The bloodthirsty hate the upright: but the just seek his soul.
The bloodthirsty hate a person of integrity and seek to kill the upright. (NIV)
What amount of hatred is necessary for a person to want to kill another? We only get four chapters into Genesis before we read about the first murder, amazingly the result of sibling rivalry. Cain, the eldest son of Adam and Eve, becomes jealous of his younger brother Abel. That jealousy intensifies when God favors the harvest gift brought by Abel, and tells Cain to get his act together. Instead of listening to God Cain lets his jealousy fester, and in a blind rage plots to kill his brother. You would think that by the time Cain and Abel take a walk into the fields together Cain would have relented, but he hasn’t.
As with many proverbs it would be easy to read this one and believe that it does not apply to us. We probably identify ourselves with the upright person of integrity rather than the bloodthirsty. Yes, there may be times we might have thought or even said we could kill someone, but we tell ourselves it was only ever a thought. The problem is that for Cain the act of murder began with just a thought. Knowing how thoughts can translate into actions Jesus warned:
“You have heard that our ancestors were told, ‘You must not murder. If you commit murder, you are subject to judgment.’ But I say, if you are even angry with someone, you are subject to judgment! If you call someone an idiot, you are in danger of being brought before the court. And if you curse someone, you are in danger of the fires of hell. (Matthew 5:21-22 NLT)
Sobering teaching indeed and a reminder that God knows our minds, our thoughts, our words before they are formed, and our deeds before they are done. If we consider this teaching without taking into account the life and death of Jesus then we would conclude quite rightly that it is completely impossible for any mortal being to come near to God. We are not worthy. We are as bloodthirsty as Cain. But our merciful God through His indescribable grace sent Jesus so that even the most bloodthirsty and heinous human being could be redeemed at no absolutely cost to humanity. If we fix our eyes on Jesus and surrender to Him the past no longer matters. If we allow the beauty of Jesus to flood into our lives everything changes, for He makes all things new.