The Downward Slide
by Dr. Paul Chappell
“And in process of time it came to pass, that Cain brought of the fruit of the ground an offering unto the LORD. And Abel, he also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of the fat thereof. And the LORD had respect unto Abel and to his offering: But unto Cain and to his offering he had not respect. And Cain was very wroth, and his countenance fell.”
The downward slide of sin often begins with a small act.
The downward slide of euthanasia was explained dramatically by Dr. Leo Alexander in an article in the New England Journal of Medicine, written in 1949. Dr. Alexander was a consultant to the Secretary of War in the Nuremberg Trials. He had extraordinary access to accused Nazi war criminals in the medical community. Writing from that unique perspective, Dr. Alexander argued that so-called “compassionate killing” of the terminally ill inevitably set the stage for the Holocaust.
He wrote: “Whatever proportions these crimes finally assumed, it became evident to all who investigated them that they had started from small beginnings. The beginnings at first were merely a subtle shift in emphasis in the basic attitude of the physicians. It started with the acceptance of the attitude…that there is such a thing as life not worthy to be lived. This attitude in its early stages concerned itself merely with the severely and chronically sick. Gradually the sphere of those to be included in this category was enlarged to encompass the socially unproductive, the ideologically unwanted, the racially unwanted and finally all non-Germans.”
It started as seemingly innocent extermination of those in pain but progressed to eliminating all who were different from an “ideal race.” I’m sure German doctors and citizens rationalized the killings at first, but the more they rationalized, the more extreme the rationalizations became.
Notice the story in our verses today. Adam and Eve’s first two sons were Cain and Abel. While Cain cultivated the land, Abel tended to the sheep. When the time for an offering to God came, Abel followed God’s command and brought the best of his sheep, while Cain disregarded the Lord’s command and brought the best of his crops. God rejected Cain’s sacrifice but accepted Abel’s.
Cain didn’t plan to kill Abel some day, but because he rationalized God’s command and offered his own sacrifice, he began a downward slide. The slide began when he brought the wrong offering, then continued when he harbored anger toward his brother, and was eventually born out in his murdering of Abel.
You may never think of stealing, becoming immoral, or falling into sin. But the downward slide of sin often begins with a small act. It can start with a wrong thought, an unconfessed sin, or unresolved bitterness. If sin is not taken care of immediately, it can grow into a problem that can cause you to do something you never dreamed of doing.
Do you have some unresolved sin in your heart right now? Don’t allow the devil a stronghold in your life through unconfessed sin. As soon as you sin, confess it before God, repent of it, and seek God’s forgiveness. Keep a clean heart before God so you can walk closely with Him.
To find out more about Pastor Paul Chappell visit his blog or follow him on twitter.
Daily Bible Reading
Numbers 9-11 • Mark 5:1-20