(Today’s reading is from Genesis 4 – if you’d like to take part in this Lenten journey, you can learn more about the details at http://thepeopleschurch.com/genesis-in-40-days )
I love my brother, Joe. He’s five and a little less than six years younger than me. He’s my own sibling and he is far cooler, better looking, and smoother than I’ll ever dream of being. He does interesting things, with interesting people, in interesting places. I’ll admit, there are a few times I’ve been jealous of my brother but without exaggeration, I am much prouder of who he is than I ever am envious.
What makes a good sibling rivalry? The kind of competition that makes both siblings better and pushes one another onto becoming better men and women. How can you experience that kind of relationship without it turning into jealousy, anger, and envy?
Today’s passage is the worst of possible sibling relationships. Cain can’t stand that his younger brother Abel does something well. He can’t help but compare himself to his brother and in so doing he finds himself depressed, angry, and vengeful. Abel’s death comes so suddenly (v 8) without any words ever uttered in the chapter by Abel himself. Cain certainly speaks. Even though he is shown mercy by God in his punishment, he still begs God for more. There is never a sense of remorse for his brother’s death.
Why do we treat our brothers and sisters with such disregard, always focused on our wants, needs, and desires? Can we be happy for our siblings and celebrate when they celebrate? I can’t think of many sadder passages in the Bible.