In the course of time Cain brought to the Lord an offering of the fruit of the ground, and Abel also brought of the firstborn of his flock and of their fat portions. And the Lord had regard for Abel and his offering, but for Cain and his offering he had no regard. So Cain was very angry, and his face fell. The Lord said to Cain, “Why are you angry, and why has your face fallen? If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door. Its desire is contrary to you, but you must rule over it.” Cain spoke to Abel his brother. And when they were in the field, Cain rose up against his brother Abel and killed him. (Genesis 4:3-8 ESV)
There must have been something wrong with Cain’s offering for the Lord to reject it. For God said, “If you do well, will you not be accepted?” Cain’s anger moved him to do the unthinkable, murder his own brother. Why did he not ask the Lord about the reason why his sacrifice was not acceptable? Were his motives wrong? Did he offer tainted fruit? I wonder what life could have been like for Cain if he had sought the Lord’s counsel.
This is a lesson on how an uncontrolled anger can make matters worse for anyone. The Lord warned Cain. He said, “Sin is crouching at the door. Its desire is contrary to you, but you must rule over it.” He was given a choice and his free will remained intact; there was no coercion from God.
“Be angry but do not sin” is what comes to my mind and it is very sound advice. We don’t want to misplace our anger. We want to understand its root cause and seek ways to either focus it on doing something productive and positive, or allow it to dissipate as we patiently wait for the adrenalin to stop coursing through our bodies.
God will show us a better way to manage our anger. We just need to ask him and listen before doing anything irrational.