Before anger gets the best of you

Genesis 4:1-16

We’ve learned that anger is a response. It’s often our way of dealing with or even avoiding pain. As natural as it is, unchecked anger is dangerous. Festering feelings of anger often lead to explosive outcomes. We say things we never thought we would. We do things out of character. Circumstances can get out of control quickly.

In the story of Cain and Abel, anger leads to murder in two verses. God regarded Abel’s offering but did not regard Cain’s. This infuriated Cain. He wasn’t just angry. He was very angry or furious. The first result was “his countenance fell.” His face changed because of how angry he was.

Was he hurt?

Did it feel like God rejected him? Was the pain of his younger brother outdoing him too much? Now, I’d warn against using modern sciences like psychology to analyze biblical texts. They were not written with that in mind. Still, we can see how Cain’s anger first brewed and then grew.

Note Cain’s ups and downs–or down and up. At the onset of his anger, his countenance fell. When Cain convinced Abel to go the field, the text says he “rose up against his brother.” Let’s call that unchecked anger.

Thankfully, while anger’s influence is strong, it doesn’t have to be permanent. We can loosen its stronghold through prayer and reflection. We can also learn more about what anger is and how it works. Such a process helps us discover what makes us angry. Or, why do we get angry so much?

It’s important to also note anger isn’t the only feeling that can get the better of us. Unchecked pride and impatience are just as dangerous. Jealousy, too. Even sadness and grief. So, what feelings creep into your heart? Do you have a healthy process to guide how you deal with them? 

Again, all these emotions are normal and natural. We all experience them. Most times, they’re not bad. God didn’t punish Cain’s anger, just his actions. The Lord offered Cain wisdom to overcome anger. And God will help us do the same.

Stay blessed…john

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John Fletcher

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