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Pointers along the way #220

My punishment is too much!
- Jacob Ninan

When Cain heard about the punishment God was giving him after he had killed Abel, Cain's response was that the punishment was too much for him (Ge.4:13). Imagine, he had just brutally killed his own brother, and he felt that the punishment of having to get less crop from the ground and having to wander around on the earth was too much! But before we criticise him let us look at ourselves and see how our response is when we face some difficulty or calamity in life. Do we ask God what we did to deserve such harsh treatment?

There could be a few things wrong with this response. One is our mistake in assuming that every trouble or calamity is a punishment from God for some sin that we have committed. It is wrong to assume that God is the type of Person who takes delight in catching us with our sins and taking out His anger on us. He is the One who loved us enough to suffer sending His Son to death for us. He does discipline us sometimes, if He thinks that we are not taking His warnings and corrections seriously (He.12:6). But He is certainly not the type to bully us and make us squirm under His superior power. Actually He knows how frail we are, and it pains Him to see us suffer (Ps.103:13,14). If He is disciplining us will He not let us know in our heart why exactly He is doing it? If we have only a vague feeling of guilt condemning us, it is from our real bully, Satan. There is no need to waste our time listening to him.

Why do we straghtaway assume God is responsible for every bad thing that happens to us? We live in a sin corruped world, and many things are the natural results of our own or someone else's sins. If a drunken driver hits us God is not responsible. If we became sick because we did not take care of our bodies, why blame God? Someone may ask why God didn't protect us. He does that a lot. But sometimes He allows such things to come to us to test or train us, as He did with Job. But He does that comparatively rarely, and He will also cause that to work for our good in the end (Ro.8:28).

Another mistake we make is to think that our sins are 'small' and do not deserve serious punishment. We can see this from the example of Cain. He thought that he should have got a less severe judgment. We make this mistake because we do not understand how serious sin is in God's eyes. Someone has said that only when we stand face to face with Jesus and see what He had to suffer for our sins will we understand the seriousness of sin. Our sins are things that caused the Son of God to die such a cruel death. Our natural mind cannot understand this, and the casual attitude we see all around us nowadays also makes us think that God should just overlook sins. But the closer we get to God, the more clearly we see the sinfulness of sin. From thinking that only actions are sinful, we begin to be careful with our words, thoughts and our attitudes also. Then we won't be so quick to say that we don't deserve punishment.