• Lisa Lenning

Taking Time to Reflect and Repent


“The Lord said to Cain, “Why are you angry, and why has your face fallen? If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door. Its desire is for you, but you must rule over it.” (Genesis 4:6-7, ESV)


I watched the scene unfolding in our backyard, like an episode of National Geographic. A bobcat crouched under our bush, as the mama and daddy bird squawked and dive bombed the predator, trying to scare him from the baby birds in the nest. You can imagine what happened next as the bobcat sprung in attack.


I don’t like to remember that scene, but it immediately came to mind when I read God’s warning to Cain in Genesis 4. What a vivid picture of sin – as a wild animal crouching at our door!


The story of Cain and Abel comes right after the story of the Fall of Adam and Eve, when sin entered the world. Cain, the older brother, was angry because the Lord had no regard for his offering, as opposed to Abel’s offering. Even the very first family on earth had conflict among siblings! But the Lord approached Cain and warned him about the sin crouching at the door, giving him a chance to repent and turn from sin’s control.


Thinking about sin in my life is not something I like to do. It is much easier to focus on the sins of others and brush my own sins under the rug. But the Lord, in his mercy, warns us and challenges us to examine our lives, noticing where and when sin is crouching. And what better time than this season of Lent, to seize the opportunity to reflect, repent, and prepare our hearts for the celebration of Easter.


Ask God to show you what sin may be crouching at your door.


The Holy Spirit has been showing me that the sins of the tongue – such as speaking harshly and critically to others (my husband!) and about others, often out of anger and frustration – are like that bobcat crouching by the bush. And if I don’t actively work to rule over this sin, to send it far away from my door, it can easily pounce and devour me and others.


“But no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God.” (James 3:8-9, ESV)


Once we recognize our sin, what do we do?


The example of Cain shows us what not to do. In the very next scene in Genesis, Cain enticed his brother Abel out to the field and kills him there. He ignored the Lord’s warning, and opened the door even wider to sin and death. He gave full vent to his anger. But we can choose a different path, the path that leads to life.


Turn away (repent) from that sin and run to Jesus!

“Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.” (James 4:7-8, ESV)


The good news is that our Father has given us the Holy Spirit, our Helper, the Spirit of Truth, who promises to guide us, to help us, and to strengthen us on this journey. And Jesus our Savior welcomes us with open arms as we humble ourselves and seek Him.


“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9, ESV)


Father, we thank you that you love us so much that you warn us of the sin crouching at the door. We humble ourselves before you and ask for your help to repent and run to You for mercy and grace! Amen.

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