Wednesday, January 2
Get rid of anger!
Scripture: Genesis 3-5, Luke 2
Genesis 4:4–8 And the Lord had regard for Abel and for his offering; 5 but for Cain and for his offering He had no regard. So Cain became very angry and his countenance fell. 6 Then the Lord said to Cain, “Why are you angry? And why has your countenance fallen? 7 If you do well, will not your countenance be lifted up? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door; and its desire is for you, but you must master it.”
8 Cain told Abel his brother. And it came about when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother and killed him.
Here is the first mention of anger in the Bible. Cain was angry that the Lord accepted his brother’s offering, but not his. He was angry with God and with his brother. The Lord confronts him: “Why are you angry? This is about your choices. You can do well or not. If you do, you’ll be happy. If you don’t, sin is trying to master you.”
And sin did. In his anger, Cain killed his brother. Anger led to murder. It’s not the only place in the Bible where these two are linked. In Matthew 5:21-24, Jesus makes it clear that murder starts in the heart as anger. Anger contains the seeds of murder.
Get rid of anger! Anger, like alcohol, never made anyone smarter.
James wrote: “My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, 20 because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires.” James 1:19–20. Anger doesn’t produce righteousness, but sin.
Paul wrote: “Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice.” Ephesians 4:31. Get rid of all anger.
What about righteous anger? That seems to be God’s domain—leave that to him. What about injustice? Of course you’ll feel anger. But don’t hang on to it. Instead of just feeling anger, take action to redress the injustice—but that action must ultimately be motivated by love, not anger. When anger motivates us, it leads to trouble—it’s always tainted by our selfishness.
Currently, I’m reading Unoffendable, by Brant Hansen. It’s a helpful book on getting rid of all anger, refusing to be offended, giving up judging and instead, forgiving. Worthwhile read.
Prayer: Lord, with Your help, I will give up my anger and my right to be offended. Instead, I will choose to forgive, to let go, to love, and to trust You.