Friday, March 19, 2021

Sibling Rivalry


You'd be hard pressed to find any two Marvel comicbook characters more divergent than the X-Men's Charles Xavier and the unstoppable Juggernaut, Cain Marco. Though physically disabled and wheelchair-bound, Charles Xavier—known to his students as Professor X—uses powerful psychic abilities to fight for peace and equality between humans and mutants. Cain Marco, on the other hand, unearthed a legendary stone called the Crimson Gem of Cyttorak and, upon touching it, was transformed by its mystical energies into a hulking human juggernaut. Where Charles relies on his brains, Cain depends on his brawn. Who would have guessed these extreme opposites are actually brothers?

Cain's mother died at an early age, condemning Cain to suffering at the hands of his abusive father, Kurt. Eventually, Kurt married Charles's mother, Sharon.  But when Kurt seemingly preferred Charles to his own son, Cain became consumed with jealousy and took to bullying his stepbrother. Despite growing up in the same house, Charles and Cain's paths diverged more and more.  Eventually, Charles became a hero and Cain became a villain. Cain has repeatedly attempted to kill his stepbrother Charles as the superpowered Juggernaut. Thankfully, Professor X always manages to overcome his stepbrother's rage-fueled rampages. 

The Bible tells a remarkably similar story about Abel and his brother, whose name also happens to be Cain. Stan Lee undoubtedly drew inspiration from this biblical tale when crafting the characters of Xavier and Juggernaut.

Soon after Adam and Eve's eviction from the Garden of Eden, the Bible tells us that Eve became pregnant and gave birth to a boy she named Cain. Later, she had another son whom she named Abel. Considering God’s command to "be fruitful and multiply," Adam and Eve likely had many other children, but these two steal the spotlight as one becomes a hero and the other a villain.

"When they grew up," the Bible says, "Abel became a shepherd, while Cain cultivated the ground. When it was time for the harvest, Cain presented some of his crops as a gift to the Lord. Abel also brought a gift—the best portions of the firstborn lambs from his flock. The Lord accepted Abel and his gift, but he did not accept Cain and his gift" (Genesis 4:2-4 NLT).

You probably already know what happened next. Anyone who hears the story can never forget. In a fit of jealousy and rage, Cain attacked and killed his brother Abel, becoming the first "bad guy" of the Bible. So what made Cain a villain? In a word, jealousy.

Just as Cain Marco envied young Charles Xavier for being his father's favorite, Cain envied the fact that Abel was accepted by God while he wasn’t. His jealousy turned to rage and his rage led to murder. By allowing his jealousy toward his brother to fester and grow, Cain cast himself as the villain in Abel's story.

Envy or jealousy can be found on nearly every list of sins in Scripture. The Bible frequently warns believers about the dangers of jealousy. For instance, Proverbs cautions, "Anger is cruel, and wrath is like a flood, but jealousy is even more dangerous" (Proverbs 27:4 NLT) and " jealousy is like cancer in the bones" (Proverbs 14:30).

As punishment for Cain's horrendous crime, God cursed the ground of Cain so that it would not provide him with food and condemned Cain to walk as a fugitive on the earth. However, God showed mercy by placing a mark on Cain so that no one could kill him in vengeance (Genesis 4:11–16). We too can experience God's mercy to a much greater degree. The Bible says, "Our lives were full of evil and envy, and we hated each other. But—when God our Savior revealed his kindness and love, he saved us, not because of the righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He washed away our sins, giving us a new birth and new life through the Holy Spirit" (Titus 3:3-4).

If you struggle with feelings of envy or jealousy, don't let those feelings fester. Instead, turn them over to God. Confess your feelings and allow the Lord to wash away the anger and envy in your heart, replacing with new life through His Spirit!

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