Cain Isn’t Abel
“Cain killed his brother, because he wasn’t Abel.” -an unfinished song, 2004
“We must stop killing each other.” – slogan on the back of a t-shirt from 300 Men March
Murder, in the First
Some people are uncomfortable asking God questions, nearly everyone would find it intimidating to be asked a question by God. Cain faced this daunting moment and responded with a question of his own. His question bears great significance for all of humanity, as long as we live on Earth together. We all, like Cain the first born child of a woman on Earth, ask this question at one time or another about our brother, sister, mother, father, neighbor, friend, co-worker, or others. Are we really responsible for others? Should we really care?
Well, Am I my brother’s keeper?
It is the notion of such care for others that has led grandma’s and mother’s to pray for their children and grandchildren for generations. The same motivation led many people in my homeland, the U.S., to gather in public places or places of worship and pray today. Many of the prayers today were for God to send hope, life, and a revival of God like love to every person in the nation. There is a concern though, that the mindset of Cain, has crept into the lives of these who seem faithful to Christ-like teachings. The mind of Cain, or the Religion of Cain as I would call it, seems to feel responsible for others at times while feeling irresponsible for them at other times.
The Religion of Cain
It is with this concern, for the Religion of Cain, I write. My heart has been broken for this nation for some months now. I have prayed many prayers, shed many tears, and had many conversations. My season of prayer and concern began with a vision in October of 2014. I cannot go into all the details of that vision here but I can say that God has a certain desire for this nation and that many people who call on his name have a very different desire (though some do not even know that is the case). What has happened to our nation? I had that very thought as I took in the scene recently: Freddie Gray is deceased, 6 policemen have been charged, and Baltimore is in turmoil. Of course, we were all reminded that Ferguson, Missouri and New York City have seen troubles of the same kind in recent months.
My Facebook feed was flooded with two streams from many of the Christians and Pastors I know, in the days following the first protest in Baltimore and the earthquake. In one stream there were calls for people to pray (mostly with a very apocalyptic tone) and in the other stream there were images blasting people for their race and culture (with a very pro-police tone). This paradox, found on Facebook, embodies the Religion of Cain that concerns me so much. If we are indeed are our brother’s keeper, and I believe the consistent message throughout the scriptures is that we are, then we must do more than just pray for others. We must actually love them. We have to care, deeply and do something because we care.
The story of Cain and Abel is deeper than the few verses in Genesis 4 might indicate in a glancing read. However, it is clear that Abel pleased God with his worship and Cain did not. Cain became angry when he saw Abel’s worship was more accepted by God. God questioned Cain for having this anger in an effort to help Cain change his path. Cain chose to harbor anger for another, disregard care for another, and disregard what pleased God. In the end, such choices led Cain committing murder. How does this relate to America today? How does it correspond to the church in America and the national day of prayer?
Able to Serve
The Religion of Cain was driven by an agenda to please God, in Cain’s own way. It was also driven by anger and hatred for others, namely his brother Abel. The death nail, literally, for his religion was that it did not show any care for others. In Cain’s religion, the death of those he opposed was justice. If that sounds at all familiar to the reader, you may have been online reading conservative news reports about the current events in the United States recently. It is time the people who are most known for their conservative values, those who claim to be Christians, look more like the Jesus they claim to follow.
Those who are Jesus followers, should be able to serve and love just like he did. Abel, almost 4000 years prior to Jesus showed humans a small example. He put what pleased God first and then worried about everything else, it would appear. God saw Abel’s heart it seems. He saw Cain’s to I would have to presume. Abel was capable to serve God and others because he was not intent on fulfilling his own agenda first. Abel’s worship pleased God. Cain’s did not. Cain refused to change. Abel’s blood cried the ground (Gen. 4:10). So does Freddie Gray’s, andMartin Luther King Jr.’s, and Jeffrey Kocab’s, , and David Curtis’s, and the 147 people brutally murdered in Kenya, and the blood of Jesus. We are our brother’s keeper. We are to pray, love, give, and serve others so they may come to see just how good our God is to them.
So, America let’s pray today May 8th, 2015. It is not the National Day of Prayer. It’s my birthday today. I am 39 now. Join me please in praying for God to turn our hearts back from this cold, dark, hard place we have wandered into presently, Join me even if you do not believe in God (It’s my birthday wish, c’mon). Join me, if you are a Christ follower, in repenting of your own sin and asking God to heal our land. I believe he will and I know that he desires to do so right now. Let’s make every day a National Day of Prayer and a National Day of Action.
“You can’t live a perfect day without doing something for someone
who will never be able to repay you. “– John Wooden