We do not know exactly why Abel and his offering were accepted, while Cain and his offering were not. Did Cain displease God in some way? Was God testing him? Or was Abel just an extraordinarily holy man? We may never know.
But one thing we do know. God loved Cain. Just listen to how he speaks to Cain. “Why are you so resentful and crestfallen?…Sin is a demon lurking at the door…yet you can be his master?
These are not the words of an indifferent or looking down on Cain with contempt. They are the words of a God who is personally involved in Cain’s life and who wants to see him succeed. They are the words of a devoted parent who is not put off by his child’s gloominess, but sees the way ahead and gives him a reality check that urges him toward goodness and maturity.
Cain may have felt alienated, but God told him that he could choose what to do with those feelings. God wanted him to “do well”, to put aside his dejection and master his envy and frustration. Even after Cain had killed his brother, God did not condemn him. No, he protected him and kept an open door for Cain to make a fresh start.
God looks at you the same way. It may sound surprising, but he does not stop reaching out when you are caught in resentment, envy, or any other sin, even mortal sin. He points out where you could be, how you can grow if you take hold of his grace to overcome sin. Just as God gave Cain a second chance, he gives each of us countless opportunities to try again.
We all know the feeling of sin “lurking at the door”. But how comforting it is to know that Christ lives in us. He is there to give you strength to resist sin. He is there to remind you that you can master any temptation.
So today thank the Lord for cheering you on and giving you another chance. By his grace, you can do the right thing. You can reject sin. And you can hold your head high.
-word among us