Most sins can result in a generational-type curse. Today we will deal with “Anger and Jealousy”, which often go hand in hand. These two can spiral out of control. This affects our children and those around us whom we love the most, and unfortunately, they get passed down to the next generation, but as an inheritance that destructive.
To introduce this discussion, I want to point out that our first ancestors, Adam and Eve, were the first to sin. The result of their choice to disobey God has ultimately affected every generation on down to us today, and will continue to do so until the end. We are born with the cursed disease of sin, and it is only through the blood of Jesus that we can be cleansed of it, yet it will continue to plague us until we die. In addition, God cursed the ground, causing thorns and thistles to grow, with weeds that can hurt us or overtake what we are trying to grow. With this knowledge in mind, it is time to look at Cain and Abel’s story.
“Now Abel was a keeper of sheep, and Cain a worker of the ground.”
Both jobs were good and necessary.
“In the course of time Cain brought to the Lord an offering of the fruit of the ground, and Abel also brought of the firstborn of his flock and of their fat portions.”
Notice Cain’s was not of his first or his best, and Abel’s was of the firstborn and their fat. Yes, this meant Abel had to sacrifice them. Where did he get this idea? Are we offering our best to the Lord?
“And the Lord had regard for Abel and his offering, but for Cain and his offering he had no regard.”
In other translations, the phrase He had ‘no regard’ is; no favor, did not accept, had no respect, rejected.
Do you suppose Abel’s was accepted because God valued the firstborn more than any fruit of the ground, or because Cain’s heart wasn’t right nor was his generic offering? Notice that it says God did not have regard for “Cain AND/OR his offering”.
This is indicative of something else besides just what he offered. It had more to do with Cain himself. Here’s why:
“So Cain was very angry, and his face fell. 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.'”
Now I would probably be upset if the Lord didn’t accept my offering either. But if He didn’t have regard for me as well, that would be devastating! Would it make me angry? No. Would it cause me to take drastic measures against someone else? No. But this first and second generation family knew God well. He walked with them. He taught them. He saw them and they spoke with Him. To become somewhat numbed to the majesty of who you are serving and what you are giving Him, is something we cannot directly relate to. Notice though that Cain’s expression changed; his face fell. Now we know what that feels like. We scowl, we frown, we furrow our brow. These expressions aren’t sinful, but what they might represent in our hearts can be. It also shows Cain didn’t feel accepted. He had self-esteem issues. This is a form of pride. I know!! But do not be so hard on Cain, because today, we have our own challenge to face here that stems from this story.
Notice that the Lord told him in advance that sin was at the door, waiting to be let in. He warned him! In spite of not accepting or having regard for him or his offering, He loved Cain enough to warn him of what his choices might result in. Cain, being filled with anger and jealousy, took action upon himself and let sin into the door of his heart, and his life. This decision affected the rest of his life, and his family lineage on down.
“Cain spoke to Abel his brother. And when they were in the field, Cain rose up against his brother Abel and killed him. Then the Lord said to Cain, ‘Where is Abel your brother? What have you done?” He said, “I do not know.”
Cain gave in to the temptation of such intense anger and jealousy, that he killed his brother, then lied about it to God! Did he not realize that God knows everything? Was he so blinded by anger that he forgot who he was talking to?
“The voice of your brother’s blood is crying to me from the ground. And now you are cursed from the ground, which has opened its mouth to receive your brother’s blood from your hand. When you work the ground, it shall no longer yield to you its strength. You shall be a fugitive and a wanderer on the earth.”
Now not only is the ground cursed because of Adam’s sin, but now his firstborn son is cursed from even working the ground! That was Cain’s job That is what he knew to do. But now, he could no longer be a successful farmer and grow his own food. He was forced to wander, away from the presence of the Lord and his family. He was banished. Sounds like a personal hell to me.
Notice how Adam’s sin of pride and disobedience took him away from the presence of the Lord, and now his son’s sin of murder out of anger and jealousy does the same.
The ESV Study Bible says this: “Cain’s sentence adds to the alienation that has already been introduced in 3:17-18. Underlying these punishments is a principle that recurs throughout Scripture: human sin has a bearing on the fertility of the earth. Whereas God intended humanity to enjoy the earth’s bounty, sin distances people not only from God himself but also from nature.”
Here is where this gets generational: 3 generations later, Cain’s great grandson Lamech kills one or two men for merely wounding and striking him! He said, “If Cain’s revenge is sevenfold, then Lamech’s is seventy-sevenfold.”
These were not words that the Lord spoke to him, but he made up for himself out of pride. God had told Cain that if any man killed him, vengeance would taken on that person sevenfold. Now Lamech is claiming seventy-sevenfold for himself. Really?? Notice how the sins of his ‘father’ were passed down, and Cain’s lineage did not enjoy God’s presence, which resulted in debased actions.
But does this all of this mean that Adam’s family line would be cursed? No. Enter Seth, the next recorded son. It says,
“And Adam knew his wife again, and she bore him a son and called his name Seth, for she said, ‘God has appointed for me another offspring instead of Abel, for Cain killed him.’ To Seth also a son was born, and he called his name Enosh. At that time people began to call upon the name of the Lord.”
From this point forward, Scripture tells the story of Adam’s descendants, the two different lineages that chose to either serve God in righteousness, or not to and remain wicked. These two distinct opposing lifestyles stem from the choices made by their previous fathers and mothers; Adam, Eve and Cain.
We need to break this chain! In each of our families, we have this curse; it might be of abuse, of anger, of drinking, etc. Whatever it may be, it is our opportunity NOW to break this chain, this cycle of deadly generational sin. Do we want our shortcomings to be handed down to our children and their children? They learn from us, in everything we say or do.
I used to say that I didn’t want children, because I was afraid I would be a bad parent. I didn’t have such great examples, and was afraid I would treat my child the way I was mistreated. Yet, even though I am absolutely NOT a perfect parent, it is by the grace of God alone that I am one. I am learning. I am trying to break those chains of pain, of controlling others, of abuse and neglect, of quitting on them and low expectations.
Is anger and/or jealousy something that regularly rears its ugly head in your home? I think we all have to face the fact that our angry words and facial expressions affect our children. I know in my house, I am guilty of this. I speak to you as one who struggles in this area! But we cannot allow ourselves to be overcome with anger, because that will be exactly how our children respond when they come up against a similar situation. Then they will teach their children the same thing by example, and so on, and so on.
“Let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger, for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God.”
“Be not quick in your spirit to become angry, for anger lodges in the heart of fools.”
Food for thought: This verse embodies how our day should end: with no unrighteous anger left on our lips or in our hearts. Apologize if necessary, make it right, and do not let your pride interfere in this process.
“Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and give no opportunity to the devil.”
Fun facts: “We boil at different degrees.” Ralph Waldo Emerson.
Photo by: Kari Wiseman – The negative aspect: Kids swim