Expectations and behavior are the foundation pieces of a relationship. It is a two-way street. One acts according to the expectations of the other. If these expectations are appropriate and fair, and the behavior fulfills them, the relationship feels comfortable and smooth. Both parties in a relationship have expectations for the other, and it must be so. And both parties are responsible for fulfilling those expectations as well as possible.
Cain, Notoriously Human
Cain learned this in Genesis 4 when he offered a sacrifice that was rejected by God (Genesis 4:3-7). Cain wanted to be accepted by God for his sacrifice without respecting God’s expectations.
Some debate what Cain did that was unacceptable. Was it that he offered something God did not want? Or perhaps he offered with the wrong heart? Or maybe, since God said, ‘If you do well,’ Cain offered something other than his best. We can debate the merits of these, but the point is simply this: Cain offered something that was less than or different from what God expected. Cain offered what he decided would be suitable, not respecting what God expected. That’s no foundation for a relationship.
And then Cain had the audacity to become downtrodden when God did not accept him. That is amazingly human, isn’t it?
Relationship Cures Begin With Self-Examination
When you face relationship problems, the first activity should be self-examination. Are you hoping to be blessed in your relationships without accepting the personal responsibility required to receive those blessings? Are you attempting to fulfill the fair expectations of those you love? Or are you taking the easy way and attempting merely to look as if you are fulfilling those expectations?
If you do well, will you not be accepted? If you live up to fair expectations, will you not be exalted?