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Cain and Abel

(Genesis 4:1-16)

Lesson 3 -- third quarter 1999
June 20, 1999

by Mark Roth
© Copyright 1999, Christian Light Publications

Who does not want acceptance?

The teenager that opts for rebellion, turns against the values of his parents and rejects his long-time friends still yearns to be accepted by those he has turned against. He resents the rejection, blaming people for not accepting him "just as I am."

The politician who mocks the values of the populace, betrays the trust of her supporters and repeatedly lies to one and all still hankers for poll results showing high approval ratings. She insists that any negative polls result only from the allegations, attacks and investigations of her political opponents.

But who wants to face their personal accountability in the lack of acceptance they may experience?

Not the teenager above; not the politician either. The fact is, few humans in the throes of real or perceived rejection can objectively deal with their own contribution to such rejection. Including me. And likely, including you.

That means I, and you, and the teenager, and the politician, and everyone, need to consider what God had to say to Cain in the first part of today's lesson. (Remember, Cain was angry and downcast in the face of rejection.)

"Why art thou wroth? and why is thy countenance fallen?" I do not believe God was with these questions encouraging Cain to look for external answers. I believe God wanted Cain to look inwardly, reflecting on what he was doing or had done to make him so boiling angry, to make him so tremendously discouraged. My first inclination is to blame others for my tempers and my downers. How about you? God wants us to consider the real reasons for the reactions and feelings we have. Just like He wanted Cain to consider.

"If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted?" In other words, "Cain, don't blame others for your rejection! If you want to be accepted, do what is right." That being the case, how absurd to be angry with others! How unreasonable to say we are depressed because others don't like us...after all, they are rejecting us. We must understand also, of course, that doing well does not guarantee a lack of further rejection by people. But like 1 Peter 3:17 says, "It is better...that ye suffer for well doing, than for evil doing." So, what might then keep us from taking so elementary a step as accepting personal responsibility in these matters? Well....

"And if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door." By admitting the problem lies in me, I accept another great responsibility upon myself: repentance. To many, that is just too great a complication. Because repentance does not stop with saying, "Yes, I did wrong." It continues with, "I am sorry; please forgive me." And moves on to, "I will turn my back on such behavior." And then does it.

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