S208P11 – A new family: a new love

1 Jn. 3:10‭-‬12

In this the children of God and the children of the devil are manifest: Whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is he who does not love his brother. For this is the message that you heard from the beginning, that we should love one another, not as Cain who was of the wicked one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his works were evil and his brother’s righteous.

They started playing the sport together, a family pastime that they took a little more seriously than most.  Equal in ambition but unequal in ability, one brother excelled while the other simply did well.  Through middle school and high school, people started to notice who had a chance to take the game further than club play.  The better player’s talent was nurtured, attention and support rewarding him for his good work.  His brother wanted the dream as much as he did, but only one had a shot at it.  He could be a good brother and show the same encouragement and excitement as everyone else, or he could sit in bitterness and jealousy cursing his brother’s fortunes. 

The story of Cain and Abel is a cautionary tale.  God is gracious and rewards those who honor him.  Obedience breeds favor, and favor brings blessings.  We love this part of God’s character when the blessings come our way, when our obedience is rewarded.  We might not love it so much when our disobedience brings real consequences.  It can be difficult to see our brothers and sisters experience prosperity while we experience less.  Like Cain, we can take our disappointment in ourselves and our anger at God over our circumstances and turn them to hatred toward those who are experiencing favor.  This hatred toward a fellow child of God is spiritually no different than what Cain did to Abel.

It is not easy, but if we love our brothers and sisters, and if we love the Lord’s ways, we can suffer the consequences of our disobedience without it changing our feelings toward God or the brethren.  It always should warm our hearts when the children of God experience his blessing.  We should revel in the obedience of the saints even when we are not quite there.  Had Cain loved his brother and the Lord, his circumstance would have led to life-giving change instead of death.  Father, keep us obedient above all, and help us celebrate the blessings of the brethren even when we have placed ourselves far from your favor.