Summary: Warning - Others in your family may not follow in your disobedient footsteps – but your attitude and your actions will affect their lives! So line up with God and let Him give you the victory over the effects of sin in your life.
Sin is Never a Solo pursuit.
So what's the big deal about Adam and Eve and their sin? Well, let me give you a sober warning. When we sin, the consequences of that sin are like the ripple effect on the surface of a body of water. What Eve did affected Adam and what they both did affected us all. When I disregard God in my life I adversely affect the lives of those closest to me. We can say when we break God’s rules, “It’s not hurting anybody but me,” but that’s simply not true.
Sin is like a cosmic boomerang in the home. Were it not for the grace and mercy of God, not only the first family would have been sunk by the tragedy of sin but so would we all. Even still, our disobedience to God not only hinders our walk with Him; it trickles down to those around us.
As a man who is a husband and a father, my sin has huge impact on my loved ones. If I rebel against God, my wife and children see AND sense that rebellion. My attitude is contagious. This is very clearly illustrated in what happened between Adam and Eve’s first two sons, Cain and Abel.
3 When it was time for the harvest, Cain presented some of his crops as a gift to the Lord.
4 Abel also brought a gift—the best of the firstborn lambs from his flock. The Lord accepted Abel and his gift,
5 but he did not accept Cain and his gift. This made Cain very angry, and he looked dejected.
6 “Why are you so angry?” the Lord asked Cain. “Why do you look so dejected?
7 You will be accepted if you do what is right. But if you refuse to do what is right, then watch out! Sin is crouching at the door, eager to control you. But you must subdue it and be its master.” Genesis 4:3-7 (NLT)
The Two Sacrifices
Abel was a true worshipper of God. He worshipped by faith in God’s plan. He had learned from the example set by God that true worship involved blood sacrifice. So that is what he offered. Cain on the other hand offered a grain sacrifice which was unacceptable to God.
"It was by faith that Abel brought a more acceptable offering to God than Cain did. Abel’s offering gave evidence that he was a righteous man, and God showed his approval of his gifts. Although Abel is long dead, he still speaks to us by his example of faith." Hebrews 11:4 (NLT)
Cain envied his brother Abel for having his sacrifice accepted by God while his own offering was rejected. Then he chose to take the life of his own brother.
8 One day Cain suggested to his brother, “Let’s go out into the fields.” And while they were in the field, Cain attacked his brother, Abel, and killed him.
9 Afterward the Lord asked Cain, “Where is your brother? Where is Abel?” “I don’t know,” Cain responded. “Am I my brother’s guardian?” Genesis 4:8-9 (NLT)
How Did This Happen?
How could this happen?
It happened because of the residual effects of sin. Cain chose to make the same foolish mistake his parents had made and disregard God’s instructions. Their self-willed attitude and disobedience to God’s instructions rubbed off on him.
We all run that risk when we disobey God. We not only break God’s heart and hinder our walk with Him, but we’re also like poison ivy to those with whom we come into contact.
Warning - Poison Ivy from Hell
I remember growing up in Missouri. We had a house in Gladstone Mo and we had a small mobile home at the Lake of the Ozarks. Every Spring and summer, I'd brush up on some Poison Ivy and break out in hives. The allergic reaction I had was pretty intense! I remember being in terrible misery from the effects of an allergaffectstion to "Toxicodendron radicans." (Makes poison ivy sound even more wicked when you use it’s scientific name. "Toxicodendron radicans." Sounds like an evil character out of Star Wars.)
I remember times when my eyes were nearly swollen shut from an allergic reaction to poison ivy. I recall being covered with calamine lotion. Your skin would itch just looking at me!
Cain was exposed to a rebellious attitude against God and it stuck with him. We know that Abel chose to obey.
You say, “See there, I can sin all I want to and rebel against God and my kids may not be affected, my family members won’t be influenced.” Perhaps not. Maybe they won’t have an allergic reaction to the poison ivy of sin.
Free Will - Warning
Thank God He has given each of us a free will. But why make it difficult for those we love to obey God by setting a bad example? Sin is never a solo pursuit. Even if those you love don’t follow your bad example, their hearts will be broken watching you miss out on the joys of walking in the light of God’s truth.