“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