Cain presented an offering to the Lord from the land’s crops while Abel presented his flock’s oldest offspring with their fat. The Lord looked favorably on Abel and his sacrifice but didn’t look favorably on Cain and his sacrifice. Cain became very angry and looked resentful. Genesis 4:3-5 (CEB)
“Seriously, they chose HER to be the next director?” I thought while walking into the break room after learning this news. Once there, it was like being back in high school where the popular girls, my so-called friends, dissected their latest victim, not much differently from the frog we had just left displayed in the science lab. Although I knew this was wrong, I kept my mouth shut, thankful not to be the subject of their venomous remarks. I figured that teenage girls naturally outgrew this kind of catty talk only to discover that women elevated it into full-blown verbal assaults. On this particular day, they took turns lambasting a colleague who just became their superior.
“Perhaps she has worked really hard and truly deserves this promotion,” I mumbled into my leftovers, grateful that I couldn’t read the minds of the women around me. No need though, because like Cain, anger was visibly plastered on their exquisitely made up faces. They were clearly jealous. Moreover, they were resentful. Although their work did not merit the promotion, they felt owed. After all, they had been on the job longer.
Upon reflection later that evening, I felt quite proud of my self-awareness and self-control. Then I heard that familiar voice ask, “Are you really so blind to jealousy of your own?” Earlier that day I sent a text to a friend about someone who had lost a good bit of weight, insinuating that she was doing something extreme instead of losing “naturally.” My words held no substance. I was envious because she lost her “baby weight” before I did. It mattered not that unlike me, she got up at 5 a.m. to workout everyday and maintained a strict diet, while I managed a few squats after my daily Krispy Kreme run.
Genesis reveals that envy and hatred have existed in man’s heart since the very beginning. Cain believed that he rightly deserved the Lord’s approval, although he did not strictly follow God’s requirement for sacrifice. He assumed that the fruit of his hands would satisfy God anyway, but God rejected his sacrifice, and Cain vented his anger at God by murdering his own brother, Abel. Jealousy not only keeps us from rejoicing when others succeed, it breeds contempt. We become resentful when we don’t receive what we believe God owes us, which is nothing. Nonetheless, He continually showers us with unearned favor — GRACE. Next time you feel slighted, ask yourself why — did you do things your way instead of God’s? Then change your attitude, like God told Cain, so sin won’t set in and destroy you. Gladness triumphs over disappointment by obeying God and trusting Him.