“Cain said to his brother Abel, “Let’s go out to the field.” And while they were in the field, Cain attacked his brother Abel and killed him. Then the Lord said to Cain, “Where is your brother Abel?” “I don’t know,” he replied. “Am I my brother’s guardian?”” (Genesis 4:8–9, CSB)
“I don’t know,” he replied. “Am I my brother’s guardian?” When our children respond with the, “I don’t know” line, we as parents always get frustrated. You know who’s responsible. They know who’s responsible. It’s just a matter of pride. And, by any measure, pride is ugly turning us into obstinate and mean people.
Cain’s main problem was pride. He simply wasn’t teachable. His arrogance got into the driver’s seat and plunged him off the cliff of life. Many of us would agree that we know how that feels. All too often, we have allowed pride to take us places we never wanted to go.
Once backed into a corner, we struggle to figure out how to extricate ourselves without swallowing our pride. But the fact is until we choose to admit our failure, we will always be trapped. When we are trapped, we often lie and then try to distract others, and even God, from the reality of our sin.
Cain’s choice of telling God that he wasn’t his brother’s guardian shows how ridiculous we can become when we won’t own up to our faults and failures. Choosing to remain blind to our condition, to our actions, to our consequences reveals the lengths we will go to divert all responsibility from ourselves and seek to exonerate ourselves of all wrong-doing. But, it never works.
Embracing our mistakes and owning them, both to ourselves and to God, is essential if we are going to turn our trials and troubles around. After all, the only place where we can find forgiveness and experience the removal of guilt is from the Lord Jesus Christ.
Today, if you have painted yourself into a corner, I urge you to stop painting! Fall to your knees and ask God for His gracious forgiveness. Then, accept the consequences of your choices. It is at this point that asking for God’s mercy to diminish the horrible effects of our failures is appropriate. God loves His children and responds to those who are honest, humble, and willing to be transparent.
Turn-Around Tuesdays are designed to bring hope and help, insight and encouragement to those of us who are simply overwhelmed by the flood of problems life throws at us. No one is immune to trials and troubles, but God has a way of lifting us from life’s torrents. Each short thought is written by Dr. Matthew Lee Smith, Executive Director of Eagles In Leadership, and comes from his life-journey with the God who never leaves us or forsakes us. He welcomes your comments below.