In life, each of us struggles with a variety of conflicts with relatives, friends, co-workers, supervisors, just ordinary people who we perceive don’t like us; or who we don’t like. Anger and bitterness can weigh us down for years. But we are encouraged to bear with it and even reconcile as able. From the time of Cain killing Abel, mankind has been beset with serious negative and dysfunctional human relations. Consider these things as we prepare for the Passover. Let us examine ourselves at this special time of year commemorating the sacrifice of Christ.
"I Just Can’t Stand it!"
Greetings Friends and welcome to our guests! How has your week been? I’ve had better and worse!
Probably told you this before-two incidents: As a mid –teen a family friend slapped me across the face and said, “I don’t like you.” In another incident a bully at school picked on me and poked me in the head with a pencil and just laughed as his friends laughed along. Jokingly, I thought I like to take him on and could probably whip that old guy. But not really-who knows the struggles and strife he has had to endure in life.
How many times a year do we get angry and upset with people? Perhaps for many people not a day goes by without some sort of arguments, disputes or fights over real or imagined hurts! I don’t know how often I have heard of people hurt 10, 20, 30 years ago and to this day they want revenge-that in many cases eats them alive.
So often, people can’t stand for us to be different than them. Like-wise the reverse may also be true. We can’t stand for them to be different than us.
Even nations struggle within themselves; recently I read that Sicily and Venice want to declare their independence from Italy. On one hand the world appears to be trending toward one world government and yet there appears to be a disassembling of nations. Something is brewing!
In life each of us struggle with a variety of conflicts with relatives, friends, co-workers, supervisors, just ordinary people who we perceive don’t like us; or who we don’t like. Anger and bitterness can weigh us down for years. But we are encouraged to bear with it and even reconcile as able.
From the time of Cain killing Abel, mankind has been beset with serious negative and dysfunctional human relations. Consider these things as we prepare for the Passover. Let us examine ourselves at this special time of year commemorating the sacrifice of Christ.
The title of my split sermon is “I Just Can’t Stand It!”
- 1. Sin, Strife and Struggles of Life
This life is full of sin, strife and struggles of life! It has been with humankind going back to the very beginning with Adam and Eve and then Cain and Abel.
Let’s look at Cain and Abel and see what we can learn from a relation that soured almost from day one.
First, did Cain the first born consider himself to be extra special? It appears so: Cain had some deep seated emotions issues and perhaps because he was first born he thought he should be FIRST in all things.
The name Cain comes from qayin (H7014, 7012) קין qayin which in one definition can mean “Striking fast as with a lance”; in other words “without forethought and concern about consequences.” He was obviously a very angry and wrathful man.
The name Cain appears in 20 times in 17 verses from Genesis 4:1 Genesis 4:1And Adam knew Eve his wife; and she conceived, and bore Cain, and said, I have gotten a man from the LORD.
American King James Version×to Jude 1:11 Jude 1:11Woe to them! for they have gone in the way of Cain, and ran greedily after the error of Balaam for reward, and perished in the gainsaying of Core.
American King James Version×. The name Abel appears 21 times in 18 verses from Genesis 4:2 Genesis 4:2And she again bore his brother Abel. And Abel was a keeper of sheep, but Cain was a tiller of the ground.
American King James Version×to Hebrews 12:24 Hebrews 12:24And to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling, that speaks better things that that of Abel.
American King James Version×.
Cain had totally unbridled anger against his brother Abel!
Let’s turn to Genesis 4:4-8 Genesis 4:4-8  And Abel, he also brought of the firstborn of his flock and of the fat thereof. And the LORD had respect to Abel and to his offering:
 But to Cain and to his offering he had not respect. And Cain was very wroth, and his countenance fell.
 And the LORD said to Cain, Why are you wroth? and why is your countenance fallen?
 If you do well, shall you not be accepted? and if you do not well, sin lies at the door. And to you shall be his desire, and you shall rule over him.
 And Cain talked with Abel his brother: and it came to pass, when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother, and slew him.
American King James Version× (ESV) and Abel also brought of the firstborn of his flock and of their fat portions. And the LORD had regard for Abel and his offering, 5 but for Cain and his offering he had no regard. So Cain was very angry, and his face fell. 6 The LORD said to Cain, "Why are you angry, and why has your face fallen? 7 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." 8 Cain spoke to Abel his brother. And when they were in the field, Cain rose up against his brother Abel and killed him.”
A side note about Abel according to Holman Bible Dictionary: Now the name “Abel” means vapor, breath, in the negative sense of having no substance and being something very close to nothing. The famous Ecclesiastes saying, "vanity of vanities; all is vanity," (1:2) uses these same words.
One source says that Abel’s name is like a whiff or puff of air: “The names of important characters in Genesis are usually explained while they are given, but not Abel. Here is an individual who is named Whiff,(like a whiff of air) who is not even worthy of a name-explanation,…”
However, for as insignificant as his name seemed, he WAS and IS important to God and listed among the faithful!
Read two Scriptures Hebrews 11:4 Hebrews 11:4By faith Abel offered to God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, by which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts: and by it he being dead yet speaks.
American King James Version×(ESV) By faith Abel offered to God a more acceptable sacrifice than Cain, through which he was commended as righteous, God commending him by accepting his gifts. And through his faith, though he died, he still speaks. AND Hebrews 12:24 Hebrews 12:24And to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling, that speaks better things that that of Abel.
American King James Version×(ESV) and to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel.
- 2. What Can We Do?
What can we do? What must we do? So often people hold grudges for years and into decades. How do we break the cycle of anger?
No matter how bad things seemed back then, would a person really want to dredge up the past anger and bitterness? Is that not the way of the world? Would it really solve anything at all? Or will it again stir the pot of anger and animosity?
We also read this in 1 John 3:11-12 1 John 3:11-12  For this is the message that you heard from the beginning, that we should love one another.
 Not as Cain, who was of that wicked one, and slew his brother. And why slew he him? Because his own works were evil, and his brother's righteous.
American King James Version× For this is the message that you have heard from the beginning, that we should love one another. 12 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.
Continuing we see this: Turn to 1 John 3:13 1 John 3:13Marvel not, my brothers, if the world hate you.
American King James Version×-16 (ESV) Do not be surprised, brothers, that the world hates you. 14 We know that we have passed out of death into life because we love the brothers. Whoever does not love abides in death. 15 Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him. 16 By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers.
Turn to Romans 12:18-19 Romans 12:18-19  If it be possible, as much as lies in you, live peaceably with all men.
 Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place to wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, said the Lord.
American King James Version×(ESV) If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. 19 not avenging yourselves, beloved, but giving place to wrath; for it is written, "Vengeance is Mine, I will repay, says the Lord."
- 3. A Better Way-Show the Goodness of God in Your Doing
As we approach the Passover and all its symbols should we not cast out evil intents and malicious thoughts? Should we not show the goodness and light of God in all our doing?
Joh 3:16-17 (ESV) "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.
Let us not forget what it ways in 1Co 11:28 Let a person examine himself, then, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup.
Also, we read in 1Co 5:7 Cleanse out the old leaven that you may be a new lump, as you really are unleavened. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed.
Anciently it was said by Job in Job 19:25 Job 19:25For I know that my redeemer lives, and that he shall stand at the latter day on the earth:
American King James Version× For I know that my Redeemer lives, and at the last, he will stand upon the earth.
For those baptized consider and recall the covenant we made at baptism and our acceptance of the sacrifice of Christ. If not baptized consider the need to find strength and hope in what Christ has already done for us.
Let me begin to draw this to a close. First, if any of us have deep-seated issues, seek wise counsel, let us each review and evaluate our spiritual walk.
Consider the nature of man as we saw in Cain and Abel and which we can all too often see in others and ourselves.
But come to realize that we are admonished to forgive others, forgive self for errors of our ways. Remember that God does forgive us upon repentance as we strive against this mortal flesh.
Each of us is freed from the debt that is incurred. Too often we hear of people God cannot forgive me - my sin is too great. We mistakenly place our sins well above the sacrifice of our Savior, Christ that is the ultimate of defeatism!
Let me leave you with this final Scripture: Psalms 86:5 Psalms 86:5For you, Lord, are good, and ready to forgive; and plenteous in mercy to all them that call on you.
American King James Version×(ESV) For You, Lord, are good and ready to forgive, and rich in mercy to all those who call on You.