The Cain Syndrome
Cain was the eldest son to Adam and Eve and the brother of Abel. He, like everyone else, was created in the image of God. The Bible also describes him as a farmer who worked the soil. He was a normal, hard working sort of person until a sequence of events led him to his eventual downfall. There was something wrong within the heart of the man which probably did not surface until one day, he decided to bring an offering to God. He started off with a good intention wanting to serve God but ended up killing his own brother and became a fugitive, hiding from God and running away from men. The sad, sad story of Cain was a true story which serves as a lesson to all of us. We can, by the grace of God, avoid the Cain syndrome.
Let us first re-cap what happened: One day, Cain and Abel approached God by offering Him sacrifices. The offering that Abel brought to God, taken from the firstborn of his flock and of their fat, was acceptable to God. However, the offering that Cain brought, being the fruit of the ground, did not please God. Because God did not look upon Cain’s offering with favour, he became very angry and being unable to master his anger and resentment, Cain eventually killed his own brother Abel.
Now, let’s take a closer look at some of the issues surrounding Cain’s life.
1. He was half-hearted towards God
Cain wasn’t an atheist. He knew God, but the problem was he never took the time to cultivate his relationship with his heavenly Father. He never diligently sought after God’s heart and found out what God expected of him. The fact that he brought the wrong type of sacrifice to God spoke volumes about the ignorance of the man when it comes to the things of God.
2. He walked in assumption
Like a lot of people today, Cain took actions out of assumption instead of by faith, as pointed out in my earlier article: A Better Sacrifice
He did things that he thought was right in his own eyes but it wasn’t right in the eyes of God. Sadly, many people today minister out of assumption by cooking things up out of their own minds, conjuring things up that are not in line with the voice of God. In fact, we can all fall into this trap at times if we do not spend time to get to know God and His ways.
3. He did not follow the blueprint
Recently, I got into a discussion with certain contractor who attempts to substitute an overseas product that has been specified with some cheaper products he can source locally.
Like many people today who tamper with the architectural specifications to suit themselves, Cain, being a farmer, offered God some fruit from his own backyard. Instead of obtaining the product from his brother’s flock, Cain wanted to keep everything within his control. Cain’s offering was convenient for him and suited him perfectly but it didn’t suit God.
4. He was the father of religion
If Cain was alive today, he would probably become the founder of a religious cult. Behind almost every religion, there is an element of “good intention” within those who practice it. Religion is basically man’s attempt to approach God in his own ways, bypassing the blood of Jesus Christ to which Abel’s offering testifies.
5. He was mastered by his own sins
God said to Cain: “Why are you angry? And why has your countenance fallen? If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin lies at the door. And its desire is for you, but you should rule over it.” (Genesis 4:6-7)
Cain became very angry and dejected when he realised that his offering wasn’t acceptable to God. Every time we fail to listen and obey God’s instructions, we are opening the door to sin. God said to Cain that he must master sin and his anger. That means we can indeed make the decision to stop continuing with sin, that we can keep our anger and frustration under control. If we fail to rule over sin, sin will rule over us.
6. Cain was easily offended
Sometimes, as in Cain’s case, people get very angry when they are being told that they are walking the wrong way. Instead of turning back, they keep on going because they are offended by the corrective words. They feel aggrieved, hurt and frustrated because they feel their actions have not been approved or appreciated by others.
God tried to correct Cain, but instead of giving heed to the voice of God, the man was offended and became very angry.
7. He hated his brother
And Cain said to his brother, Let us go out to the field. And when they were in the field, Cain rose up against Abel his brother and killed him.
And the Lord said to Cain, Where is Abel your brother? And he said, I do not know. Am I my brother’s keeper? (Genesis 4:8-9, Amplified Bible)
Cain was unwilling to master his anger and continued to nurture his hurt and offence. In time, he turned on his own brother and plotted his downfall by killing him. It wasn’t a sudden rush of blood but a premeditated attempt of murder because Cain said to Abel, “Let’s go out to the field.” Evil has taken root in Cain’s heart and he resented his brother, thinking Abel was the cause to all his problems and frustrations.
8. He ran away from God
And He said, “What have you done? The voice of your brother’s blood cries out to Me from the ground. So now you are cursed from the earth, which has opened its mouth to receive your brother’s blood from your hand. When you till the ground, it shall no longer yield its strength to you. A fugitive and a vagabond you shall be on the earth.”
And Cain said to the LORD, “My punishment is greater than I can bear! Surely You have driven me out this day from the face of the ground; I shall be hidden from Your face; I shall be a fugitive and a vagabond on the earth, and it will happen that anyone who finds me will kill me.”
And the LORD said to him, “Therefore, whoever kills Cain, vengeance shall be taken on him sevenfold.” And the LORD set a mark on Cain, lest anyone finding him should kill him. (Genesis 4:10-15)
After the murder of Abel, the Bible says that Cain became a fugitive and a castaway. He basically brought about the curse upon himself by his own evil deeds. Not only was he trying to hide from God’s presence, he was running away from man and wandered restlessly on the earth. He thought that, by killing his brother, he would cut out his voice for good. But wherever he went, every corner he turned, he could hear the voice of Abel’s blood crying out from the ground.
Even then, God still preserved Cain’s life and protected him by giving him a mark, in the hope that the prophetic message of the blood of Abel would one day awaken him.
By faith Abel offered to God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, through which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts; and through it he being dead still speaks. (Hebrews 11:4)
You can choose another path
So there you have it: a man who was made in the image of God eventually became a murderer and an exile running away from his crimes. It all stemmed from Cain’s half-hearted, presumptuous approach to God, coupled with the unwillingness to master his anger and feeling of offence. At each point of his downward spiral, however, Cain could have come to his senses and stop the rot by giving heed to the voice of God.
If by any chance you feel you are falling into the Cain syndrome, the good news is that you can get out of that self-destruct route by choosing another destiny.
Jesus Christ is the entrance point and the doorway to a new life, and through Him you can access to the Kingdom of God. Sin and death will no longer rule over you if you will put your faith in the One who had conquered sin and death.