6 Then the LORD said to Cain, “Why are you angry? Why is your face downcast? 7 If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must rule over it.”
8 Now Cain said to his brother Abel, “Let’s go out to the field.”[a] While they were in the field, Cain attacked his brother Abel and killed him.
“Sin is crouching at your door seeking your destroy you!”
This is God speaking to Cain about Sin. In fact it is the first mention of sin in the Bible.
Sin, something seeking to entangled and destroy, but succumbing to it is not inevitable, we have a choice to get drawn in.
When we say “yes” to following Jesus we become ‘Marked People” we are placing our heads above the parapet. We need to walk wisely and humbly in accountable and true relationships to help us step away from the lurking entrapment of sin wanting to take us out of the game.
The image of sin crouching/hiding/lurking at your door reminds me of a ‘Honey trap’, whereby a beautiful girl would lure a guy through a front door only to have a gang of blokes beat him up and steal his money. This idea of sin lurking at the door waiting to hurt and harm is a helpful picture. Indeed the word ‘lurk/hide’ are perhaps ‘better’ words to see sin is subtle and deceptive in its desire to thwart the plans and purposes of God in the lives of his people.
Yet in today’s world we get confused about sin and what it actually is, too often sin is dismissed as a bit of a joke and used to describe “cupcakes or lingerie”, or perhaps used to describe the big stuff like rape or murder.
Much ink has been spilled over trying to define sin, whether it be rebellion against God or the human propensity to mess up.
Yet perhaps it’s best described in the words I saw written on a giant cross at an Easter experience lesson for Year 6 pupils in a local church. Sin was written as an acrostic poem saying: “Shove off, I’m in charge, Now I am going to live my life my way”.
Yet, if we are honest I believe we can know and recognise sinful behaviour… but in other people!
This is the danger we don’t recognise the sin lurking at our door. Nor the consequence to other people’s lives and our own relationship with God.
The challenge is recognising -and responding- to the sin in ourselves.
Holiness and righteousness requires ourselves to abandon perpetual self-justification, pride and stubbornness and everything that prevents us from seeing ourselves as we are rather than how we’d like to think we are.
Such ways of thinking are human defences that wrap ourselves in insulating cotton wool preventing us from the Holy Spirit’s conviction or from demonic condemnation.
We may recite confession liturgy on a Sunday but unless we actually have the courage to be honest with ourselves and God about our lives we are offering nothing more than pseudo repentance, and we become the Pharisee pointing the finger at everyone else.
Instead the challenge is to prayerfully allow God to touch our hearts and minds afresh, to echo the Psalmist when he said:
“Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: and see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” (Ps. 139.23 & 24).