Tuesday, August 4, 2020

 Cain's Candy

   I don't know about you, but I'm definitely a junk food junkie.  Give me Jolly Rancher Gummies over a salad, and I'm going for the Gummies.  Given a chocolate bar with almonds over fish, and I'm all about that protein in the almonds smothered in chocolate than the nastiness of that fish smell in my breath and in my home.    Candy is great when the days are long, the nights are lonely, and the tears keep falling, however, even though it may brighten my mood slightly, that sweetness and "pleasurable" feeling I get from the candy is about as nutritious to my emotional health as the empty calories are to my body.   

      I  started working at a food pantry a couple of years ago.  I don't get paid cash, but my refrigerator has never been more full.  Everyday, I come home with more produce and bakery products than I've seen in a lifetime.  Before, when I had a real job, paying me cash, I could never afford the fruits and produce I can now provide for my children that has over-filled my fridge.  Being a single mother, who needs to stay home so that I can homeschool my children, and  whose estranged husband abandoned his role as husband and father, it is by the Grace of GOD, my husband is still providing for his children, at least for now.  It's his blood money so that he doesn't have to raise his children and some how feel like he's contributing, in other words, his guilt offering. 

 He forks all his pay over to us, but he wants nothing to do with being a husband, father, protector or Christian anymore.  One thing I've learned through this hell I'm living as a rejected wife is that an authentic man of GOD never walks away from his true responsibility as protector and spiritual leader.  The husband/father role is as the priest of the family, it's his job to care for the flock, and the wife/bride, represents the church.  A man who walks away from his own church is like a Cain in the Bible.  He certainly is no devoted Abel.  I married Cain and not Abel, but what did I know, when I married him? I knew there was a Bible in existence, but I did not even know that there were two parts to it.  I was a good catholic, I went to mass every week, CCD classes, and I got confirmed.  After that, my mother said I didn't have to go anymore, so I didn't.  That is the typical catholic in New England, we believe in drive-thru mass. Stop at the box, pick up your wafer, and away you go, until next week.  

       That my friend is a Cain, and not an Abel.  In chapter 4 of Genesis, which is the book of firsts, not a complete record of every child Adam and Eve birthed, we are introduced to just two of their sons, likely their firsts.  In this account, many of us are somewhat confused about why GOD accepted Abel's offering but rejected Cain's.  I have heard so many speculative reasons why GOD accepted one and not the other, but the one Flavius Josephus offered in his historical writings, The Antiquities of the Jews, seems to be the best.  There is no better way to describe what he said, other than quoting it exactly, so pay attention, this is some really good stuff:

 "Now the two brethren were pleased with different courses of life: for Abel, the younger, was a lover of righteousness; and believing that GOD was present at all his actions, he excelled in virtue; and his employment was that of a shepherd.  But Cain was not only very wicked in other respects, but was wholly intent upon getting, and he first contrived to plough the ground.  He slew his brother on the occasion following---They had resolved to sacrifice to GOD. Now Cain brought the fruits of the earth, and of his husbandry; but Abel brought milk, and the first-fruits of his flocks: but GOD was more delighted with the latter oblation, when he honored what grew naturally of its own accord, than He was with what was the invention of a covetous man, and gotten by forcing the ground; whence it was that Cain was very angry that Abel was preferred by GOD before him; and he slew his brother, and hid his dead body, thinking to escape discovery." 

Basically what Josephus is saying is that Cain's offering was given out of force and greed of wanting to get back from GOD.  Cain's work involved toiling the earth with greed, planting and harvesting without limit, in other words, enough was never enough for Cain.  Whereas, Abel's giving was out of his heart, from the life GOD gave in his flocks.  Abel was patient enough to wait for life to be brought forth, naturally, rather than to force it by his own means.  Abel also gave a blood offering to cover his sins, which gave his sacrifice much more weight and depth of  his heart toward GOD and his relationship with the LORD.  Cain could have given his offering with a sacrifice of blood, and it would have been just as acceptable in GOD's sight, however, Cain's offering was carnal,  in flesh, and of the flesh. It was by the work of his own hands.  It was what he thought best, not what GOD required or wanted of him.  GOD had no part in Cain's sacrifice.  Let me speculate as to what was in Cain's heart. 

I'm going to assume if Cain were in today's church, he'd be the guy sitting up in the back balcony of the mega-church, where no one could bother him. When the time of the offering came, he dropped his minimal amount, the least he could "legally give," out of compulsion, not out of thanksgiving, because he's been taught, if he drops a check in the basket, GOD will provide for his needs.  His life, however, is his own, and GOD has no business getting into his business.  He has free will, and he's taking FULL advantage of that gift.  He expects GOD to give, and as long as GOD keeps giving, he'll keep making his appearance in that balcony seat, and dropping that check in the basket, but once the supply that he feels was adequate, becomes not to his heart's desires, and  GOD starts letting things fall apart, well, that's the end of his giving.  If being a "Christian" is going to start hurting, financially, emotionally, or spiritually and interfere with his happiness, well then being devoted is not worth the pain. 

I've had my share of hurts, since I was six years old, that's the first time the bottom fell out for me.  I've known the bottom to fall out so many times, that I don't even remember there being a bottom.  The candy became sparse for a few years during the last half of our marriage.  I was getting about as much candy and sugar as I was getting love from my husband.  Both of us were suffering in our flesh.  Neither of us was satisfied with our life here.  Everything that could go wrong or break, did go wrong and broke.  If GOD wants to use a real Christian, he's going to crucify that flesh, and if that means burning it off, prepare to be burned beyond recognition.  What comes forth out of that is liquid gold.  It still burning while it's hot, but it's being purified in the heat. 

      A few years back, I bought a new laptop, because my estranged husband, who until recently, never said no to anything I wanted to buy, (his guilt offering), gave me the money to buy one.    I never even opened the box when I got home.  The thought occurred to me that to type a blog or work for GOD with the money he let me have would be the same as Cain's offering, in my eyes.  It was blood money, but not the right kind.  It wasn't a sacrifice that matter to GOD.  My husband broke ten vows to the LORD.  He has given up on everything we ever had in our hearts as a goal for our family.  He doesn't want GOD to tell him what to do.  He even told me once that GOD wants him to be happy and live on his own, and that GOD told him that.  It wasn't GOD speaking, I can guarantee you that, but to my Cain, even just the thought of it, because he thought it, makes it truth.  I, like Jesus, am devastated at his attitude and way of life, now, and the last thing I want from him is any of his dirty money.  He's divorcing me over money now, after six years of estrangement, because he has a lot of it  suddenly, and he doesn't want me to get my "fair share," as his wife of 34 years.  

That money is dirty in mine and GOD's eyes, because my husband not only served me divorce papers so I couldn't get my hands on it, he served me those divorce papers at the food pantry in the church basement across the street from where he works. He knew I would be there then.  He had the deputy serve me papers right in front of my co-workers.  How disgraceful is that?  He basically told GOD, "I don't want the wife you gave me, I don't want the children you put under my care, I just want the money my aunt left me and my girlfriend, and to be left alone.  I want to make like my wife never existed. PERIOD."  

   To tell you the truth, what he is really doing is telling GOD, "I don't want anything to do with You, if it's going to cost me my freedom, my happiness, or require me to care about anyone else's feelings and emotional health but my own. "  He can have his "Cain's candy," I'm not even going to go to divorce court to fight him for it.  I'm entitled for sure, and no human judge would deny me, however, I'd much rather have the life and provision GOD is offering me, and I'll offer it all back up to Him, even if that means living in poverty, again, and not able to buy my Black Forrest Gummy Bears at whatever whim I have.  I'd rather eat the food pantry rejects and puts into the pile going to the local pig farm from the swine slop, than whatever it is my husband could buy me with his Cain's offering.   

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