Cain and a pile of horse crap

Matthew 5:21-24

21″You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘Do not murder,[a] and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.’ 22But I tell you that anyone who is angry with his brother[b]will be subject to judgment. Again, anyone who says to his brother, ‘Raca,[c]’ is answerable to the Sanhedrin. But anyone who says, ‘You fool!’ will be in danger of the fire of hell.

23″Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, 24leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to your brother; then come and offer your gift.

I have been doing a considerable amount of thinking about this. I know I have been angry with my brother. I know my brother may have something against me. I guess that means I am subject to judgment and the things I long to offer God need to be put on pause. I wonder if God puts our relationship on pause until things are squared away between me and my brother. Weather or not that is true, I do indeed feel like I am in a life “pause”. And it sucks. I am fighting with everything in me to move forward but I can’t.

Genesis 4:1-7

1 Adam [a] lay with his wife Eve, and she became pregnant and gave birth to Cain. [b] She said, “With the help of the LORD I have brought forth [c] a man.” 2 Later she gave birth to his brother Abel.
Now Abel kept flocks, and Cain worked the soil. 3 In the course of time Cain brought some of the fruits of the soil as an offering to the LORD. 4 But Abel brought fat portions from some of the firstborn of his flock. The LORD looked with favor on Abel and his offering, 5 but on Cain and his offering he did not look with favor. So Cain was very angry, and his face was downcast.

6 Then the LORD said to Cain, “Why are you angry? Why is your face downcast? 7 If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must master it.”

Way back, way-way back ever since the days I learned the  “Jesus loves me this I know” song, I was taught this passage was  a  right offering to God.  The sunday school teacher would say, “God wants your first, God wants your best and He won’t accept anything less.” I would think as a little kid,  “That is horse crap.”  As I got older and more mature in the  faith, the pastor would say, “God didn’t accept Cains sacrifice because God demanded a blood sacrifice and Cains agriculture just wouldn’t  do.” I would sit back and think, “Thats horse crap.”

The truth is sometimes my first isn’t my best, and  isn’t  God more pleased with the heart of the giver, not the  gift the giver gives? What if the Garden wasn’t about Able outperforming his brother and winning Gods attention. What if this whole dramatic scene wasn’t about a blood sacrifice? What if it was simply Gods way of trying to reunite two fighting brothers?

If we were to put the story of Cain and Able in Matthew 5, it would sound like this…

Matthew 5:22-24/Genesis 4

But I tell you Cain, you are angry with your brother Able and that subjects you to judgement. Sin is crouching at your door and it desires to have you, but you must master it.
“Therefore, I see the gift you are offering, leave your gift there in front of the altar.  First go and be reconciled to your brother; then come and offer your gift. If you do the right thing wont you be accepted?

What if God didn’t accept Cains offering, not because it wasn’t the first, or because it wasn’t a blood sacrifice, but because Cain wasn’t right with his brother Able. It would kind of put a brand  new spin on the whole thing. I ask God for ideas, ways, things to do to be reconciled to my brother. Because until I do my life is on pause,  I guess my acceptance is on pause, my relationship with God is on pause. The only way out of this pause is Murder, or Reconciliation. I choose reconciliation. How about you? Who knows, this too could just be a bunch of horse crap.

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  1. “What if God didn’t accept Cains offering, not because it wasn’t the first, or because it wasn’t a blood sacrifice, but because Cain wasn’t right with his brother Able.”

    His heart not being “right” with Abel was definately part of it (if you hate your brother, you are guilty of murder), but there’s another VERY important piece that you’re ignoring. His heart also had to be right with God-hence the “first fruits” and the “blood sacrifice.” Without giving your life over to God, and acknowledging the incredible price that had to be paid for sin, your relationship with God will be to cavelier, to put it lightly. If you think that blood sacrifice is horsecrap, do you think that God’s son actually coming to die for you (it’s incredible if you think about it) is horsecrap as well? Do you think that you can “fix” the problem all by yourself by simply loving your brother? You can’t. You need the blood sacrifice. After all, you’re a murderer, just like Cain was long before he killed Abel.

  2. Kevin…This is such an interesting perspective on these passages. I’ve never thought of it like that. I think what you said was profound. I know that broken relationships with siblings do put a pause…it wasn’t until me and my sister were reconciled that God took me to where I am now.

    Also…”The truth is sometimes my first isn’t my best, and isn’t God more pleased with the heart of the giver, not the gift the giver gives?”
    God really is this simple. His concern has always been our hearts and He brands them with love. “If I have not love, I have nothing.”

    Thanks PK 🙂

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