Read: Genesis 4: 1-15
“You must try hard and become first.” This is a common advice given to children by parents and teachers in order to motivate them to do their best. But, this seemingly innocent message contains a very poisonous seed of competition. In the struggle to become the first, very often one tends to forget that the others are one’s brothers and that they too have the right to live, to grow and to develop their abilities.
We can see this spirit of competition in all areas of life. From the child who tries to become first in the class to the super powers who are trying to dominate the world, people are involved in a struggle to become first. In this struggle, our own fellow men are often published aside, oppressed and even destroyed.
The tendency to become “first” by dominating and destroying others is as old as humanity. The story of “Cain and Abel” depicts this vividly. Brother rejects brothers. Competition leads to violence and murder. The “strong” destroys the “weak”. Cain, in the process of assuring himself and dominating the world, rejects everyone including God.
Cain’s action was a sin. But the beginning of sin was not in Cain but in Adam who tried to become God. Adam’s sin was in his heart while Cain’s sin was the acting out of that rejection. So, ultimately sin is the rejection of God. Bible teaches that this is the root cause of evil in the world.
“Cain and Abel” is not just the story of oppression of the weak by the strong. It is also the story of Divine Justice and mercy. The voice of God descends upon Cain like thunder and demands an account of his action. Though Abel was not able to withstand Cain, God avenged for Abel’s innocent blood. This story presents God as one who sides with the weak and the innocent. God cursed Cain but still protected his life. He expelled Adam and Eve from the Paradise but promised them a Saviour. All these would reveal that God wants the repentance rather than the destruction of the sinner.
The story of “Cain and Abel” teaches us that we are all brothers and sisters and that everyone is responsible for the other. On the other hand, if anyone uses his abilities to destroy the other, he will be haunted by the relentless question, “where is your brother?”