FROM RAGE TO RUIN
For an example of how irrational thinking plays into our anger, we can go back to the very beginning of human history. The very first humans, Adam and Eve, had two sons, Cain and Abel. Here is what Genesis 4:2-8 tells us:
Now Abel kept flocks, and Cain worked the soil. In the course of time Cain brought some of the fruits of the soil as an offering to
the Lord. But Abel brought fat portions from some of the firstborn of his flock. The Lord looked with favor on Abel and his offering, but on Cain and his offering he did not look with favor. So Cain was very angry, and his face was downcast.
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.”
So Cain said to his brother Abel, “Let’s go out to the field.” And while they were in the field, Cain attacked his brother Abel and killed him.
What happened in between the rejection of Cain’s offering and the act of murder? Instead of taking responsibility, Cain shifted the blame to his brother. Instead of seeing sin as his enemy, Cain saw Abel as his enemy who had to be “mastered.”
Here are some distorted thoughts that might have led to Cain’s irrational violence:
Abel’s offering was acceptable. He thinks he’s better than me.
My offering would have been OK if Abel hadn’t tried to outdo me. He deliberately tried to make me look bad to God.
He’s out to get me. He’s always out to get me. I’ll make sure he doesn’t do it again!
Now suppose Cain had modified his thinking to something like this:
God’s right. I tried to get by with the wrong kind of offering
I’ll bring the right offering. Then everything will be OK.
See, it really didn’t have anything to do with Abel!
For more information and an extended list of resources download the full PDF here.
This resource was first published in 2008.