Anger often comes out sideways

By Dave Henning / September 23, 2023

“Instead of looking in the mirror and asking himself some hard questions, [Cain] directed his anger at Abel. . . .  Anger with ourselves over our failures and shortcomings comes out sideways and gets redirected to the people around us.”- Kyle Idleman

“The LORD looked with favor on Abel and his offering, but on Cain and his offering he did not look with favor.  Then the LORD said to Cain, ‘Why are you angry?  Why is your face downcast?’ “- Genesis 2:4-6 (NIV)

In Chapter 4 (“I’ve Had Enough: The Frustration Meter”) of When Your Way Isn’t Working, Kyle Idleman talks about the first time we see anger in the Bible.  In Genesis 4, Cain directs his anger toward his brother Abel.

Consequently, God asks Cain to stop, look, and examine his feelings.  In other words, don’t just feel your feeling.  Instead, Cain needs to ask himself why he feels the way he feels.  To figure out where his anger originates.

However, Pastor Idleman notes, the Bible gives no specific reason for Cain’s anger.  Yet, Cain’s jealousy of Abel seems clear.  Because Cain seems to think he isn’t being treated fairly.  Furthermore, Kyle sees Cain’s actions in Genesis 4 as the tipping point.  The culmination of a long history between the brothers.

So, Cain’s angry with Abel — or at least he thinks he is.  But that begs the question: What did Abel do to him?  Nothing.

As a result, Pastor Idleman posits, Cain really felt angry with himself.  Since his way wasn’t working — and he knew it.  Yet, he failed to look in the mirror and ask himself the necessary hard questions.

In conclusion, as we see in Genesis 4, God looks first at the person and then at the offering.  Abel’s offering reflects his connection with God.  He gives to God before doing anything else.  Cain, though, in essence takes note of what’s left over — and gives the leftovers to God.

Today’s question: When does your anger often come out sideways?  Please share.

Tomorrow’s blog: “Flashing light – car dashboard”

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Dave Henning

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