Summary: Unfortunately, Family Feuds don’t only occur on a game show...they are a reality.
Pt. 1 - Often
Family Feuds make for good TV whether it is in the form of an incredibly funny game show or all too real glimpses into family interactions that show all the bumps and bruises . . . Dynasty, Dallas, and now Empire. It is all good on TV but when Family Feuds slip over into real life they are very seldom laughing matters. Family Feuds create life long limps and open wounds. Wrong words, looks, actions from family have life altering impact. The truth is that very few families are immune to this. In fact, one of the challenges I faced in this series is to narrow down text for examination. You would think since our discussions are based on the Bible that we would have to really work to find any examples in Holy Scripture to find a family that wasn't Cosby-esqe. Since it is Bible every issue should be resolved in 30 minutes and all sides happy and dancing together . . . Right? However, if you know Scripture, the truth is that it is harder to find a "Leave it to Beaver" type family than it is to find a "Hatfield and McCoy" type family. This shouldn't be that shocking when you discover the first family feud is found in the first family. That's pretty quick isn't it? The very first family sets the pace for every family that follows and they couldn't escape a feud.
I wish Scripture gave us more insight into what went wrong in the first family. However, all we really see is the reaction and result of the feud.
Text: Genesis 4:1-16 (Message)
Adam slept with Eve his wife. She conceived and had Cain. She said, “I’ve gotten a man, with God’s help!” Then she had another baby, Abel. Abel was a herdsman and Cain a farmer. Time passed. Cain brought an offering to God from the produce of his farm. Abel also brought an offering, but from the firstborn animals of his herd, choice cuts of meat. God liked Abel and his offering, but Cain and his offering didn’t get his approval. Cain lost his temper and went into a sulk. God spoke to Cain: “Why this tantrum? Why the sulking? If you do well, won’t you be accepted? And if you don’t do well, sin is lying in wait for you, ready to pounce; it’s out to get you, you’ve got to master it.” Cain had words with his brother. They were out in the field; Cain came at Abel his brother and killed him. God said to Cain, “Where is Abel your brother?” He said, “How should I know? Am I his babysitter?” God said, “What have you done! The voice of your brother’s blood is calling to me from the ground. From now on you’ll get nothing but curses from this ground; you’ll be driven from this ground that has opened its arms to receive the blood of your murdered brother. You’ll farm this ground, but it will no longer give you its best. You’ll be a homeless wanderer on Earth.” Cain said to God, “My punishment is too much. I can’t take it! You’ve thrown me off the land and I can never again face you. I’m a homeless wanderer on Earth and whoever finds me will kill me.” God told him, “No. Anyone who kills Cain will pay for it seven times over.” God put a mark on Cain to protect him so that no one who met him would kill him. Cain left the presence of God and lived in No-Man’s-Land, east of Eden.
As we examine this first feud we must apply to our own family feuds or this will be nothing but a history lesson.
The "oftens" of feuds:
And maybe the first truth we need to grasp as we start this series is . . . Pain is often first revealed or revealed first in families. I am convinced that this is because access is dictated by proximity. In other words, it is reasonable to expect that those closest to us may be the ones who have the most potential to hurt us because they have the clearest path of access. Judas was able to betray Jesus with a kiss because he was close to Jesus. He had access due to proximity. Those out there that I don't know can't hurt me like those that live with me! So we shouldn't be surprised that pain is often birthed in families.
Feuds are often one sided.
Notice that from the text it appears that Abel was unaware of Cain’s hurt feelings. Therefore, Abel never even thinks twice about accepting Cain's invitation to go out to the field with him. I believe it is safe to say that Cain’s feud was one sided!