Then the LORD said to Cain, “Where is Abel your brother?” He said, “I do not know; am I my brother’s keeper?” Genesis 4:9
In blogging about something that happened several years ago – my addiction and subsequent disaster – it’s easy to refer to my flaws in past tense only. The problem with this retrospective mindset is that it can easily lead to complacency. I used to struggle, but I’m good now. As I’ve said many times previously though, the drugs weren’t my primary problem. They were but a symptom of my underlying problem, which is that I just naturally do whatever I want. That which I naturally desire though, usually lies in opposition to God’s will. So, in my complacency, I naturally drift back to following my will. If I don’t daily work hard at abandoning my way to follow God’s, I find myself simply returning to my way. It’s not that I consciously oppose God. It’s just that it’s my nature to embrace a subtle defiance, pursuing my will.
Defiance. This was Cain’s flaw as well. Cain grew up knowing God, apparently having intimate conversations with him. He knew he was supposed to bring God offerings, but he gave half-heartedly, keeping the best for himself. When God expressed his displeasure, Cain became angry. God warned him that his anger would destroy him, but Cain indulged in his own nature, refusing to bend to God’s will. With his mind consumed and overthrown by rage, he killed his own brother. Then, when God confronted Cain, he responded with defiance. Am I my brother’s keeper? Finally, when punished, Cain didn’t repent, but rather complained about his harsh sentence. My punishment is greater than I can bear. Cain was a man consumed by his own nature, which placed him in lifelong opposition to God. Unable to bend to God’s will, he chose defiance, and it destroyed him.
This is the problem with my way – it defies God’s will and always leads to misery in the end. I may not be struggling with drug use today, but I still struggle with simply slipping back to Scott’s will, not really realizing that I’m subtly placing myself in opposition to God. So, the question for me every day is – How did I live yesterday? Did I live for God, giving of my time, effort, and money to love and serve those around me? Or did I simply live for myself? I don’t expect to be perfect, and I can find comfort knowing that God always forgives my failures, but I shouldn’t use God’s mercy as an excuse to live a life of defiance, living only for myself. I know from experience – that is a life of profound misery.