Today’s devotional: the corrosive power of anger

Few Bible stories are as well-known as that of Cain and Abel. It’s the story of the first murder, and you probably know how it goes: God is pleased with Abel’s sacrifice but displeased with Cain’s; rather than repent and do what pleases God, Cain decides to murder his brother in a fit of jealous rage.

In this devotional from Lifetime Guarantee Ministries, Anabel Gillham muses about Cain’s motivation:

How much time did Cain spend brooding over the honor that Abel was given? What thoughts did Cain practice over and over in his mind?

Hurt pride? “My offering was as good as his. I’d spent just as much time on mine.”

Self-pity? “I did the very best I could do. Why do things like this happen to me? Nothing seems to go right–no matter how hard I try.”

Failure? “Seems like my best is never quite good enough. I just don’t do things well–never have, never will.”

Jealousy? “If only I had thought of doing that. He was always the favorite.

Resentment? “Why should his offering be accepted and mine not be accepted? Any way you look at it, that’s not fair!”

Rejection? “How could God treat me this way? Why was my offering turned down? What’s wrong with me?”

Bitterness? “I don’t have to put up with stuff like this. And I don’t intend to put up with it! I’ll take care of this my way. I’m sick of Abel and everything about him! I’ll show him!”

The full fruit of anger, ripe. Cain probably felt and thought a lot of other things before he felt and chose revenge. One little thing plus another little thing plus other little things and suddenly you have a mountain of little things you can’t see around, a mountain that comes between you and that person and there’s death on that mountain.

Abel played out his part, too….

(Read the full devotional for Anabel’s thoughts on what Abel might have done to help Cain steer clear of sin.)

The most frightening thing about the story of Cain and Abel is that Cain’s terrible action isn’t incomprehensible. It was driven by emotions that are familiar to us even today: resentment, jealousy, self-pity. Thankfully, most of us don’t follow those emotions as far as Cain did… but the anger that consumed Cain is the same sin that wants to consume us, too. Fortunately, as the devotional explains, Christ offers freedom from the power of anger.

When you feel your anger rising, what do you do to keep it in check? Do you have a favorite verse that helps you in situations where you’re tempted to let your anger control your actions?

11 Responses to “Today’s devotional: the corrosive power of anger”

  • Ron Kay says:

    Here is a help for those with anger…..

    Here are some tips for handling anger (Colossians 3:8):

    1. Anger is a natural defense reaction we all have, so, be sure you handle it as God calls us to. Resolve it quickly (Ecclesiastes 7:9; Ephesians 4:26)!

    2. Anger can help you protect yourself, but, make sure it is not your fuel to rationalize yourself out of your responsibility (1 Samuel 31:4)!

    3. It is OK to be angry; it is how you handle it that matters. Try to spend time in prayer, and read the Psalms to calm you down! Go for a walk (do not take a drive!) or exercise to help release your stress. Make sure you are praying for those causing you frustrations (Acts 24:16).

    4. Focus on Christ, and His interests, not your own. Place your anger in His management (Philippians 2:4).

    5. Focus on the root cause of anger, not the person, or situation (Proverbs 29:11)!

    6. Ask yourself, have I analyzed the circumstances correctly, or am I overreacting? As a pastor, I would say that 95% of people overreact!

    7. Ask for help from an impartial friend, counselor, or pastor, to help you through it. Make sure you do not aim your anger at them (Matthew 5:23-24)!

    8. Ask yourself, why am I angry? Why do I feel this way? What I did I do to spur this on? Why am I threatened? What are my “hot buttons,” the things that cause me to be excessively angry? Will my anger be a benefit, or a hindrance? Am I focused on God, or my expectations and comfort? How will my anger benefit my spiritual growth, my witness, and God’s call in my life? There is a bigger picture and reason to life than what you may be feeling (Proverbs 15:18; 29:22)!

    9. Seek what your part is in it, and resolve it. Do not rationalize everything as a personal attack upon you. You will do far better to focus on the problem, not the people, or yourself (Matthew 7:1-5).

    10. Perhaps God is using you to confront someone; if so, do it with tact (Proverbs 15:1; Ephesians 4:15-25).

    11. Realize that sometimes, there is no outlet for your anger, because, it could hurt someone more than help. However, you can always go to God with it. You can also try to write it down in a journal (Psalm 10:1-18; I Peter 5:6-7)!

    12. Do you have un-confessed sin? We all do, so, repent! Un-confessed sin will quickly become rationalized and projected onto others, which will fuel your insecurity and anger (Matthew 7:11; 2 Corinthians 5:7)!

    13. Anger can teach us about ourselves, our weaknesses, and areas we need to improve on, as well as how we treat events and people around us. Anger will show real love. The key is being able to honestly look at yourself, at what you need to “put off” and, to “put on”. So, seek Christ, and improve, with His precepts working in you (Proverbs 14:17; 29:11; Ephesians 4:22–24: 1 Peter 4:8)!

    14. Anger can spur on Forgiveness, the essential component to healing relationships (Matthew 5:43-46; 6:12; Ephesians 4:32-5:2).

    15. Let Scripture guide you in how you handle yourself, not the waves of your emotions (Matthew 18:15; Romans 12:17-21; Colossians 3:16)!

    16. You cannot change people; so, keep your focus on the power of Christ, that can change lives and attitudes (Philippians 4:13).

    17. Anger is no excuse to lose control of your emotions, or, to put others down. Learn how to react more slowly, and see the situation from a bigger perspective (Proverbs 14:29; Ephesians 4:32; Psalm 4:4; 103: 11-12).

    18. Never let anger turn into hatred or bitterness. If you do, you will be far away from God’s will (Proverbs 16:14; Zephaniah 3:8; James 1:19, 20)!

    19. People will disappoint you, and, at times, be better than you! Be aware that jealousy, un-forgiveness, and envy will incite your anger. Expect it, and have a plan to handle it (Proverbs 3:31; 6:32-35; 23:17; 27:4).

    20. When a bomb is dropped on you, do not hang on to it; let it go, or it will explode! You have to come to a point where you let the anger go. If not, you may repress it to explode at a later, inopportune time, or, it will fester inside you, building into bitterness (Proverbs 10:18).

    21. You may not be able to change your situation, but, you can change yourself. Letting Anger go can only happen from a growing and or mature relationship with Christ. You cannot do it alone (Proverbs 29:11; Hebrews 4:12)!

    22. How you handle anger is directly related to how you understand your relationship with Christ. This will shape your view of people and events, and build the maturity to handle all that life throws at you. Thus, time spent in His Word and in prayer will shape you greatly, and make you one who behaves as a wise person, and not the fool of Proverbs fame. If you want to change your feelings, then you need to change your thinking (Romans 12:2)!

    23. A lot of times we become angry because we are selfish, or have skewed ideas or expectations of God. His concern is our growth and maturity, not our wealth or comfort. When we change our thinking, we will change our feelings (Romans 12; 2 Corinthians 5:16-19)!

    24. Learn to trust and have confidence in God, and not in your situation. Our security is in Christ, and nothing else (Psalm 23:4; 27:1-14; Proverbs 1:7; 3:3-10; Hebrews 11:6; James 1:17)!

    25. Remember this important point; God uses people and circumstances to improve your character. So, make the most of your harsh circumstances, and surrender yourselves to Christ as Lord (Galatians 2:20-21; 5:16; 1 Peter 4:12-16)!

    • Lissy says:

      Being a new mom has definitely taken me for a loop. As beautiful as it is I never imagined I would be so stressed out and tired. I have been taking steps to let go of what ever preconceived ideas I had of motherhood and really put my trust in God. At times I become so angry and I feel like a little girl crying out for help.

      This devotional as well as your response has helped me today and will help me in the future. Thank you so much for reminding me that it is not about me. In the past I have not won my struggle with anger but I am determined to not pass this own to my baby.

      Thanks again and God Bless You

  • Claire says:

    At times when I get angry, I keep this verse in mind:

    And don’t sin by letting anger control you. Don’t let the sun go down while you are still angry. And do not give the devil an opportunity to work. Ephesians 4:26-27

  • Lori says:

    This is a great guide to controlling your anger. I loved reading through it.

  • Patty says:

    Ron Thank you so much for what you posted. I’m struggling with anger right now. My apartment was burglarized and vandalized. The 16 year old that was in involved still lives in the apartment under me AND I still keep finding things missing each day. Things that have no monetary value but were priceless to me. Like a pringles can my son covered with construction paper and glitter to make a bank when he was in 2nd grade. Now he’s 18. I can never get that back if they don’t still have it. I’m seeking counseling because I’m scared of how angry I get with some of these things. Some things are just annoying but with others I feel REALLY angry. So thank you for your post. I think it will help.

    • Pastor Ford says:

      Dear Patti,

      I once thought of the things that we hold on to as priceless, and to our carnal self they are, but to our spiritual self they should be dead. I know how this can feel and how it hurts, please try and forgive those that do you wrong because Christ did even on the cross he told the Father, “they know not what they do!”

      If this helps you, it is not they that stole your things, it was the devil they allowed into themselves. Use righteous anger against the Devil and go and share the gospel with this person with a humble heart and watch what God will di with that life because of a pringle can. God allows things to take place for a specific reason, never happenchance. Know that God loves you and I do as well. Go ye therefore and preach the Gospel of Christ Jesus.

      Pastor Ford

  • Neil says:

    I struggle with rage and anger.
    I know one thing to be true.
    We cannot control others.
    Only ourselves.
    Pray for me.
    Thank you.

    • Pastor Ford says:

      Please read the reply to Patti. We MUST forgive those that do wrong unto us. Please do not die with unforgiveness in your heart it would be devastating to you eternally.

      Jesus said to forgive 70X7….That means forever, because we are just pilgrims on this earth, if we have accepted Jesus as our savior, due to the devil having control of the earth for the present time. In being pilgrims we must not get caught up with the things of this world, because we are just passing through, and are not a permanent fixture.. Be free my fellow pilgrim and the peace shall set you free! Victory

  • Neil says:

    Thank you for the article. My anger arises when I am hiding something usually. Please pray for me to be able to control my mood and anger.
    Thank you

  • Pastor Ford says:

    Please do not hide anything for the Lord your God, he sees and knows everything. Pray to be delivered of your anger, it is a spirit bothering you because you have done something to or around yourself that have caused the spirit of anger to be with you. It also can be caused by someone else coming to you and while they had the spirit of anger they approached you and caused you to become angry with them thus made it where you also acquired the same spirit. Do not partake in the things of the world, Satan will never come to you as Satan, he will always be disguised, PLEASE remember that!

  • Fernando says:

    What is that spirit of anger? I thought I already have the Spirit of God inside me why cant I control my anger and dont have patience to people???