Adam slept with Eve his wife. She conceived and had Cain. She said, “I’ve gotten a man, with God’s help!”
Then she had another baby, Abel. Abel was a herdsman and Cain a farmer.
Time passed. Cain brought an offering to God from the produce of his farm. Abel also brought an offering, but from the firstborn animals of his herd, choice cuts of meat. God liked Abel and his offering, but Cain and his offering didn’t get his approval. Cain lost his temper and went into a sulk.
God spoke to Cain: “Why this tantrum? Why the sulking? If you do well, won’t you be accepted? And if you don’t do well, sin is lying in wait for you, ready to pounce; it’s out to get you, you’ve got to master it.”
Cain had words with his brother. They were out in the field; Cain came at Abel his brother and killed him.
God said to Cain, “Where is Abel your brother?”
He said, “How should I know? Am I his babysitter?”
God said, “What have you done! The voice of your brother’s blood is calling to me from the ground. From now on you’ll get nothing but curses from this ground; you’ll be driven from this ground that has opened its arms to receive the blood of your murdered brother. You’ll farm this ground, but it will no longer give you its best. You’ll be a homeless wanderer on Earth.”
Cain said to God, “My punishment is too much. I can’t take it! You’ve thrown me off the land and I can never again face you. I’m a homeless wanderer on Earth and whoever finds me will kill me.”
God told him, “No. Anyone who kills Cain will pay for it seven times over.” God put a mark on Cain to protect him so that no one who met him would kill him.
Cain left the presence of God and lived in No-Man’s-Land, east of Eden. (The Message)
Despite being brothers, Cain and Abel couldn’t have been any more different.
Abel became a shepherd. He took the absolute best of his flock and made it an offering, with the intent of giving God an appropriate gift. The Lord was pleased and approved of Abel’s actions because they demonstrated a good attitude and a sensitive heart. Abel’s belief and practice worked together.
Cain became a farmer. He cobbled together some of the leftovers from his vegetable harvest and gave them a nonchalant toss to God. The Lord did not look favorably on Cain’s actions because they evidenced a bad attitude and a hard heart. As a result, Cain became sullen, upset, and angry. His emotions reflected his actions. Cain didn’t listen to God. Instead, he let hate takeover and killed his brother.
God sets faithful people apart to demonstrate love and to be the hope of the world. God’s people reflect their divine image when lives are changed for the better; hatreds are overcome; failures are forgiven; grace melts hard hearts; selfishness is diminished; and compassion grows into blessing others – not hating them.
Humanity was created for love, not hate.
We know that we have transferred from death to life, because we love the brothers and sisters. The person who does not love remains in death. (1 John 3:14, CEB)
Love is the distinguishing mark of the spiritual person and the follower of Christ. The person with hate has so many barnacles built up on their underside that they cannot move through the water of life with any joy or fulfillment. What’s more, they drag down the rest of the fleet that seeks to move in concert together in love.
Everyone who hates a brother or sister is a murderer, and you know that no murderers have eternal life in them. (1 John 3:15, NCV)
Yes, we ought to love – which means we also should not put up with hate. You and I are under no obligation whatsoever to listen to hateful speech and allow hateful actions. That’s because people are meant to be a reflection of God’s loving and healing acceptance of people.
Love doesn’t let others spew hate in front of you, no matter who they are. Maybe you could respond to hateful words by saying, “Sounds to me like you need to let God pressure-wash some barnacles off your heart.”
If someone chronically complains to you, and there is never any love behind what they say, then there is hate behind it. In such a case, the person needs deliverance from the Evil One.
Every institution and organization on God’s good earth must have a zero-tolerance policy toward hate, and a 100% commitment to love.
God has not called us to hate anyone, but to love. And God’s people are only the hope of the world when they love others.
The world will know that there is a God in heaven, and a Christ in the church, when people within local congregations love one another, when particular Christian denominations go out of their way to bless others, and when the love of Jesus compels them to drip grace on the most unlovely of people. Indeed, they will know we are Christians by our love.
Cain is Exhibit A of modeling the way of hatred and death. He separated himself from his brother, Abel, in every way possible – relationally, emotionally, mentally, and finally, physically through outright killing of the body.
The message from Holy Scripture is: Do not be like Cain. Be like Abel. Love others. Do not hate them. Live for others. Die to self. Avoid violent speech and actions. Don’t be a murderer.
Lord Jesus Christ, through your death on the cross you disarmed the powers of evil. Help us, we pray you, to enter into your victory and to stand in your authority against all evil. Send forth your light and your truth. Bring to light the deeds of darkness and let plans of violence and murder be revealed. By the power of your Holy Spirit, convict those who have allowed their minds to be dominated by evil. Lead them to repentance so that they may receive new life and rejoice in your forgiving love. Amen.