You know, I feel kind of sorry for Cain. He just wanted God to like him. He killed Abel because he was jealous for God’s acceptance, but doing that just increased the distance between him and God. Bible study groups and such tend to focus on saying that he didn’t have the right attitude, but God was clear about where he stands when he gave Cain his mark. He didn’t want Cain to end up like that. He kicked him out because he had to.
Cain’s just a fool, and I think that at least I, if nobody else, have similar feelings to Cain. A lot of times, I think that I’m trying properly, but other people think that my attitude isn’t good or that I lack character. They might be right. But it’s frustrating, upsetting, and angering for me when I think that I hauled major effort and someone looks at the results and sees laziness or lack of consideration. Personally, I don’t think that I have an instinct for doing the right thing, and whenever I see someone being considerate, I mentally kick myself (“Why didn’t I see that this needed doing?”) and I’m jealous because that’s the kind of person that I wish I were.
That doesn’t justify Cain displacing his frustration onto Abel. But when we talk about him, we shouldn’t try to distance ourselves from him, by making the lesson about having the right attitude or about not being haters. Abel’s a good person but the story isn’t about him. The lesson should be that we’re just like Cain, or at least I am, and Cain is exactly why y’all need Jesus… … OK but seriously, not killing people doesn’t mean that we’re any better and the purpose of grace is for the sake of people exactly like Cain, people who want to please God but can’t. There, but for the grace of God, go I.