Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Example (07/25/13)
- TITLE: He Had No Role Model
By Ernest Yoder
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Exemplary conduct does not come naturally. It must be learned and mastered. Cain, as the first born human ever, did not have the benefit of experienced parents training him in the way he should go. He never had the privilege of an older sibling’s advice or example. In effect Cain was on his own in some respects. But did that give him an excuse?
How long did it take for Adam and Eve to fully realize the devastating consequences of sin? Being created as adults, they were unable to guide Cain from experience. One wonders about the parenting skills of the first dad and mom. Apparently they had to learn on the fly. They did not have the advice of scripture to guide them. Did they felt overwhelmed as they witnessed the rebellious nature of Cain run its course? How much of a challenge was it to guide this lad in the ways of the Lord?
As the firstborn of all humanity Cain had no peers. And somewhere along the line he chose to take his own way. We know God spoke to him prior to the time he killed his brother Able. How often did God speak to the people of that day? Perhaps more often than is recorded. At some point (we do not know when) God communicated the importance of offering a blood sacrifice. Would God not have warned these naïve creatures of the consequences of sin? Today we know what happens, not only from our peers but also more importantly from God’s Word. If Cain thought he had an excuse we definitely do not have one.
If there is one slightly mitigating factor in the sad and tragic life of Cain it may be the fact that he did not have a role model who had faced the challenges of adolescence and growing up in a newly fallen world. Were Adam and Eve as parents able to communicate effectively a positive message to their first born about that which they experienced nothing of themselves?
Cain, as the first baby born on the planet, in a sense sort of illuminated the path for the rest of his generation. Because of his headstrong spirit and the evident fallout from such a spirit his brother Able may have been influenced to make better and wiser life decisions. This may also have been true for the rest of his siblings, especially after his murder of Able. And yet we know there were those of his relations that did follow him to his place of “exile.” In a perverse sort of way he became a negative role model for them.
It is difficult for us to appreciate the herculean task Cain experienced as a youngster growing up. But in the final analysis there is nothing that gave Cain a credible excuse for becoming the world’s first murderer. He was a victim of his own bad decisions as Able was the beneficiary of his own good decisions. I’m sure Able could have been negatively influenced by his older brother, but he wasn’t. If one could excuse Cain because he did not have a good example to follow, one must also recognize Able did not have a good role model either, especially in his older brother. Where Cain was careless and disobeyed God, Able was careful to obey God. A role model is important but in the case of Cain, the lack of one was not an excuse.
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