How Not to Raise Cain
or How to Keep from Ruining Your Children

No parent wants to raise Cain. Man did not want the LORD God to be in charge. Letís see how well man does at being "in charge." Watch as men struggle for control. Because of our fallen nature, women struggle with their husbands, children struggle with their parents, siblings become rivals and struggle with one another, and everyone struggles with God. How much better it was when we let God be in control. Any society, where the Holy Spirit is not in control will be condemned to repeat Genesis 4. From the time of Adamís fall this struggle has been going on and the world without God has been "raising Cain."

Cain was an angry, hate-filled child. He was a great disappointment to his parents. He was self-willed and stubborn. He became a run-away. He blamed others for his burdens. His life was a jumble of contradictions. Because he was  not willing to be led, he was driven. He was spiritually lost and blind to God. He struggled all his life. He did not find rest. He was filled with fears. He was cursed. He was Cain.


1. Donít ignore the reality of sinful nature. Your child is not the Messiah, he is a sinner. (Ps51).

2. Recognize and teach that sin is serious. Cain came to God with fruits. Sin is much more costly that most people realize. Sin calls for sacrifice. Every Jewish day of Atonement pointed to the day when the Lamb of God would give his life for sin on Calvary.

3. Donít confuse being religious with being righteous (Mat. 23:35). Cain worshiped, but on his own terms. Cain was not impressed with what the LORD said. His bushel basket was full, full of works, activities, full of self, pride, it says "look what I can do," instead of saying "look at what God requires of me."

4. Love the righteous. Let the Saints be your heros. Praise God for and pray for the missionaries. Rejoice in the prosperity of the godly. Beware of envy. Cain hated the righteous (those who want to do right). He became Sullen. Those with the spirit of Cain find it hard to smile. Encourage the cultivation of godly friends (Ps.119:63). Beware sullenness; it is sin smoldering beneath the surface and will erupt. Do your children still smile when it is time to God to Godís house? Ps. 122:1).

5. Explain what is acceptable. "Why is thy countenance fallen?" Explain the importance of right behavior. Explain clearly what is "acceptable" behavior and what is not. "If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted."

6. Deal with anger properly. Cain became more and more angry. He was never angry at himself. His anger was directed at others (1Jn. 3:11-12). Anger


urns into seething hatred and contempt. When Ableís name is mentioned he sneers. His jaw tightens, his muscles tense. (Eph. 4:26; Heb. 12:15).

7. Cultivate a compassion and concern for others. A healthy person cares about others. Cain stopped caring about fellowship. He was no longer in fellowship. He was not concerned about Godís children. Donít ask me about Able, "Am I my brotherís keeper?"

8. Insist on Honesty. "I know not." Dare to ask tough questions. Be brave enough to hear the truth.

"What hast thou done?" Monitor your childrenís behavior. Hold them accountable. Allow them to be responsible.

9. Be consistent. Cainís life was a jumble of contradictions. He who would not shed an animalís blood, ends up shedding his brotherís.

10. Donít encourage violence. Speaking unkind words about others in your home is teaching violence, hypocrisy, hatred, and murder. A backslidden person brings death with him not life. His words are not about life, His words kill, they are critical, they are hurtful, they are deadly. (Matt. 5:22;Eph. 4:30-32). Learn Love.

11. Practice Justice. "Thy brotherís blood cries unto me from the ground." (Prov. 8:15;Hos 12:6; Jer10:24). Correct in Judgment not in anger. (Ps. 94:12;Prov. 19:18a; Heb. 12:6). It is better to be chastened by parents than cursed by God. (Prov. 18:19). Cain lost everything. It seems he lost his soul.

12. Pray that they come to faith in Christ