Summary: Introductory Comments 1.
1. Did you do homework assignment this week? Last week I asked you to prepare for today’s message. Are you prepared? I asked that you think of the name or names of the people that you are angry with. For some of you that may have been very easy, for others somewhat more difficult.
2. As we hear word of God today, think of these names and ask how you can apply what God says to you in regard to the anger you feel toward that person.
3. I promised last week that we would deal with our anger, but I cannot deal with in on your behalf, only you can. And so I suggest we do one thing before we go on, and that is that we ask God to enable us to face our anger and deal with it according to His will. Let us pray.
1. To help us deal with anger it is important to understand how anger works. And to do that we consider the first biblical account of one person being angry with another. We look at Cain and his anger.
2. The first step in the birth of anger is our thoughts in reaction to something that happens or is said. We may say the first step is the thing or event that triggers our action. But that would be blaming the event for our anger and as we said last week we are responsible for our anger - we cannot blame anything or anyone else. Our thoughts or thinking is really our perception of what has taken place.
3. In our passage both Cain and Abel bring offerings to God. The problem for Cain is that God looked with favour on Abel and his offering and He did not look down with favour on Cain and his offering. This is the situation. How does Cain perceive it?
4. Cain perceives the problem as being Abel. Abel did him one up. He gave a better sacrifice. He needs to be dealt with because as long as he is around God will always like him more and bless him more. Get rid of Cain and the problem is gone.
5. This thinking, as we know is wrong. If Cain could have seen the situation differently, then his anger may not ever have developed. If Cain could have seen that the problem was not with Abel but with himself. If he could have seen how Abel gave his best to the Lord and how he had just brought SOME of the fruit of the soil. If he could have seen that he had to deal with his own attitude toward God. If somehow he could have seen that he was really interest in getting God’s favour rather than offering to God simply to honour God and show His faith in Him. If he could have figured out what God told him later "If you do what is right, will you not be accepted?"
6. How we perceive a situation affects how we respond to it. A husband come home late from work again. His wife is upset. Her thoughts are about how she has been made to wait for him. Supper is overcooked and the children are restless. How could he be so inconsiderate? Perhaps she is not aware that the boss has been pressuring him to get a job done. And that he worked as hard as he could, even through coffee break and lunch, so that he would not be even later.
7. To think clearly we need to have the facts. Last week I got angry when I heard a member of the youth executive had not been contacted about a meeting. Later I found out that she had been invited by another person. I got angry because I did not have all the facts.
9. pg. 149 Tim Lahaye’s "Anger is a Choice" - illustration of child on train.
10. Friends, too often we get angry without having all the facts. We don’t know everything and we over-react. The important thing is to check out the facts. Then we can think correctly. This will not prevent all anger, but I believe most of it will be prevented.
11. It is important to do this before our feelings take over. Once they do they colour all of our thinking about the one whom we are angry with. God told Cain that his thinking was wrong, but by then, Cain’s anger had developed to the next stage.
12. Think of whom you feel anger towards. Think of why you feel angry. Because your emotions are already involved, this is now harder to do. But are your thoughts based on facts or your emotional perceptions?
13. To do this we need to need to ask ourselves some questions about the situation and about our anger. Things may have turned out different for Cain had he done that. And so I ask you: