or when we are faced with the realization of our own inadequacies, we focus our disgust at those more honorable at the moment than ourselves?
We considered such thoughts as we continued our family bible study using the field guide-book Wineskins. This time we sprawled out on a fuzzy blanket overlooking a glassy-eyed, reflective Deep Lake. The local State park afforded a tranquil setting on one of the fleeting days of warm sunshine from which to contemplate the disturbing covenant God made with Cain.
Cain enticed his brother out into the open fields, over the garden soils that he was so adept at cultivating, and intentionally scattered the seeds of violence, all because he didn’t get the attention he wanted. He couldn’t stand how he felt, so it seemed preferable to eliminate the contrast rather than attempt to change himself.
Perhaps it isn’t much different than our human tendency to blame God for both global and personal suffering resulting from our own rebellion.
Throwing a fit, however, seldom produces the ultimate outcome in our favor. God so cursed Cain that his greatest skill as a Master Gardener would no longer be able to generate simple, living produce. He planted death over his fields and contaminated the very soil of his heart. For the rest of his life his actions caused him to become the first wandering beggar.
In divine mercy, God made an unconditional covenant of temporary protection over Cain, restraining vengeance, vendettas, and the vermin of escalating violence. Even to this day, God retains sole right to exact revenge.
With all that in mind, the next time you find yourself inclined to writhe in agony, flop on the floor kicking and screaming, smear mental mud on someone with whom you compare poorly, dismiss the path of street-beggar and consider God’s forewarning to Cain: “You must master it” (Gen 4:6-7).
How do you attempt to “master” sin?