Don’t Be Like Cain

1 John 3:11-12 ESV

“For this is the message that you have heard from the beginning, that we should love one another. 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.”

There are many ways to kill another person, and I don’t mean physically. One can kill other people with unkind and cutting remarks intended to hurt them. One can kill others’ hearts with looks of hate in one’s eyes or with lustful looks in one’s eyes toward another in front of one’s spouse. One can murder another in his heart via sinning against him deliberately with the full intention to hurt the other person and with no heart or compassion.

And some people indeed do intentionally hurt others just because they are jealous of them, and/or because they resent their walks of faith in the Lord Jesus, and because they themselves are steeped in sin. I mean, that is why Jesus’ persecutors treated him badly and then eventually had him put to death. He was an offense to them because of his righteousness and holiness and because of the love that he showed to the people.

They also hated Jesus because he told them the truth about their sins, and he told them the consequences of their sins if they did not repent. For Jesus’ gospel message was not this “feel good” message many people are giving out today. He said if we are going to come after him that we must deny self and take up our cross daily (daily die to sin and to self) and follow (obey) him. And then he let us know that if we choose self over him that it will not end well for us, that we will not have eternal life with him (Luke 9:23-26).

And if that is the gospel message that you are giving out to the people, you are going to be hated like he was hated, and you will have people who will attempt to murder you in your heart, too. You will be an offense to them because of your walk with the Lord and because of the truth that you stand on and because that is not the life they want for themselves, although many will profess faith in Jesus Christ and put on a show of righteousness.

1 John 3:13-15 ESV

“Do not be surprised, brothers, that the world hates you. We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brothers. Whoever does not love abides in death. Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him.”

But this is not to surprise us if we are hated and mistreated for the sake of righteousness. It doesn’t make it less painful knowing that this is a possibility, though. We are still human. We bleed. We get hurt. For when we give our hearts to other people in acts of love and compassion toward them, only to have them turn right around and stab us in the heart emotionally, it hurts because we are feeling people, and because we do care about people.

And there are many people out there, even many of them professing faith in Jesus Christ, who are steeped in sin, and so some of them do attack and mistreat and abuse those who are walking in faithfulness to the Lord Jesus, especially if the faithful are ones who are sharing the gospel and confronting sin and calling people to repentance and to obedience to the Lord. Satan will hate them the most and thus so will his servants and messengers.

It is especially grievous in a marriage relationship if one person is following the Lord Jesus wholeheartedly and if the other is still habitually and deliberately living an idolatrous, selfish, prideful, and lustful life. It ruins the marriage relationship, for one, because of the adulteries of the one, but often those who are addicted to sexual sin, especially, turn out to be abusers to their spouses, too, and so they will mistreat them.

And so they will, especially if they are confronted about their own sins, attack the person trying to help them out of their sin. And all this may not be outright but may be underhanded and devious and via trickery and gas lighting and all sorts of evil ways of getting even with the one who is loving enough to tell them the truth and to try to help them live the way that they outwardly profess. And this is another way of murdering people in their hearts and in their emotions.

1 John 3:16-18 ESV

“By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers. But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him? Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth.”

But we are not to be like that if we profess faith in Jesus Christ. We are to love one another, even to love those who hate and mistreat and abuse and misuse us. And this love is not based in our emotions but in doing what is right for other people even when we don’t feel like it, and even when we are hurting. And it involves forgiving our persecutors and doing good to them even though they have done evil to us.

For this kind of love does not come from our flesh but from God who is love. And so this love will have the character of God. Therefore, it will be based in righteousness, holiness, honesty, moral purity, faithfulness, and the like. And when we love others with this kind of love we will not deliberately and habitually sin against them and take advantage of their kindness to us or plot evil against them like Jesus’ persecutors did to him.

For to lay down our lives for our fellow humans or for our fellow Christians is to sacrifice our own wants and our own needs and our own reputations, etc., in order to do what is loving towards others in the way in which Jesus laid down his life for us. And why did he die for us? In order that he might put sin to death in our lives so that we would now walk in holiness and righteousness and have the hope of eternal life with God.

We need to be like Jesus with the same goal in mind as he had which is the salvation of human souls. And salvation is not just a get-out-of-jail-free card. Our salvation is deliverance from our slavery (addiction) to sin so that we can now walk in holiness and righteousness in purity of devotion to our Lord and no longer in sin, by the grace of God and in his strength and power. And this should be our goal to see others delivered from slavery to sin and be free to walk righteously before God until Jesus returns.

But when this is the goal of our lives to be like Jesus and to do and to say the kinds of things he did and said and to help rescue people out of their slavery to sin so that they can walk in holiness and godliness for the honor and praise of God, we are going to be hated and mistreated in return, and we may have some friends, fellow “Christians,” pastors, spouses, and even some of our children turn against us and do evil against us, too.

But our encouragement through it all is that our Lord is faithful to all that he said he would do, and he will never leave or forsake those who are walking in fellowship with him. He will help us through every trial and through every difficult circumstance and through every persecution and mistreatment we might face at the hands of others who resent us or who are embittered against us because of our walks of obedience to our Lord. So, where others will abandon and mistreat us we can count on our Lord to be with us.

[Matt 5:10-16; Matt 10:16-25; Matt 24:9-14; Matt 28:18-20; Lu 6:22-23; Lu 21:12-19; John 15:1-21; Acts 1:8; Acts 26:18; Rom 5:3-5; Rom 12:1-8; 1 Co 12:1-31; 2 Co 1:3-11; Eph 4:1-16; Eph 5:17-27; Phil 3:7-11; Col 3:16; 1 Thess 3:1-5; Jas 1:2-4; Heb 3:13; Heb 12:3-12; 1 Pet 1:6-7; 1 Pet 2:9; 1 Pet 4:12-17]

He’s Been Faithful

By Carol Cymbala

In my own suffering
Through every pain every tear
There’s a God who’s been faithful to me

When my strength was all gone
When my heart had no song
Still in love He’s proved faithful to me

Every word He’s promised is true
What I thought was impossible
I’ve seen my God do

He’s been faithful
Faithful to me
Looking back His love and mercy I see
Though in my heart I have questioned
Even failed to believe
He’s been faithful, faithful to me

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3 thoughts on “Don’t Be Like Cain

  1. I was watching the other night a crime documentary about a church pastor who killed his wife because he had a mistress. He was pretending to be a good pastor and people believed in his charismatic personality. I kept pondering about it. No matter how much a person knows the Bible, it doesn’t matter if his heart is not regenerated and he keeps on living in habitual sins without true repentance. It damaged his family and destroyed his life. 🥲

    I thought of sharing this because I remember it while reading your post.

    Liked by 1 person

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