Then the Lord said to Cain, “Why are you angry? …
it desires to have you, but you must rule over it.”
Is it wrong to be angry?
No. Ephesians 4:26 “In your anger do not sin”: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry,
God’s warning to Cain in Genesis 4:6-7 was to think about why you are angry and to be aware that anger can turn into sin and develop rage, hatred, murder.
healthy vs unhealthy anger
What is the difference between healthy and unhealthy anger? The answer is ‘who is in control‘. When people let anger control them, it becomes unhealthy anger. Unhealthy anger can block one’s love and even overcome one’s ability to think clearly. Unhealthy anger can develop into years and rage, revenge, and bitterness.
Healthy anger is when we allow the Holy Spirit to help us focus our anger on righting wrongs, or confronting evil. Or we can even be angry at ourselves for our failures, using anger to motivate and energize our efforts and our dependence on God.
Martin Luther said “When I am angry, I can write, pray, and preach well for my whole temperament is quickened and my understanding is sharpened.” For myself, anger against the devil does help me focus on the real enemy and off of people and their actions. Our enemy is not people, our enemy is satan. Ephesians 6:10-12 “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.”
Bad anger can come from blaming someone else for our bad decisions. Cain’s anger raged at Able because his sacrifice was accepted. But the real problem was Cain’s disobedience in his own sacrifice.
People don’t “lose” their temper, they “choose” it.
How can we work through anger? (from Gary Oliver )
- Be aware of anger. Be aware of what triggers anger in you and how your body responds.
- Accept responsibility for anger. Adam blamed Eve & God, Eve blamed the serpent, Cain blamed Able. “So and so made me angry.” In reality, we choose our anger. It’s a choice. Take responsibility for the emotion.
- Identify the source of anger. Anger is a secondary emotion that is in response to a primary experience like hurt, frustration, or fear. Anger can also be a defense mechanism to keep others away.
- Choose how to invest our anger energy. This is the most critical step. We cannot always control when we experience anger, but we can choose how to express it. With God’s help and being honest with ourselves and others we can channel anger away from sin and into healing, forgiveness, and prayer against the real enemy of our souls.
But who can discern their own errors? Forgive my hidden faults.
Keep your servant also from willful sins; may they not rule over me.
Then I will be blameless, innocent of great transgression.
May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight,
Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.
Remember, you don’t lose your temper, you choose it. Allow God and the power of His scriptures keep your emotional lightnside shining bright and healthy.