Cain and Able (Genesis 4: 1-18), the first story about humans born of man, show the propensity we all possess for “killing our ideal,” and the reason we benefit from making sacrifices to something greater than ourselves.
Dr. Jordan Peterson has done a great job of explaining the stories out of the Book of Genesis in the psychological terms that modern people can comprehend. He understands that in losing the meaning of, and appreciation for, these stories we have lost our way as a culture and people.
Cain saw that Able was favored and blessed by God. This favor resulted from Able’s sacrifice. Cain didn’t have his heart in the offerings he brought to God. Cain wanted off the hook. He wanted blessings without commitment, without following the rules God set forth.
God says, “Bring me your best.”
Cain became angry and blamed God. When God pointed out the way to blessing, Cain killed Able.
Instead of watching Able and following his lead, Cain thought he could get around the hard work by doing away with the ideal.
The ideal for most women looks like this – loved, valued, having purpose, attractive, sound mind, healthy body.
Deep within our psyche, there’s an image of the ideal woman. Modern media and education in about every form have worked hard for fifty years to discredit and dishonor that ideal image. Young women see other women that either has the ideal or appear to have it on social media. They compare that ideal to themselves and find shortcomings. Worse, they determine as young teenagers that what they want is not coming fast enough. They take matters into their own hands.
Believing that they can get the joys of marriage, the benefits of a healthy body, or anything else good without obeying the rules set forth by God for how to achieve those ideals has led to damaging sexual experiences, drug and alcohol abuse, poor body image, elective surgeries that don’t work out, low self-esteem, and, in extreme cases, crimes against those who appear to have what they want.
“Obedience is the soul of knowledge,” wrote George MacDonald around 1873. “Every obedience is the opening of another door into the boundless universe of life,” he wrote.
Don’t think you can disobey God’s order of things or hasten his good plan for your life. Cain and Able represent a story that never changes. Able died. Cain was cursed and forced to live a long time with the burden of his hateful heart.
Only by obeying, waiting on God does your boundless life open up.
Whatever you want, commit to finding it by the rules. Cheaters never win. Nothing good comes without putting in the time and energy to achieve it. You want a husband that will fulfill the ideal, don’t spend your time “hooking up” off Tinder. You want a fulfilling career, don’t waste your college years taking the easy classes and partying.
Find your ideal and pin a picture of it where you’ll see that somehow the ideal was given a free pass.