Cain and Abel were born to the same parents, grew up in the same location, received the same education, and shared the same skin color. They could not blame society for their actions. No society existed. They had no heritage of privilege or oppression. They did not even have grandparents.
Our society commonly boycotts those who do or say something controversial. This type of shunning is embarrassingly rigid and unforgiving, not to mention unsustainable. Over time, the ratio of people who do something foolish relative to the entire human population approaches one out of every one. Whose voice will remain when everyone gets canceled?
This verse is part of a larger passage challenging Christians to share prayer requests with leadership whether their issue is sickness, sinfulness, or suffering. People endure pain because of a temperature, temptation, or trial. If the matter is physical, anointing oil is sometimes used to symbolize the presence of God’s Holy Spirit in bringing about supernatural healing.
I am a married, straight, fifty-five year-old American caucasian male who is five eight with brown hair and green eyes, a Southern Baptist Pastor and Texas Ex who plays a little racquetball. But the terms and labels that describe me do not define me, for my identity is in Christ alone. If you are a Christian, yours is too, and we are one in Him.
In 1933, America was in the abyss of the Great Depression when Franklin D. Roosevelt delivered his first inaugural address, stating: “So, first of all, let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself—nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance.”
Suffering is the indispensable result of living in a fallen world. Jesus told us tribulation would come. (John 16:33) He said rain would fall on the good and the evil. (Matthew 5:45) Though no one likes pain, problems, or persecution, once we accept hardships as normative, we are left with only one question: “Will I suffer for doing right or for doing wrong?”