The canine hunting instinct reminds me of the nature of sin. One morning, I spent a few moments relaxing in my yard with my boxer, Libby. Suddenly, she sprang to her feet and darted towards a tree on our property. She had set her sights on two squirrels scampering up the tree. By the time she reached the tree, however, the squirrels had retreated to safety.

Libby relaxed for a spell. But her senses were reawakened when one of the squirrels she had pursued randomly plummeted toward the ground. (I suppose even squirrels have bad days!) But the tiny animal’s freefall was halted by a magnificent display of dexterity. The squirrel snagged a nearby branch like a gymnast and pulled itself out of Libby’s reach. Small critters always count it a blessing to survive another day in our yard. But woe unto them if they should lower their guard: Libby will be ready for them.

Sin is like a crouching canine ready to pounce. Careful examination of the details related to Abel’s murder reveals the root of Cain’s sinful outburst. Cain became angry when God rejected his offering. Behind his anger lay jealousy of Abel’s positive reception from God. Beneath it all, Cain’s proud heart resented submission to God’s ordinance. Sin lay at the door. Rather than bolting it, Cain opened the door to sin and committed the world’s first homicide.

Most of us believe we would never lower ourselves to commit atrocities such as murder or adultery. Cain probably believed the same before he killed his brother. When we tolerate bitterness, envy, lust or anger, sin lieth at the door. As long as we keep the door open, there will be no limit to our depravity. Confess your sins and forsake them today. Bolt the door, and you’ll find safety.

Devotional by Pastor Jim Scudder, Jr.