Today’s post is a guest post from Pastor Jim Buckman. Pastor Buckman serves as an urban missionary in New Jersey and is the author of iPray. His latest project is ahouseofprayer.net – an online web app to help you find a church to pray with you. You can also download the iPrayU app on your iPhone or Android.
One of the most frustrating storms in life is watching God’s patience towards your enemies. In our lives we will have those who wrong us; this happens to everyone. But what can be especially hard on our faith is when we see God showing mercy and offering forgiveness to those who have wronged us; especially when they have not made amends with us.
God loves all of His children; even the ones who don’t love others; even the ones who don’t love Him. God so loved the entire world that He gave His only begotten Son to die on a cross for us (see John 3:16). And the truth is that our perspective of the truth is just that- our perspective. But because God loves all of His children, we see in Scripture that He seeks out the wayward sheep and He welcomes back the Prodigal Son.
The story of Cain and Able illustrates this very well and is full of life application lessons for us today:
God determines what He finds acceptable
And the Lord had regard for Abel and his offering, but for Cain and his offering he had no regard. So Cain was very angry, and his face fell.” (Genesis 4:4-5 ESV)
The world is full of opinions about what is right and wrong. The world’s opinion changes constantly, but God is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow; in Him there is no shadow or turning. One thing that is hard for us to hear is that God would not find my offering on Sunday acceptable. Jesus told us that we should make things right with others before we bring our offering on Sunday; this is because God desires mercy not sacrifice. One of the worst things we can do to our faith is to start “just going through the motions”.
God cares for us enough to help us out of our sin
The Lord said to Cain, “Why are you angry, and why has your face fallen? If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door. Its desire is for you, but you must rule over it.” (Genesis 4:6-7 ESV)
He does not desire to lead us into temptation; but to deliver us from evil. God saw the sin of Cain’s parents and He came to them; God sees the sinful thoughts boiling up within Cain so He comes to Cain. God wants to come to you through His word. The word of God is the sword of the Spirit, it is the weapon we have been given to fight the spiritual battles of our lives. When Jesus was tempted by the devil, Jesus used the Word of God to drive the devil away. God’s word is meant to be the lamp unto our feet and the light unto our path. God’s word will lead us into paths of righteousness, for His names’ sake.
We don’t raise our value in God’s eyes, by tearing down others
Cain spoke to Abel his brother. And when they were in the field, Cain rose up against his brother Abel and killed him. (Genesis 4:8 ESV)
When someone else does a better job than we did; we need to congratulate them. When someone else is recognized for their performance, we need to be happy for them. Instead of feeling bad; we should look at the example of success that has been placed right before our eyes and ask, “What can I learn?”
Only the shed blood of Jesus cries out louder to the Father
And the Lord said, “What have you done? The voice of your brother’s blood is crying to me from the ground. (Genesis 4:10 ESV)
We all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. Our sins today cry out just as loud as Cain’s sin. But thanks be to God, our sins have been paid for and our souls have been purchased by Christ at Calvary. When you are reminded of a past sin; think on this- He who knows all things has chosen to remember your sins no more.
Vengeance belongs to the Lord
Then the Lord, “… If anyone kills Cain, vengeance shall be taken on him sevenfold.” And the Lord put a mark on Cain, lest any who found him should attack him. (Genesis 4:15 ESV)
One of the most frustrating storms in life is watching God’s patience towards your enemies. If you find yourself in this situation; or if you know someone in this situation, I want to encourage you to turn to prayer. Prayer is a tremendous blessing that God has given us for making it through the storms of life. Or maybe you know someone who has been wronged and there appears to be no justice for them; you can pray for them.
Why don’t you take a moment right now and ask God to help you let go of the hurts that others have caused? You can’t be in a better place, than in the hands of your Father.