총 게시물 502건, 최근 0 건

Cain, Abel and Us

글쓴이 : 관리자 날짜 : 2018-04-24 (화) 09:55 조회 : 236
설교일 : 2018.04.22
설교자 : Rev. Kyung Lim Shin
본문말씀 : Genesis 4:1-15

April 22, 2018

 

Cain, Abel and Us

Genesis 4:1-15

 

Rev. Kyung Lim Shin’s sermon at the KUMC of Metro Detroit

 

I know how difficult it is to bring up children these days, especially in U.S. In Korea there are relatives and friends one can turn to in an emergency, but here when you are sick, it is a lot more difficult to get hold of anyone to help you with the children. When I was having a very difficult time ministering at an American church with a different culture without much experience as a pastor, my daughter’s 8th birthday was coming up. I was just too busy to think about her gift, so I asked her what she wanted for her birthday. Her answer was, “A baby”, so I asked her again, “You want a baby doll?” “No, a real baby. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to have a little, cute baby in our family?”

 

I was about to have a heart attack, but she continued on with her request and even promised to take care of the baby full time after the birth. My simple question for her birthday gift brought on this preposterous request of ‘a new baby’ and I had to spend a long time in explaining the reason why she couldn’t have a new baby as her birthday present. Unlike other gifts, a real baby cannot be discarded or given away and once a baby comes into our family, we have to keep and take good care of the baby, no matter what happens. While explaining this, I was reminded of a passage in the Bible.

 

“A child is born to us; to us a son is given.”(Isaiah 9:6) This is a prophecy about Lord Jesus’ birth. I had an option not to have a new baby 30 years ago, but we never had an option not to accept this baby Jesus. A child is born to US, a son is given! But the fact is, all of us have been one family, even before the arrival of baby Jesus. We have had God as our heavenly father from the beginning.

 

My father had been an atheist for a long time until he became a Christian later. On the other hand, my mother has been a devout Christian throughout her life. When our pastor came to pay a visit, my father would greet him with a joke, “How is my brother-in-law doing today?” Our long-time pastor had been used to such a greeting, but our new pastor was very confused to hear that. Then, my father explained, “You and my wife call God in heaven your father, so you must be my brother-in-law.” Sometimes he would hide the pastor’s rice bowl, while he was busy saying the grace before dinner. If my mother got upset, he would say, “You mean I cannot play any joke on a family member?” Even my father, the atheist, knew that we belonged to one family. Therefore, we have to get along with each other, even though it can be very difficult at times. Not only we belong to the church family, we also belong to the huge family that God has created for the world. How are we going to live together with this complicated family? Let us study the first family in the Bible (not the Obama family or Trump family).

 

The first family of the human race was consisted of Adam and Eve, and their sons Cain and Abel. Once in our Bible study class at Washington KUMC, we were discussing Cain and Abel and reaching the conclusion that we should not be like Cain who was greedy and jealous and even killed his own brother, when someone burst out, “I don’t want to be like Abel. What good was it that he was commended as a righteous man by God? Didn’t he get killed? I want to live happily for a long time.” After hearing this, I went back and read the passages about Abel more carefully. I was surprised to find out that only one thing that Abel did was mentioned in the Bible; ‘But Abel brought fat portions from some of the firstborn of his flock.’ There was nothing else written in the Bible about what he did or spoke.

 

On the other hand, Cain whom we know as the bad guy had several conversations with God and pleaded for God’s protection when he was being banished from the land and from God’s presence.

 

We can assume that Cain must have suffered and agonized over his hatred of his brother Abel before killing him. We don’t think he killed his brother right after God favored Abel’s offerings more than his own offerings. God had known Cain was angry and his face was downcast, so He even advised Cain to ‘master the crouching sin’. We can tell in today’s passage that Cain had gone through several stages of anger and jealousy, but we can’t find anything Abel did for Cain to help him get over those emotions.

 

After killing his own brother, when Cain was shameless enough to ask God for protection, God granted his request. So, we are quite certain that God would have done something for Cain before the killing, if Abel had prayed for intervention from God for Cain. And also, Abel himself could have done more for Cain to alleviate his anger and jealousy.

 

The problem with Abel was that he didn’t do anything wrong, but he could have done more for Cain. He was commended as a righteous man before God, but because he did not do anything for his brother, he was killed by him. The first family was torn apart; Abel was killed and Cain was the murderer. Thus, Abel’s righteousness couldn’t stop the tragedy in his own family.

 

Even though Abel was righteous, he didn’t reach out to others to alleviate their pain. Being righteous within himself was not good enough.

 

When the 9/11 terror incident happened, I was 15 minutes away from Pentagon and witnessed the whole thing. Many people perished, either sinful or sinless. Several thousands of innocent people were killed without knowing the terrorists personally, and the lives of survivors will never be the same. The same situation is repeated in the war against Iraq and in many other wars. Those who start the war are usually safe from harm, while a multitude of innocent people are killed or maimed in a war. Lately, many civilians in U.S. are losing their lives due to the mass shootings with assault weapons by some unhappy, wounded soul. These people haven’t done anything to the shooter but living their own lives doing their own things, when they were killed, and these incidents are getting more frequent. Nations are against other nations, people are against other people, religious people are against other religions. Even in the same religion, in the same family, and in the same community, there are hatred and strife engulfing the righteous and unrighteous together.

 

God’s message for us through the story of Cain and Abel is that our own righteousness alone cannot stop the misfortunes in the world.Being righteous is not enough, so we should work ‘together’ for the good. Of course, working together in doing good is a lot more difficult than being righteous alone, but it is more important and necessary. ‘Together’ means ‘all’, and that means nobody should be left out. Those leaving some people out may not be conscious of doing it, but those who are left out can be certain of the fact that they are left out.

 

All of us have experienced in U.S. some feelings of racial alienation from time to time. When I was working as the dean of the Seminary, I had a very good looking Caucasian young man working for me, and many times people mistook him as the dean and me as his secretary. Even now, when I am in the receiving line with other dignitaries, most people pay no attention to me and not eager to shake my hands. The situation is the same with the second-generation Korean-Americans, because they look different. Born in U.S. and having grown up here, these young people expect to be treated the same way as any other Americans. When they are asked “Where are you from?”, they may answer “I am from Michigan”, and they get confused when they are asked again, “No, I mean where you really are from.” When they are told “How come you speak English so well?”, they begin to realize that they are not the main-stream Americans. This can lead them to mental depression and in extreme cases to suicides.

 

Whenever we are upset over any racial discrimination, my husband mutters, “Well, we should move back to Korea.” I am not happy to hear this statement, as I know fully well that I will not be a main-stream Korean there. After I was ordained as a pastor in U.S., on my visit to Korea, I wrote my occupation as ‘a pastor’ on the entry form to Korea and was scolded harshly by the official, “You should not have written your husband’s occupation here!” I hope things have changed for the better in Korea in recognizing women’s accomplishments.

 

When we work ‘together’ for the good of all, we have to include all of them; men, women, Americans, Koreans, Caucasians, and the people of color.

 

When we work together and pursue happiness together, we need to include even those who we think are wicked and those whom we dislike. Nobody should be excluded. What we should watch out when we feel we are righteous is the tendency to not appreciate the lives of those who we think are unrighteous. But God does things differently. When Cain, who we think does not deserve any special favor and should have been put to death, asked for protection, God put a mark on him so that no one would kill him and said, “If anyone kills Cain, he will suffer vengeance seven times over.” There are not many who have received such protection from God, and certainly Abel didn’t get that protection.

 

God considers Cain’s life to be very precious. He loves and cherishes both Abel and Cain equally. Therefore, we should not despise or harm any of those people whom God loves and cherishes. Caucasians, African-Americans or Hispanics, South Koreans, North Koreans, permanent residents or illegal aliens, all are equally precious to God, so we should cherish them and help them and work together with them for the good of all.

 

Neither Cain nor Abel alone can accomplish much for the world. That is why God has called us to do His job. The only way we can change this divisive world is to work together for the good of the world.

 

We may not be as evil as Cain and nor as righteous as Abel, but we can work together to do good in the world. When we are prosperous, we should pay attention to those less fortunate, when we are comfortable, we should seek those in discomfort. By helping those in need of help and showing our respect for them, we can all have the ‘Happy Ending’. U.S. should not be the only blessed country and U.S. should share their blessings to lift other countries. Our church is a good church, an excellent church, but we should not be satisfied with that. The blessings bestowed upon U.S. and upon our church and upon us should be shared with others in doing good and influencing others to do good. 

 

This afternoon we are going to promote some members in our church positions. We hope that they share our church’s vision to embrace the world and eagerly participate in our church’s mission to serve all nations and all people. God’s story is continuing, with us from Detroit KUMC in starring roles.

 


   

총 게시물 502건, 최근 0 건
번호 설교일              제목 본문말씀 설교자
502 2018.10.14  Plan G!! Matthew 16:21-27 Rev. Kyung Lim Shin
501 2018.10.14  Plan G!! 마태복음 16:21-27 신경림 목사
500 2018.10.07  'Must be born again to enter the kingdom of God' John 3:1-8 Rev. Se Jin Bae
499 2018.10.07  거듭남과 하나님 나라 요한 복음 3:1-8 배세진 목사
498 2018.09.30  'The Actively Working Faith' Luke 24:13-27 Rev. Sun Hyung Jo
497 2018.09.30  '작동하는 믿음' 누가 복음 24:13-27 조선형 목사
496 2018.09.23  "Be Patient" James 5:7-11 Rev. Taegyu Shin
495 2018.09.23  "인내 하라" 야고보서 5:7-11 신태규 목사
494 2018.09.16  The people who lowered a paralytic through the roof Luke 5:17-26 Rev. Kyung Lim Shin
493 2018.09.16  지붕을 뚫은 사람들 누가복음 5:17-26 신경림 목사
492 2018.09.09  'In the midst of our sufferings' John 9:1-7 Rev. Kyung Lim Shin
491 2018.09.09  고통 가운데에서 요한 복음 9:1-7 신경림 목사
490 2018.09.02  'The Living Hope' Psalms 39:1-7 Rev. Tae Hong Kwon
489 2018.08.26  Enlarge Our Territories! Luke 10:25-37 Rev. Kyung Lim Shin
488 2018.08.26  우리의 지경을 넓혀 주소서 누가복음 10장 25~37절 신경림 목사
 1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10  다음  맨끝

제목 : Plan G!!
설교일 : 2018.10.14
본문말씀 : Matthew 16:21-27
설교자 : Rev. Kyung Lim Shin
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