Can you relate to one or both of these spirits? Please read and let me know what you think. I am very open to suggestions and ideas from all.
A reading from the Bible
Genesis Ch 4 verses
1. The man had relations with his wife Eve, and she conceived and bore Cain, saying, "I have produced a man with the help of the LORD."
2. Next she bore his brother Abel. Abel became a keeper of flocks, and Cain a tiller of the soil.
3. In the course of time Cain brought an offering to the LORD from the fruit of the soil,
4. While Abel, for his part, brought one of the best firstlings of his flock. The LORD looked with favour on Abel and his offering,
5. But on Cain and his offering he did not. Cain greatly resented this and was crestfallen.
6. So the LORD said to Cain: "Why are you so resentful and crestfallen?
7. If you do well, you can hold up your head; but if not, sin is a demon lurking at the door: his urge is toward you, yet you can be his master."
8. Cain said to his brother Abel, "Let us go out in the field." When they were in the field, Cain attacked his brother Abel and killed him.
I think that there is a great deal we can learn from the spirits of these two characters. I am sure that there is a bit of both of them in all of us. Obviously I would prefer to be like Abel because his sacrifice was accepted and not like Cain as his was not, with disastrous results.
I googled this question about the difference in the attitudes and spirits of these two brothers and the original idea that was going through my mind was not endorsed in the answers forum so here goes at what I believe could have happened.
I think that maybe I have been influenced from Father Robert Barron from Word on Fire. I may be wrong on this too so I am not quoting him as responsible for this answer.
So let's imagine the setting for this story. Adam and Eve and Cain and Abel living and working together. It was no longer the Garden of Eden in Idyllic conditions but I bet it wasn't so bad. Just as God had shown them how to make clothes from animal skins, He was still there talking to them from the spiritual world and showing them how to make the best of things.
Now the work had to be done to keep them alive and so Cain was given by Adam the very important job of Farming. He was responsible for the crops and Abel the Sheep. Two distinct and separate divisions of labour.
I imagine it was a homestead like a small farm. Daily these two brothers would set out for their work.
Digging the ground and neatly arranging the cabbages and tomatoes and lettuces took a great deal of effort and time. It was very obvious to see the results of his hard work. Trees were cut down and and the ground carefully and very methodically prepared and tilled. Cain would proudly show off his work to his approving father and mother. I can imagine that Cain became very muscular and Macho and took a great deal of pride in his work and in his own personal appearance.
From time to time he would take a break and go off and look at what his younger brother was up to. Maybe he would see Abel sitting under the shade of a tree and playing his flute or harp and singing praises to God and just taking in the beauty of the surroundings. Of course Abel did not spend all day just watching the sheep, he had to know them all by name and take care of them making sure that the pregnant mummy sheep were getting enough lush grass and always being around to help at lambing time. In essence he loved his sheep.
By day he would lead them out to the best pastures and then bring them back before dark into the safety of some kind of a sheep pen for protection. Like David his successor he had to be prepared for the onslaught of wild animals that would appear from time to time laying down his life and beating them off as they attacked.
Cain only saw his brother doing what looked like a very lazy job and I can just hear him inwardly complaining how unfair it was. His loafing brother with all that time on his hands whereas he was always hard at work. It reminds me of Mary and Martha a bit don't you think? Abel with this extra time was able to appreciate God's awesome creation and even pray and talk to God. Cain was too busy and even if he did have time his mind was blinded with jealousy and hatred for his idle brother that he had little inclination for matters to do with God.
The spirit of competition is being taught everywhere. In schools, Universities, sports and of course business. When I was first converted and started to read the Gospel of John, some 40 years ago this was one of the first things I noticed. The spirit of Love replaced the spirit of competition. My parents brought me up to have the Killer instinct. That is a well known English saying. The Killer instinct. They interpreted it to be a flat out approach to life. Go for it with all your heart and be the best. Put like that it does not sound so bad but in essence it meant to be the best at any cost.
Now I can just hear Adam saying to his family that it was time to offer God some thanks. He was taking good care of them. Yes, they had to work pretty hard but only God could make the plants grow and the sheep reproduce and give the different seasons. He needed to be thanked. They would do this in the usual manner of offering up a sheep on an altar of sacrifice. Abel would provide the sheep. Cain was upset that this department was left to his lazy brother and so he decided to take matters into his own hands and to make his own offering. Cain took the initiative and in his competitive and jealous spirit hurried to be the first to offer his very own sacrifice. Now God already had a relationship with Abel. They knew each other and Abel chose the very best sheep for His friend with a capital F, God. Cain on the other hand, filled with the spirit of competition and desperately trying to prove how hard working he was in comparison to his lazy brother gathered the best of all his crops and then stupidly tried to set fire to them. Now sacrifices were meant to be animal and not vegetable. Green veggies just do not burn and if you do get them to, it will be with tons of black smelly smoke from the very poor combustion.
If Cain had been humble and had respected and been on friendly terms with his brother he could easily have asked his brother for a lamb and Abel would have obliged and God would have been very pleased. Have you noticed in yourself and in others that when you are working really hard and those around you are seemingly not, how easy it is to get upset?
Well, hatred and murder are very close relatives. Even if you feel you have good reason to hate, it will cut you off from God. Jesus warns us by telling us to even love our enemies. I know all about this and maybe you do too. I have hated people before and it never brings satisfaction and instead matters start to get worse and worse. Hatred slowly eats away at your spirit like a cancer slowly but terminally eating your body
Jesus tells the parable of the labourers and how when it was payment time those that had worked for an agreed sum for the whole day got the same wage as those hired at the last hour to finish off the job. Those workers first hired became very upset and jealous and the employer had to remind them that it was his money to do with whatever he wanted to. Who knows but maybe those hired last really needed those wages to help them buy food for their children and the Master of the vineyard knew that fact well?
It is also interesting to see in verse 17 that the industrious Cain after committing his murder went and built at least one city. Cities are notorious places where it is very easy to lose sight of God. The concrete jungle made entirely by the ingenuity of man stands glorifying his efforts. Those high rise buildings exude the pride of men. It is the Tower of Babel syndrome all over again. In the very competitive world of big business, there is not much love lost between those taking part. Not much time for loving ones neighbour instead cheating him and competing against him is more the order of the day. The important thing is to get the most business and hence the most money by hook or by crook. The slave labour used in the construction is often violently coerced into action without any regard for the welfare of the slaves or employees.
The more I study Spirituality the more I am beginning to realize that Love is the most spiritual dimension. Why do I say that? Because God the Creator is a God of Pure Love. Of course there are many spirits. There are evil spirits and they are extremely real and just as real as loving spirits from God. In relaying spiritual experiences for others to read about and discuss, I find the need for great spirituality in my own life as I want to be a really loving person. That is my aim and my goal. I cannot do this on my own. I need outside help from you dear readers and most of all from that touch of the Divine and Spiritual. When I was in Bombay (Mumbai) India, I visited a small museum of the great Mahatma Gandhi and was thrilled to find that the Great One carried a Bible, A Bhagwan Gita and a Koran with him wherever he went. One comment by Gandhi I think is worth repeating here. He said that the only problem with Christianity was the fact that so few put it into practice.