Cain said to his brother Abel, “Let us go out to the field.” And when they were in the field, Cain rose up against his brother Abel, and killed him. (Genesis 4:8)
“Because we become what we think about — and our lives are always a reflection of our standards and priorities.” I love this Kris Gage quote. Don’t believe Kris and me, just ask R. Kelly, and Paul Manafort. You cannot tell me R. Kelly didn’t think, or fantasize, about his actions before he abused others. Paul Manafort is guilty because he thought about money with such single-mindedness that it negatively influenced his “standards and priorities.” These reflections led both men to public humiliation and prison cells.
In Genesis 4:1-8, we learn about two brothers, Cain and Abel. Cain becomes jealous, because he believes God loves Abel’s offerings more than his own. He reflected on the perceived unfairness over and over, until it warped his “standards.” I believe none of us are born evil. We can become people who act with evil intent through years of abuse, or through obsessive thinking that warps our “standards and priorities.”
I doubt Paul Manafort, R. Kelly, or even the biblical Cain dreamed of becoming an anathema. It developed over time, with mistaken or dysfunctional thinking. Today, rather than just point the finger at the obvious sins of others, it is time to reflect on “our standards and priorities.” As bad as R. Kelly and Paul Manafort ended up, they did not start out with this end in mind. No, it took years of dysfunctional reflection that warped their priorities, and diminished their standards to such a degree that those standards became evil. It is incumbent upon each one of us to make sure we are not fooling ourselves, and rationalizing bad behavior. Such dysfunctional thinking leads to bad actions, which leads to destroyed lives. By humbly, and regularly, reflecting on our standards and priorities, we will stay faithful to God and stay out of prison.