First Time Anger

First Time Anger

by Pastor Vinnie Cappetta

Genesis 4:8-10

A lady once came to Billy Sunday and tried to rationalize her angry outbursts. "There’s nothing wrong with losing my temper," she said. "I blow up, and then it’s all over." "So does a shotgun," Sunday replied, "and look at the damage it leaves behind!" 

Anger can be a very deadly emotion if not held in check by the Holy Spirit. In this scripture, Cain became angry at both God and his brother because his offering was not accepted by God but his brother’s offering was accepted. Cain had a choice-he could do it God’s way and be accepted or he could do it his way and allow sin to take over his life (Gen.4:7). Cain kept doing it his own way, and became angrier with God and his brother. Eventually his anger became so great and he took his brother’s life (Gen. 4:8).

Jim, a police officer with a difficult beat, usually ended his shift with a frustration level near 100 percent and patience near zero. He'd arrive home sullen and withdrawn—intimidating his wife and three-year-old son.

After Jim shared his struggles with a small group of men, an ex-soldier challenged him to try something that had worked for him. "Jim, don't walk in the door until you've stopped to do a 'palms down-palms up.' It's the best thing I know to get out the bad air and bring in the good."

Jim's friend suggested that he park and, sitting in his squad car, place his palms down on his thighs, close his eyes, and pray—sharing with the Lord the hurtful, anger-producing situations of that shift, and confessing his own sin. Then Jim was to turn his palms up, praising God and asking Jesus to fill him with His love, patience, and understanding as he walked in the door to see his family.

The results were dramatic. Jim's son went from standing back while his father stomped into the house, to running to Daddy's car. His wife went from worrying if things could get any worse to praising God for how much her husband had grown. — Story recounted by John Trent in Christian Parenting Today

I wonder how things would have been different had Cain known about the palms down-palms up prayer?   

From this first mention of the word “anger” in the Bible, we learn that anger can be very destructive. Can you think of a time when anger became destructive in your life?

After Cain’s bogus offering, God gave him a second chance to make things right. With God there is always a way of escape (1 Corinthians 10:13). In what ways has God allowed you to escape from angry, destructive thoughts or actions?