Wednesday, January 15, 2014

So Much Anger

Wednesday, January 15, 2014
When it was time for the harvest, Cain presented some of his crops as a gift to the LORD.  Abel also brought a gift—the best of the firstborn lambs from his flock.  The LORD accepted Abel and his gift, but he did not accept Cain and his gift.  This made Cain very angry, and he looked dejected.  “Why are you so angry?” the LORD asked Cain.  “Why do you look so dejected?  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.”  Genesis 4:3 - 7 (NLT)

The story of Adam and Eve’s sons, Cain and Abel, is such a familiar story.  I believe many of us miss some very important lessons in that tragedy because we imagine there’s nothing we haven’t read before.  Big mistake!

Just consider how many Hollywood movies should footnote the Bible in their credits.  Their stories come right from the brother’s struggle which revolved around money and sibling jealousy.  And don’t forget the money was church stewardship – gifts of offering!

And when Cain’s disobedience and pride were confronted he got ANGRY!  And he stayed angry while he plotted against his brother.  How many families have been destroyed by anger’s ugliness?

Why So Much Anger?

I would be hard-pressed to recount all the ways anger evidences itself in our world.  Let these words open the door in your memory; let them relocate some images for you:

·        Columbine, 911, Iraq, Jihad, Afghanistan
·        Wal-Mart at Christmas where shoppers can be trampled in the name of the baby Jesus
·        Drunk drivers, IRS, Bernie Madoff, Insurance companies
·        Boxer Mike Tyson’s teeth biting-off Evander Holyfield’s right ear!
·        Every show Jerry Springer ever made.

Now, I’d like to be able to say our human family’s anger problem is someone’s fault – blame it on the Republicans or Democrats – the President or Congress makes me angry!  It would be convenient to blame society and the economy – my next-door neighbor.  It would be really easy to simply say “well, it’s my nature; I can’t help how God made us.” 

It would be easy, indeed; it would also be wrong.  Anger is not in the genes – it resides in the spirit.  Anger is a desire for revenge.  With Cain it was the fact that he brought an offering and God rejected it (because it was not what God had required).  Cain got even with God by striking God’s creation.  

That’s anger!

When I was six or seven my mother and aunt took the kids to the lake to swim.  My younger cousin Gary spent half the afternoon building a magnificent sand castle.  I was envious and wanted to play with it; he told me to get lost! 

Mom got tired of our ruckus, and told me to leave Gary alone.  I
looked at Gary like Cain looked at Abel.  I left, but I stepped right on his sand castle as I walked away! 

Anger is part of our existence because deep down in the spirit:

·        if we want something and can’t have it,
·        or someone says something and we don’t like it,
·        or she’s prettier than most and we can’t stand it……
…we get angry, and we want to get even.  It is born of a kind of arrogance that demands our own way – and plots revenge if we don’t get it!  Anger is one human’s attempt to punish another. 


Take some time today to see if you recognize you in any of the above.  

Tomorrow we will begin to unravel how to deal with anger.

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