Our world is becoming more and more angry. The news is filled with stories of violent protests, terrorist plots, random shootings, road rage, school bullying and racial hatred.
Just four chapters from creation, you find the first biblical reference to anger. Cain and Able each bring an offering to God. God examines first the person and then their offering and favors Able over Cain. This angers Cain to the point that you can see it on his face.
But notice how God responds to Cain’s anger…
God doesn’t tell Cain to bring a better offering. We think external circumstances are to blame for our anger, but anger originates in us…not outside of us. Instead of telling Cain to bring a better offering, God told Cain to bring a better heart, because anger management starts with heart management.
God doesn’t chastise Cain for his anger. Instead, God tries to help Cain with managing his anger. He points out Cain’s anger, challenges him to figure out why he’s angry and cautions him on how he should respond to his anger.
Cain refuses to heed God’s warning and kills his brother…not because he was angry, but because he didn’t manage his anger.
Ephesians 4:26 (ESV) tells us, “Be angry and do not sin…” How do you do this? Try following the same plan God gave Cain….
- Be AWARE of your anger.
- ASSOCIATE your anger with what’s going on internally, not externally.
- ACT in a way that brings the anger into submission.
Where is anger getting the best of you? Remember God’s words about anger…
“it desires to have you, but you must rule over it” (Genesis 4:7b NIV)
Bret Legg is the Teaching and Counseling Pastor at Warren Baptist Church in Augusta, GA.