There is a story told in the bible of brothers Cain and Abel. Abel was generous, kind and loyal, willing to give of the best he had- it was what God asked of him and he knew that it was right. Cain gave also, but selfishly. He wanted what was best for himself and was unwilling to sacrifice the best of what he had. Abel was rewarded for his good heart and relationship with God. Cain on the other hand was jealous that Abel had such approval from God and instead of deciding to change, to know the God of love intimately the way Abel did, understanding Gods heart and following after him, Cain decided to murder his brother Abel and eliminate the competition between he and his brother for the affection of the God of love.
It seems that we have two basic choices in our lives. Follow after the God of love and obey what he tells us to do. Commit ourselves to understanding the way of love and following that way OR decide to follow the way of our selfish desires and ambitions, to follow the god of self-satisfaction and personal gain.
The God of love tells us to get to know him- he created the universe, the world that we live in and every being on it and created an order that asks us to follow it for peace sake. Then we have gods that walk the earth and tempt us to not follow love and self-sacrifice for others, but rather to do the exact opposite and follow the things that make our own bodies feel good at the expense of our brothers. To do what brings about self-gain.
One God has our interest and our fellow brother’s interest in mind and asks us to think of each other first.
The other god asks us to think of ourselves first and do what is in the best interest of our own progress- and sometimes the things that we will have to do in the interest of our own progress are roofless.
When I moved back to the US and relocated close to Philadelphia last year the first thing that discouraged and angered me the most when I returned was the story of a child shot in a cross fire. An elementary school aged child was shot and killed while walking to school in Philadelphia.
What happened to the person who did the shooting growing up that he or she would live a life that shoots across a school yard. It is possible many things: abuse, neglect, parents on drugs or absent; raised by the streets and mentored by thugs.
Who or what ever raised our children to grow up and become drug dealers, murderers, thieves and swindlers must have raised them to believe that serving one’s self is top priority and that they have to do whatever they can in order to get what they need in life.
Now I am going to talk to the inner- city black community specifically here: I believe that we as a society have effectively taught our children that possessions are more important than people. We have allowed the marketing and material world to enslave a generation of people who are not that far from having been freed from physical slavery. They are enslaved to selfish desires and do not know that loving others and caring for people in the community is freedom. They do not know that each man for himself will die and struggle that way, but that each man holding the hand of the next will build and support so that each one can eat and be free. There needs to be a paradigm shift in our thinking and we who know have to share the truth.
We have raised a generation of Cains, but it is not too late to start raising up Abels.
How did the civil rights movement survive and create change? We did it together. Martin Luther King and the people who supported him could have never influenced the country to create equal rights if he had been promoting selfish ambition. The black community could not have believed in equal rights if each member of the black community believed in taking care of the rights of his own family only. The change and fight for equality came about through personal sacrifice and unity. Now I am sure that there were disagreements and quarrels, but neighbor running down the street and killing neighbor over shoes, jewelry and cars would have never promoted civil rights.
As I evaluate my own family tragedies, I wonder where did black history make an ugly turn in my personal experience. My grandfather moved North from the oppressive south, made a life for himself here, worked hard, bought a home, had children and then his children grew up and there is where I see the fragmented black community appear.
Drugs entered the community and a LARGE portion of people tried them. Many of my family member’s minds and lives were lost to drug abuse- and their children? Some turned out fine, others didn’t. We all know these tragic stories. And yes- there was oppression and lack of opportunity in the north and many of my father’s generation will say that they were so discriminated against that many really did not have fighting chance, but why wasn’t that moral and struggle of their fathers handed down?
No matter what the story, each person has an opportunity to make a choice of whom they will serve. Will you serve Love or will you serve Hate.
Love= serving others. In our work, which does provide for ourselves and our families, we can still have a servant’s heart and focus on doing what we do for the sake of others.
Hate= serving self. In our work that serves others outwardly, we can still be filled with selfish ambition, which will always at some point conflict with a right decision.
Whom you will serve is a heart condition.
We have gotten so confused about what happiness and contentment look like. We have confused having happiness and contentment with having money and possessions and this is a lie!
I saw a story of a man who won the lottery. He bought a large home, started spoiling his child and spending on his pleasures and within just a few short years he had ruined his life. His child with the excess money had turned to partying and drugs and overdosed fairly quickly. His wife left him and he was sad and alone with his money. He says that the money ruined his life.
What I see is that instead of using his money to serve others, he decided to primarily serve himself. Instead of mastering his money, he allowed his money to master him and having that money dictated his behavior.
For a lot of us striving to acquire money dictates our behavior as opposed to integrity and honesty dictating how we acquire and use our money.
We have reversed the truth and perverted our message about the truth: In our music, in our way of living and in raising up our children.
We have written books about how to be successful and content and called it “The Secret.” But I am here to tell you that “the secret,” is LOVE.
Let us stop raising Cain, and start to raise up a generation who is Able.