By Pastor Todd Holman
St. Paul United Methodist Church

Sin is crouching at the door; and its desire is for you, but you must master it. ~ Genesis 4:7

If you’ve ever witnessed two young siblings playing in the same proximity of each other after any given amount of time the silence is usually broken when one of them is crying after an altercation with the other. We’ve all witnessed it at some point. Regardless of how many objects or toys fill the room, two children together usually gravitate towards that same one object. As we grow older we all recognize that the struggle that is taking place has very little to do with the object itself. Generally, the most important thing is establishing a pecking order and gaining control over the other.
As adults, we can easily name the emotions generated as jealousy and envy. The results of allowing these emotions to fester in our own hearts is usually catastrophic to our relationships with others.

There are various stories in the Scripture that teach us an example of the extreme horrors of envy and jealousy. One of those stories is about Cain and Abel. Both Cain and Abel present an offering of their labor to God, and yet both are not accepted by God. Cain becomes angry, and we’re told that the Lord has a conversation with him. In fact, He warns Cain of his unnatural emotions explaining how easily sin can take hold of him in the above Scripture. Unfortunately, sin does overcome Cain and he murders his brother Abel. It’s a clear example of how we are lead to ruin.
Another example of the extreme of envy and jealousy is mentioned in Matthew’s gospel. As Pilate asks them who they want released and the mob cries Barabbas, we gain insight that Pilate knew because of envy they delivered Him up. (Matt. 27:18)

For many of us, we can probably relate with, or name a relationship in which we were the culprit, or the victim of such circumstances. The important thing for all of us is to identify these emotions within ourselves so that they don’t consume us. James tells us, where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there is disorder and every evil thing. (3:16) It is vitally important for us to identify the emotions that nest in our hearts so that we do not become easy prey to crouching desires of evil that wish to overtake us.

As Cain is confronted by God in regarding Abel’s murder, Cain asks the question, “Am I my brother’s keeper?” The answer to that question for all of us is a resounding YES! It is our call and responsibility to love and care for one another. God desires that love and compassion build a nest in our hearts to overflowing, that we might be a positive and edifying presence to all of those around us. I pray that you all find the will of God and desire for peace in all your relationships. May the example and message of Christ always be your focus.