“Do what they say, say what they mean. One thing leads to another”-The Fixx

This week’s Billboard Country Airplay number one is Jason Aldean’s “Ask any ‘ol barstool.” The video here and the lyrics hit most of the country clichés with a modern twist including social media. It’s no longer gossiping neighbors and party lines. Now it’s texting, Snapchat and Instagram that spread rumor and encourage innuendo about what’s happening. However, just like those busybodies my generation knew growing up, the message is just as flawed. One thing hasn’t changed though; that’s not dealing well with rejection and doing what we know is right.

Go all the way back to Adam and Eve’s sons and you’ll see a couple of guys named Cain and Abel. One was a farmer and the other a stockman. When Adam suggested each bring a sacrifice for God, Abel brought a lamb and Cain brought grain. God accepted the lamb but rejected the grain. This angered Cain and he didn’t heed God’s urging to do what was right even amid the assurance that things would work out if he did. Instead, sometime later, he lured Abel out into the field and killed him. It’s pretty serious and vicious stuff for the first two brothers to ever walk the earth. While the bartender’s motives are far from murderous it sure looks like the way he dealt with rejection probably killed any chance of reconciliation with his wife.

Now I won’t get all preachy and trite about being true to your emotions and not trying to deceive those around you. I won’t go all conservative and stuffy on you either and say substituting one person for another when you’re hurting is wrong or that alcohol isn’t the answer. I think we all know those things. Still, just as Cain couldn’t accept the absolute word of God we struggle mightily with accepting the rejection of someone we love. We hurt, we feel “less than” and we wonder ‘why not us/me?’ I don’t know for certain why the man in “Ask any ‘ol barstool” was rejected by his wife any more than I know for certain why God rejected Cain.

There are several theories on the Cain/Abel story. One of the most plausible is that it had something to do with Cain’s attitude. What he brought for sacrifice may not have been his absolute best, perhaps just as the man in the relationship perhaps didn’t always protect and nurture what he had with his wife. The lyrics say he’s staying longer and drinking more than normal implying this was a typical practice. Perhaps trust was lost. Perhaps his wife urged him to resist the lure of the bar scene just as God urged Cain in Genesis 4: 6-7: 6 “Why are you so angry?” the Lord asked Cain. “Why do you look so dejected? 7 You will be accepted if you do what is right. But if you refuse to do what is right, then watch out! Sin is crouching at the door, eager to control you. But you must subdue it and be its master.” Unfortunately perhaps neither man could resist temptation or emotion and the results were disastrous. Sometimes doing the right thing, even if we know that it will bring us the acceptance we so desire, is a hard thing to do.

Controlling our feelings and being a master of our emotions isn’t easy but just as a happy and fulfilling marriage relationship is good for us, so too is the acceptance of our Father. I think both are worth the effort.

The Bible is a big book and although I can’t prove it I’d almost bet there isn’t a story or circumstance that happens today that isn’t chronicled or at least advised upon in it. If you’re dealing with temptation or finding it hard to do what is right, I hope this helped a bit and as always if you know someone that might benefit from this, please share it with them. It’s my hope that when you hear the song you’ll remember the story.

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