Slow Down…

The Bible says in 1 Corinthians 13:5c love is not easily angered.  Anger is one of the most devastating of all human emotions and has been so since the beginning of man.  The story of Cain and Abel recorded in Genesis 4 demonstrates this, “3Now Abel kept flocks, and Cain worked the soil. In the course of time Cain brought some of the fruits of the soil as an offering to the Lord. And Abel also brought an offering—fat portions from some of the firstborn of his flock. The Lord looked with favor on Abel and his offering, but on Cain and his offering he did not look with favor. So, Cain was very angry, and his face was downcast. Then the Lord said to Cain, “Why are you angry? Why is your face downcast? 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; it desires to have you, but you must rule over it.” Now Cain said to his brother Abel, “Let’s go out to the field.” While they were in the field, Cain attacked his brother Abel and killed him.”

Let’s go back and analyze this story.  One of the sons of Adam, Abel, was a shepherd (“kept flock”).  The other brother, Cain, farmed (“worked the soil”).  From the beginning of man, there was recognition that there must be a sacrifice of blood to cover our sins pointing to the sacrifice of Christ.  Through our own righteousness and works, we cannot please God.  Abel brought before Him a blood sacrifice which was pleasing to God.  However, Cain brought before Him a sacrifice of works which did not please God.  Cain became very angry, and his face was downcast.  God intervened and warned Cain, 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; it desires to have you, but you must rule over it.”

  1. God let Cain know that his sacrifice was not acceptable.
  2. He told him to do what is right.
  3. If you do not do what is right, you act independently of God and sin. You put yourself in the place of God.  Look at the poignant description from God, “sin is crouching at your door (deception!), it desires to have you (you will fall to its influence living separate from God in darkness).”
  4. Then God told Cain that he must choose to “rule over sin.”
  5. However, Cain chose to sin. He was angry at God that his sacrifice of works was not accepted.  He bitterly envied Abel and killed him.  James 3 declares 16 For where you have bitter envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice

I betcha if you interviewed Cain, he would have blamed Abel for his actions.  “Mr. Goodie two shoes parading around as if he owned the world and drove me mad!”  Rather that listening to God, he chose to act from his anger.  I don’t know how many times I have heard a person blame another for their actions.  The fruit of the Spirit described in Galatians 5 says that His Spirit will give us self-control.  God does not give us other-control.  We have a choice how we as believers behave!  Don’t play the blame game.  It is a faulty, weak excuse for anger.

A very powerful verse shows us how to live relative to anger.  James 5: 19-20 explains, 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. Slow the game down!  Hit the pause button.  Psychologist will tell you that when your heart beats >  99 heartbeats per minute, you are operating out from anger and no longer using the cognitive part of your brain.  And, it takes a minimum of 20 minutes to bring your heartbeat in line to discuss things in a Godly way.  Slow down…

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