Anger Management 101

August 8, 2014

“So the Lord said to Cain, “Why are you angry? If you do right, will you not be accepted?” (Genesis 4:7-8)

This is the familiar biblical story of the first two brothers on the face of the earth.  We might call Abel “Mr. Acceptable” and his brother Cain “Mr. Unacceptable” for good reason.  They had both presented offerings to God.  Because Abel was in a right relationship with God, his offering was acceptable.  Because Cain was not, his offering was unacceptable.

In response to this Cain was angry; in fact, he was so angry he beat his brother to death.  In this context, God asked Cain the question,“Why are you angry?” He also asked Cain essentially, “If you get your stuff together will you not be acceptable?”  God was offering Cain a choice.  He could get right and be acceptable  to God or he could go through life beating Abels to death – one Abel after another.

When we are angry we should always ask, “Who is the source, and the true object of my anger?” I personally believe Cain was angry with Cain because he was not in a right relationship with God.  He was transferring his self anger to his brother.  Have you ever done that?  Are you doing that now?

Jesus provided a commentary on this story when He told hypercritical people they were like those who look for specks of sawdust in the eyes of others while they have logs sticking out of their eyes (Matthew 7: 1-5).  If you are the angry person, listen carefully to God as He questions Cain or to Jesus in these verses.  Get right and be acceptable.  Get the log out of your eye.  Don’t go through life magnifying specks and beating up Abels.

Dick Woodward, 11 May 2011


Specks and Planks

June 15, 2012

“Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.” (Matthew 7: 3-5 NIV)

Jesus had a great sense of humor; I have long imagined He spoke these words with a smile on His face.  They are, however, very wise and profound words.  The way we perceive other people has everything to do with our relationships with them.

The story is told of two psychiatrists who rode the same subway every day to their office building.  Every morning one got off the elevator at the sixth floor and the other at the tenth floor.  One morning before the sixth floor psychiatrist got off the elevator he spit in the face of the other psychiatrist.  This happened every morning that week. On Friday the elevator operator asked the tenth floor psychiatrist, “Aren’t you going to do something about this?” He responded, “That’s not my problem.  That’s his problem.  He has a problem.  He spits on people.  But that’s not my problem.  He needs to get his head read.”

Very few of us are that secure.  But if we were we would know that it takes a strong person to not retaliate.  If we have a wholesome and positive evaluation of ourselves, and others with whom we have relationships, we would not play games like specks and planks.