As we have looked at Cain and God's dealing with him, we have noticed that God had expressed his will clearly to Cain, even though we don't read of it, and got involved in Cain's life including invading his privacy. Today let's notice how God warned Cain of the dangers ahead. I believe this is one area where well-meaning godly fathers have a tendency to fall short. I know that I wish my father had done more to prepare me in this area, and often feel woefully inadequate in knowing how best to prepare my own children. People usually lean one way or the other, either they allow their chidren to experience too much of the world before they are ready causing them to become worldly, or they shelter them so much that they can't handle living in the world when the time comes. I don't know where the perfect balance between those two is, but I do know that we have to aim for it. We are to live in the world, but not be of the world.
How do you prepare someone for what they will face without exposing them to sin in the process? One story I have heard regards those who are hunting counterfeiters. They are trained by focusing on the legitimate bills and what is distinctive about them. They are told what areas of the bill will be most likely to show differences if it is a counterfeit. They are not shown any counterfeit bills during their training! They have become so familiar with what the real thing is that they can immediately spot the fake. When we teach our children right behaviors, speech and attitudes, but at the same time explain to them at a level they can understand that not everyone will do what is right; then, we will find that they will be capable of knowing wrong when they see it and properly handling the situation. The key is the warning and explanation of the wrong coupled with honesty. For example: one girl was told by her parents that unmarried girls couldn't have babies (not that they shouldn't, but they couldn't). What a confused girl they had when a teen from their church got pregnant. The girl was unable to cope with the situation because she had not been prepared. Obviously, the teen was the other end of the spectrum.
We must warn our children of the dangers they are personally headed for. Each child will have different struggles and strengths. God saw where the anger Cain had was leading him and He tried to stop the chain of events from unfolding. Unfortunately, probably because of Adam's failures as a father Cain continued down the path that led to Abel's murder and his own destruction. If we have any experience in life we should be able to see where certain attitudes, actions, reactions, and character traits will lead. A child that becomes angry, like Cain, may end up killing another or himself, or becoming abusive toward others. It is a father's responsibility to reign in the natural male (or even female) aggression to keep it from becoming destructive. I can't believe this was the first time Cain ever got angry. If Adam had been able to stop the temper-tantrums of the 3 year-old, the story might have had a happy ending.
How are you doing at recognizing Satan's counterfeit character traits in your children and getting rid of them? How are you doing at helping them to face the temptations of the world? Will they have the know-how and the "know-why" to defend their faith when attacks come? They won't just accidentally make it, they have to be prepared. Let's get busy preparing children to be godly men and women.