It may not surprise you that Americans are rapidly exiting the Christian faith. For every individual who becomes a believer, four leave the church. One source claims that over the next 30 years, one million people per year will choose not to be affiliated with any kind of Christianity. Many are young people raised in Christian families who will “deconvert” later in life.
Cain’s “deconversion” in today’s reading is tragically similar. Cain knew the Lord. He knew he should worship God. When his initial offering was rejected, God Himself alerted Cain about the consequences of his next decision. He needed to learn from his failure and accept God’s second chance rather than “doubling down” on sin. Unfortunately, Cain didn’t heed God’s admonition.
God’s warning is an incredible example of His mercy (vv. 6–7). If Cain confessed and repented of what he’d done wrong with his first offering (we don’t know exactly what that was), and did “what is right,” God would accept it just as He had accepted Abel’s offering. But the sin of anger was “crouching” at the door. If only Cain could resist temptation and accept God’s loving rebuke, his close relationship with the Lord could continue.
Tragically, Cain failed to learn his lesson. Instead, his anger remained hot and he committed premeditated murder. Even worse, when God questioned him, he responded, “Am I my brother’s keeper?” (v. 9). This completed his failure to value life as God does and to love as God loves. Despite Cain’s lack of repentance, God mitigated his just punishment with a merciful mark that would preserve his life (v. 15). Cain chose self over God when he made his choices. His anger helped blind him to his perilous spiritual situation, and he rejected the truth in God’s rebuke.
>> Cain didn’t learn his lesson, but we can! What sins are “crouching at your door,” trying to gain mastery over you? Make the wise choice, call for the Lord’s help, and win the battle!
Righteous God, thank You for the conscience You have given us that checks us when we sin. Help us turn to You when we face temptation and fight sinful habits. You have given us the freedom to say no to sin.