Why Are You Angry?
Christian Devotional by Pastor Cecil Thompson
“Then the LORD said to Cain, ‘Why are you angry? Why is your face downcast? If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door, it desires to have you, but you must master it.’ “
Contrary to popular principle and practice, anger is not a right and acceptable way to deal with the stresses of life. I have heard comments that it is better to explode in anger rather than to let it eat at you from the inside.
That may sound logical, but is it true? It is well to recall that it was shortly after God spoke these words to Cain that he slew his brother Abel. His anger led to his becoming guilty of the first murder in the history of mankind.
God speaks His wisdom concerning anger and resentment in His counsel to Cain: “If you do what is right, will you not be accepted?” Of course the answer is, “Yes.” God is not pleased with our anger, He desires that we do what is right in God’s eyes.
I can almost hear screams of protest from readers who are experiencing the pressures and circumstances of your life. These tempt you to explode in anger. That is not justification for anger, but excuse making! God is not interested in your justification of the circumstances that cause explosive outbursts. He simply instructs us to do right.
As I think about the things in my own life that generate anger, it is most often times when people mistreat me or the ones I care about. Humans tend to be fragile creatures. (We pastors are no exception). We give of our life, time and careful concern to members of our flock, only to see them slip away from their walk with the Lord. It hurts when we think of all of the time and effort we have spent praying and working with these people.
The reality is that we have to deal with our personal anger and resentment. A pastor’s anger is no more justified that anyone else’s anger. What was it that God said to Cain? “Do what is right!” It applies to each and every one of us.
James gives a very clear word of instruction concerning this topic. James 1:19-22 says, “My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, for man’s anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires. Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the Word planted in you, which can save you. Do not merely listen to the Word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.”
That is the answer! We are to get the filth of the world out of our life and the Word of God into our life. When James uses the phrase; “which can save you,” he is not talking of personal salvation, but rather the saving of us from our anger.
James is writing to the “brothers” who know the Lord, but who allow the garbage of the world to cause an angry reaction. This should not be! James urges us to have more Word of God, less worldly filth and evil. That will result in a life that is under the control of our Savior and Lord, Jesus Christ. I hope this does not make you angry!
Blessings dear hearts. Walk with God today. Trust Him completely and be a blessing.
— Pastor Cecil
Insights on John – Chuck Swindoll
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Insights on John is part of the 15-volume Swindoll’s Living Insights New Testament Commentary series. This newly revised and expanded edition draws on Gold Medallion Award–winner Chuck Swindoll’s 50 years of experience with studying and preaching God’s Word. His deep insight, signature easygoing style, and humor bring a warmth and practical accessibility not often found in commentaries.