Best Big Brother Ever [Part 1]
By — April 14, 2017
Are you ready for some good news?
The love of God brings freedom from bitterness that we may harbor in our hearts, and points us once again to the amazing grace of the Lord Jesus.
Today’s Text: “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. Do not be surprised, brothers, that the world hates you.” (1 John 3:11–13, ESV)
Sibling rivalry, something with which most families are familiar, occurs right from the beginning in the Bible with the story of Cain and Abel. These brothers weren’t really that different from most siblings, I think. Ultimately, they were vying for their Father’s love. Both brothers brought sacrifices to the Lord, and God “had regard for Abel and his offering” but “had no regard” for Cain and his offering (Genesis 4:4-5). In response, Cain killed Abel.
Abel had not done anything to hurt Cain, but Cain had believed a monstrous lie that God’s love had limits. He believed that because Abel was blessed, he was less blessed, and a root of bitterness came into Cain’s heart. So,God spoke 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). It is as if God were saying, “Cain, you have a choice. You can rejoice with your brother who has been blessed – this is the law of love – or you can allow bitterness to grow.”
But Cain chose to allow bitterness to enter his heart, and he became consumed with thoughts of Abel. No longer free, Cain was in bondage to bitterness. Living in the bonds of bitterness is no way to live your life. Life is to be lived in response to God, not in response to someone else’s well-being or misfortune.
Don’t build your life as a response to someone else!
You, too, have a choice. Let your heart be set upon the Father’s love for you. I understand that in this world we suffer many rejections. You may have had a dad who left home, like I did. You may have been hurt or abused. You may have been forgotten or neglected. But there is good news! There is no limit to God’s epic love. Everything is different because of Jesus. You are blessed. Today, you can tell the Lord, “I’m sorry for any bitter root, and I give it to you.” Jesus wants to free you from the bondage of bitterness. And that’s the gospel!