Scriptures: Genesis 4:1-12 “Now Adam knew Eve his wife, and she conceived and bore Cain, and said, “I have acquired a man from the Lord.” 2 Then she bore again, this time his brother Abel. Now Abel was a keeper of sheep, but Cain was a tiller of the ground. 3 And [c]in the process of time it came to pass that Cain brought an offering of the fruit of the ground to the Lord. 4 Abel also brought of the firstborn of his flock and of their fat. And the Lord respected Abel and his offering, 5 but He did not respect Cain and his offering. And Cain was very angry, and his countenance fell.
6 So the Lord said to Cain, “Why are you angry? And why has your countenance fallen? 7 If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin lies at the door. And its desire is for you, but you should rule over it.”
9 Then the Lord said to Cain, “Where is Abel your brother?” He said, “I do not know. Am I my brother’s keeper?”
10 And He said, “What have you done? The voice of your brother’s blood cries out to Me from the ground. 11 So now you are cursed from the earth, which has opened its mouth to receive your brother’s blood from your hand. 12 When you till the ground, it shall no longer yield its strength to you. A fugitive and a vagabond you shall be on the earth.”
Recent statistics shows that there is an increase of road rage accidents from simple traffic altercation to damage of property, disability and worst death. Sad to say, traffic in my country Philippines is one of the worst in the world. The resulting traffic congestions breed impatience, stress and anger among motorists, fueling incidents of road rage. Just a month ago, one truck driver was over-run and killed by another driver, there were also incidents of road rage involving gun- shooting. What causes all these road rage is because of uncontrolled anger resulting to murderous acts, we all probably, heard “Anger Management” it is a psycho-therapeutic program for anger prevention and control, it says that Anger can be suppressed then convert or redirected.
What is Anger? It is a strong feeling of displeasure and usually of antagonism, often leading to plans for revenge or punishment. As human, we have our own minds, will and emotions and we are all susceptible to anger as the same with our fears, worries and doubts. It is a natural emotion that we all feel, and sometimes little things of dislikes and annoyance or provocation can make us feel angry or perhaps “upset”.
We might have “Anger Issues” when we are quickly to react to anything that annoys us and it took long time for us to calm down. People with anger issues also have difficulty settling disputes with others without getting angry. Anger can be caused by both external and internal events, it varies in intensity from mild irritation to intense fury and rage. Like other emotions it is accompanied by physiological and biological changes, when we got angry heart rate and blood pressure go up! That is why sometimes we see ourselves turning “red”, or like that in the movie “Hulk” when he got angry it turn him into a “huge green monster”.
There are also different ways in expressing it, some people they can be physical to others and throwing things, others shouted and lashed out unpleasant words it sounds like a “volcanic eruption” or others they will just keep silent but with deadly thoughts of revenge. Remember Absalom never said a word to Amnon, either good or bad; he hated Amnon because he had disgraced his sister Tamar, then two years later He let Amnon be killed by his men.( 2 Samuel 13) In all these ways uncontrolled anger is harmful and unhealthy. Often times like any other negative emotions anger is also a result of “cause and effect” circumstances.
The Bible recorded examples of uncontrolled anger that even God’s chosen servants fell to its dangerous trap.
- Moses- lost his temper because of constant murmuring and complaining of Israelites in the wilderness, his patience reached its limits, in his anger he struck the rock twice instead of simply speaking to it to brought forth water. Because of it God did not allow Moses to lead Israel into the promise land. ( Numbers 20)
- Esau- because of bitterness in his heart after losing Isaacs’ blessing and birthright to Jacob, he wanted revenge and plan to kill Jacob.
- King Ahab- got angry because he could not control Naboth’s decision to sell his land to him, in spite of him being a powerful king, Ahab just withdrew and began to sulk, his selfishness and greed leads to Naboth’s murder by Jezebel. (1 King 21)
- King Saul – because of pride and jealousy got angry with David’s success. ( 1 Samuel 18)
- Cain – because his heart was not right with God, instead of taking personal responsibility for his mistakes he blamed Abel. Instead of addressing the issues in his own heart he saw the problem as being something wrong with Abel.
How about us? What makes us angry? It is important to know what triggers your anger, and finds ways to respond wisely rather than to react foolishly that can cause harm to us and others too.
And in the scriptures we read today, records the first murder in history of mankind caused by anger. Two brothers brought an offering to the Lord, Abel’s offering was accepted and looked with favor by the Lord but Cain’s offering was rejected. Because unlike Abel who offered his best gift to the Lord in faith and righteousness, Cain on the other hand lacked a sincerely obedient faith and because his deeds were evil, as the Scriptures says “If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door”
God even instructed Cain and warned him, that sin (which is of Anger) its desire is for you, but you should rule over it.” So Cain did not just do what is right before the Lord but also disobey God’s words of instruction to him and so Cain murdered his brother Abel.(1 John3:12)
In your anger do not sin”: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, 27 and do not give the devil a foothold. (Ephesians 4:26-27) The Scripture validates our feeling of anger or our rights to get angry (for valid reasons) but nevertheless does not encourages us to remain angry and therefore sin. Being angry is not a bad thing, unless we do it in a biblical way. It is the way that Christians should respond to evil and injustice. However, it should be expressed out of love and thoughtfulness – not bitterness, revenge, or hatred.
There were several instances written in the Bible when Jesus himself got angry, and yet he remain sinless because he was angry at the injustices done by religious leaders prioritizing religious rituals over human needs “Which is lawful on the Sabbath: to do good or to do evil, to save a life or to kill?” (Mark 3:4). Jesus is indignant when he flipped merchant tables in the Temple “‘My house will be called a house of prayer,’ but you are making it ‘a den of robbers.” Jesus got angry because of dishonoring God’s house. (John 2:13-17) In these passages, God demonstrates his righteous anger, but his anger is directed to sinful act not to sinners, because Jesus did not insult those religious leaders rather he speaks truth to them, he over-turned tables but not lay hands on those merchants.
Jesus teaches us the differences between righteous anger and unrighteous anger and even shows us how to righteously respond and overcomes it. The scriptures also talked about God being angry, so let us not downplay that truth and sugar coated it that God is love and he can’t be angry! As his love is infinitely incomprehensible, so are his displeasure, hate, anger, wrath, and vengeance. In Psalm 86:15 “But you, O Lord, are a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness.” Psalm 30:5 “For his anger lasts only a moment, but his favor lasts a lifetime; these scriptures tell us God is slow to angry and His anger is last just for a moment. Now God’s anger is not as the same as God’s wrath. God’s anger and wrath must always be seen in relation to his maintaining and defending his attributes of love and holiness, as well as his righteousness and justice. God revealed his displeasure when, placing a curse on Cain, he banished him, just like how he banished Adam and Eve from the Garden, nevertheless God did not stop loving them. Just as we are, our sin and disobedience brings him displeasure but still His love covers multitudes of our sins. God’s wrath or the wrath of God is His judgment, the consequences of evil because God is Holy and righteous.
Be angry but do not sin! Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. (Ephesians 4:31) Refrain from anger and turn from wrath;
do not fret—it leads only to evil.- (Psalm 37:8) Stop being angry! Why? Because uncontrolled anger leads only to harm, think it this way when we are angry we are one step away from danger. Nursing or harboring anger in our hearts gives devil a foothold an opening door for hatred and such Human anger for whatever reason, in all of its forms does not produced the righteousness that God desires. (James 1:20)
The Danger of Anger in our hearts
- It destroys relationship and unity (2 Corinthians 12:20.
- It only leads to harm (Psalm 37:8)
- It will make you do foolish things – A quick-tempered person does foolish things, one who is quick-tempered displays folly. ( Proverbs 14:17,29)
- It breeds hatred and to hate is like a murder –Whoever hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him ( 1 John 3:15)
- It makes us restless wanderer like Cain.
There is no peace,” says the Lord, “for the wicked.” (Isaiah 48:22)
- It subject us to face God’s judgment. –But I tell you that anyone who is angry with a brother or sister will be subject to judgment. (Matthew 5:22) Because of these the wrath of God is coming! (Colossians 3:6-8)
How to overcome Anger in our hearts?
- Be born again! Let the love of God dwells in our heart. “God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us. (Romans 5:5)
- Renew and transformed our minds in Christ Jesus ( Romans 12:2)
- Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts.
- Be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry. (James 1:19)
A soft and gentle and thoughtful answer turns away wrath (Proverbs 15:1)
Lastly and most importantly even after you did numbers 1 to 4, and still feel the nudges of anger
- Do it Jesus ways!!!–
‘Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps.22 “He committed no sin, and no deceit was found in his mouth.” 23 When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly. (1 Peter 2:21-23)
Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. 18 If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. 19 Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,”[d] says the Lord.
- Forgives! Turn from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it. (Psalm 34:14)