Tuesday, January 11, 2011

"Invented Reality"

Genesis 4.9 NIV

“Then the LORD said to Cain,
‘Where is your brother Abel?’

‘I don’t know,’ he replied. ‘Am I my brother’s keeper?’

Cain was a murderer. In the original fit of jealous rage “Cain attacked his brother Abel and killed him” (Genesis 4.8). But was Cain a liar? At first glance it seems that he was. Surely Cain knew of his dead brother’s whereabouts. The LORD inquired,
“Where is your brother?” and Cain responded, “I don’t know.” Did he?

Our minds play amazing tricks on us. We see and know only what we allow our minds to visualize and comprehend. Some realities are more intense than we choose to tolerate. We minimize, pretend, ignore, forget, anesthetize, rationalize, or medicate reality away. Our brains possess a remarkable capacity to invent new realities more palatable than the old ones. Invented realities work well for us. They allow us to function. Pure reality can emotionally cripple and render us helpless, or worse, force us to face the truth and become responsible. Denial is a much easier and more desirable path.

Did Cain know where his brother was? Maybe not. To allow himself such knowledge would have meant taking responsibility for his brother’s condition.

Ask yourself Cain’s question of God:

“Am I my brother’s keeper?”

Your answer depends upon your choice of realities. If you invent your own reality (as did Cain) you may honestly reply, “I don’t know”. If you make it your business not to know where your brother is, how then will you be required to assume a role as your “brother’s keeper”?

Denial is pretty potent and convenient stuff, huh?


The excellent image of Cain peering at his brother Abel is called "Cain" by eikonik whose masterful work you can view at his Deviant Art site (http://eikonik.deviantart.com/).

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