Cain had a problem with anger. Cain and Abel were the sons of Adam and Eve. Cain was a tiller of the ground and Abel was a keeper of sheep. Over time the process came to make an offering as part of a worship service to God.
Cain offered fruit of the ground and Abel offered the firstborn of his flock and their fat (something of special value). Abel could have brought any one of the animals from his flock but choose the one he felt had special value.
Cain did his duty but Abel offered his best.
Cain grew angry because God respected and favored Abel’s offering but not his and his favor, good will, and kindness fell.
Cain should have been angry at himself for giving with the wrong heart, for giving out of duty instead of good will. But instead, Cain mistargeted his anger and was furious with Abel.
Cain’s original anger could be seen as a positive response– He was angry that he did not find favor/respect from God. However, his anger was not dealt with properly and it became a deadly weapon searching for a new target, in this particular case it was Abel.
God warned Cain about staying angry and offered him another opportunity saying, “If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin lies at the door. And its desire is for you, but you should rule over it.” (Genesis 4:7)
Cain talked with Abel in a field. While talking Cain allowed his anger to control him and he killed his brother. His anger turned into murderous jealousy, and Cain did not benefit one bit from Abel’s death. It did not stop there; Cain denied what he had done to Abel when confronted by God; he was not remorseful nor did he show repentance.
Cain became stuck in his anger, guilt, and shame.
Cain’s lack of control over his anger demonstrates how it can lead to more destructive behavior.
The key here is that it is okay to be angry, but it is not okay to stay angry.
We need to exercise self-control over our anger. If we do not rule over it, it will rule over all areas of our life. Uncontrolled anger and avoidance of dealing with its cause is a recipe for further destructive behavior.
These emotional responses are part of our human nature, but we need to be sure we are not bottling up emotions like anger or avoiding dealing with their root causes. When we invite God to help us identify the causes of our anger and what corrective measures we need to take regarding it; anger can become a great tool rather than something that rules our life.
God’s Word gives us a lot of great advice on anger. We need to be careful what we say and what do when we are angry. One of the scriptures that stick out most to me with the message of Cain’s anger in killing Abel is “Be angry, and do not sin.” (Ephesians 4:26)
Do you struggle with staying angry? If so, what do you feel God is saying to you through the example of Cain’s anger problem?
Have you asked God to show you what is causing you to feel angry and stay angry? If so, what is it, if not, do you feel God is leading you to ask Him now?
What is one thing that stood out most to you about the account of Cain killing his brother Abel?
Call to Action
Make the choice today to take your anger, guilt, shame, and all sin to God.
Lay every one down at His feet. Ask Him to show you the roots of any anger you may be holding on to. Ask God how to make steps to correct it.
Ask Him to show you how to express your anger in a healthy way– ‘be angry and not sin.”
Thank you Lord for Your guidance and example of uncontrolled anger in the Bible. Lord I confess we are all guilty of harboring anger and allowing it to get the best of us, myself included. I pray that you would use the story of Cain and Abel to speak to those who read this message. Show them what You are warning us about through this scripture.
Lord, I pray that each person would be guided by Your hand; that You would touch each person’s heart and help them to heal from whatever circumstances are causing them to hold on to anger. Lord, expose to each person what You want us to learn from this account regarding our anger and being in control over it.
God, You are mighty and just, You deliver us out of the hand of the wicked one and set us upon Your rock. Help each one of us understand that being angry is okay but the danger comes in staying angry. I declare today that You are in control of our feelings and You will protect us from the schemes of satan. I declare every chain of harbored anger would be broken, I declare healing from any hurt that is causing us to hold on to anger, I declare that Jesus is in control of our lives and no scheme or plot from satan will harm us.
Thank you Father for being a good Father. A Father who never fails us and is always near ready to help His children out of any trouble they may face. It is in Jesus name I pray.