11 For this is the message that you have heard from the beginning, that we should love one another. 12 We should not be like Cain, who was of the evil one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his own deeds were evil and his brother's righteous.
Obviously, we should not be like Cain.
For those of you who haven’t heard of Cain and Abel, way back in Genesis 4, they are the first two sons of Adam and Eve. Long story short: Cain is jealous of Abel because God is pleased with Abel and not with Cain, and so he kills him.
I don’t think any of us wants to be a murderer, so it’s easy to write off Cain as an extreme example, until we remember something Jesus said from one of his most famous sermons, given on a mount.
“You have heard that it was said to those of old, “You shall not murder; and whoever murders will be liable to judgment. But I say to you that everybody who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment.” Matthew 5:21-22
That verse makes things a little more relevant for most of us. When I think about how many times I’ve murdered my brother, the answer is zero, but when I think about how many times I’ve been jealous of or angry with my brother or sister for doing something better than me? Countless.
We walk this funny line as Christians, this in-between stage of the world. We see things that non-believers don’t see at times, like our own sin, our own jealousy. We see the Cain in ourselves, the jealous one who wants to be the best, and sins against his brother out of anger when he is found lacking.
And at the same time that we see the sin in the action, we understand why it’s wrong, and we realize why we don’t want to do it. We walk this line of seeing our sin, and dying to escape it.
John tells us that the way to fight that sin is to love God, and love people, just like he’s been telling us from the beginning, and that no five step program for beating anger will have the power to defeat sin like love for God will.
I pray that today we would see and repent of our own anger and jealousy. Would we bring our envy to God, and would he turn it into love for the same brother or sister that we sinned against. Would this process bring us to even greater love and praise for God.