Fixing All the Wrong Things
Genesis 4:8 When they were in the field, Cain rose up against his brother Abel and killed him.
For every college wrestling meet, we had to weigh-in. As everyone tried to wrestle at the lightest possible weight class, we were always struggling to make weight. Some unscrupulous young men, instead of losing the weight, would try to manipulate the scale with clever tricks. Why change my weight when I can just change the measurement?
We often do this in life. Instead of addressing the actual problem, we try to make easier, cosmetic changes to assuage our conscience or self-esteem. If we are overweight, we may change our clothes or hair instead of eating right. If we struggle with substance abuse, we may think a change in job or geography will help. If we struggle with anger, we may expect those around us to stop making us angry.
In today’s passage, God told Cain that He was unsatisfied with his sacrifice but that He accepted (his brother) Able’s sacrifice. I do not understand exactly how Cain displeased God, but the displeasure created friction between Cain and God and between Cain and Able. Cain, in his discomfort, did not address the actual problem – his relationship with God. Instead, he attempted fix his problem by murdering his brother. This further distanced him from God, making his situation even worse.
What Cain should have done is what I must continuously do. I must daily, pursue my relationship with God, denying self and following Him. When I find myself struggling, I need to take that struggle to God, asking Him what I should do. I must ask for His help and then obey, addressing the problem instead of trying to fix all the wrong things.
We can, like Cain, refuse to deal with the real issue, compounding our misery, or, we can address the actual problem and embrace the love, joy and peace in which we were meant to live.