I read a couple more chapters from Genesis (in the NASB) yesterday. People give Cain a lot of crap for killing his brother, but I saw myself reflected in his words and actions. Maybe I’m just fatalistic.
It is debatable whether or not God had communicated what sacrifices he liked and how to offer them. Cain evidently missed the mark and was angry. That is the first similarity between us. I am angry at God:
for creating me a sexual being and then keeping me from enjoying intimacy by requiring marriage. (What if no one wants to marry me? I guess that means ideally I never have sex.
for creating me a woman–a gift of grace and beauty on earth–and then limiting my usefulness with rules. (I cannot be a pastor or leader in any serious church capacity. My “husband” gets to tell me what to do.)
for labeling anything except heterosexual activity within marriage as sin–worthy of death no less. Oh and have I mentioned stoning children for disobedience? (Someone might say that the Old Testament is different for the New. Sure, but the God is the same, so why give the decree to kill these people in the first place? I love my gay and unmarried friends. They have taught me the most about love and commitment.)
Yes. Cain and I have anger in common.
God talks to Cain saying, “Watch yourself. Don’t sin. You can do this.”
Cain tries to talk to his brother. I imagine it sounded like the rant I just wrote. However Abel responded, Cain obviously didn’t trust him. He killed Abel and was still angry.
Second similarity: I try to talk to the “good guys” too and often I walk away angrier.
angry at their self-righteousness (You’re trying to tell me that God makes sense to you?)
angry because they somehow got it right and pleased God while I failed. (After all, I like sin–scandal of scandals!)
Cain kills Abel and continues on with his day. I think Cain wanted to preserve his life. Hide the fact that he had failed. Perhaps he had been afraid Abel would tattle. I guess he did because God said, “Abel’s blood is speaking to me.” No apology from Cain though. No fear until God said he was driving Cain away from family, home and livelihood. As Cain repeats back to God his curse, he adds, “I will be separated from you, God!” I hear anguish in that–a judgment on himself that God did not impose… However, God gives Cain a “mark” so that no one would kill him. Was God hoping Cain would eventually repent or was keeping him alive without contact with his former life worse than death?
Cain leaves and builds a city and marries. He doesn’t look back. He apparently doesn’t try to seek God again. Instead of wandering (like God told him to), he settles–east (that is away from God).
This is the third similarity: I have tried and tried to believe in God. All I have is disappointment and failure to show for it. I am a sinner and instead of sorrow, I feel anger and resentment. I just want to go out there and show God that being sinful is more fulfilling than godliness. I want to take my sorry life by the horns and make it into something beautiful and useful. I want to be the woman that turns heads on the street. The woman whose bed is delightful and any man is lucky to have–even for a little while. I want to smoke pot, live in hostels and travel from one job to the next .And towards the end of my life I want to buy a miniature cottage by the ocean. I’ll plant roses and have white curtains in my windows (which will always be open). I’ll walk naked to the clothesline and dress. I won’t wear deodorant or shoes and I’ll live on fresh bread, butter and honey. Oh, and I’ll have bees and a friendly cow… I will never wear underclothes and always pin my hair up. I will wear white linen dresses. The birds will come and all who walk past will be at peace. The wind will whisper love to me.
I don’t think Cain meant to be bad, just like I don’t mean to be bad. I think he made a huge mistake, but he took life by the horns and made it work. I think he was disappointed with God. Perhaps like me, he felt he would have to walk with his head bowed for the rest of his life and drown his true self in order to please God–finally.
My name is Cain. I am at another crossroad in my life and must choose where to go. Is there truly hope for me in God? Will he accept me with all my sin? Can I be the joyous creature of my dreams with his blessing? A professor (I strongly disliked) once said, “Free will means that God points our ‘wanter’ in the direction he has chosen.” Darn it all! Theology is confusing! Without shifting responsibility off myself, I’m going to do what I want and believe that God will realign my “wanter” if I get off track!
So much for Cain…
So much for me…
I hope I tickled your brain.