Empty Your Trash

How do you deal with anger?  Please don’t suppress it.  Allow me to illustrate why.
Picture a small trash container.  See it slowly filling up.  From time to time, it gets pressed down, but no one takes the initiative to empty its contents.  Over time additional trash is added, until finally the container overflows and creates a mess.  It simply cannot contain any more debris! 
That’s exactly what happens when we refuse to deal with anger.  We press it down, sometimes for years, when finally our lives become messy and solutions become difficult, if not impossible.  Tempers allowed to rage out of control usually culminate in failed relationships and even tragedy.
Examples of this unfortunate reality can be found throughout the Bible, but perhaps none more poignant than the first homicide in human history.  Genesis 4:3-8 records the events surrounding the death of Abel at the hands of his jealous, rage-filled brother, Cain.
“So it came about in the course of time that Cain brought an offering to the Lord of the fruit of the ground.  Abel, on his part also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of their fat portions.  And the Lord had regard for Abel and for his offering; but for Cain and for his offering He had no regard.  So Cain became very angry and his countenance fell.  Then the Lord said to Cain, ‘Why are you angry?  And why has your countenance fallen?  If you do well, will not your countenance be lifted up?  And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door; and its desire is for you, but you must master it.’  Cain told Abel his brother.  And it came to pass about when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother and killed him.”
This brief account records the end results of unresolved anger.  Understand something.  This was not the first tryst these two brothers experienced.  The mood of the text suggests on-going disobedience on the part of Cain.  “So it came about in the course of time” (verse 4a).  Disobedience and the refusal of Cain to heed the voice of God resulted in insurmountable feelings of rage and anger.  In all likelihood, had Cain dealt with his initial anger toward Abel instead of “compacting his trash,” this murder never would have occurred.
To more completely understand the murder of Abel, we need to travel back several years to the Garden of Eden.  Initially and before the fall of Adam and Eve, these brothers’ parents – earth’s first parents – were untainted by sin.  After sinning, however, Adam and Eve felt guilt and embarrassment over their nakedness.  Their guilt drove them from God, and they hid themselves.  A guilty conscience is a warning signal God placed inside us that goes off when we’ve sinned.  The worst thing we can do is to eliminate guilt feelings without eliminating the cause.  It’s like using a painkiller but not addressing the disease.
What did Adam and Eve do?  They suppressed their guilt by performing the second religious act in the Bible.  The first religious act was the first couple acting on what the serpent said.  The second religious act came when Adam and Eve “sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loin coverings” (Genesis 3:7).
The necessity of a blood sacrifice is foreshadowed in Genesis 3:21, “The Lord God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife, and clothed them.”  The writer to the Hebrews emphatically states, “without shedding of blood there is no forgiveness” (9:22).  In all probability, as the boys grew to manhood, they repeatedly heard what God did for their parents regarding the animal skins.  So why did God accept Abel’s offering and not Abel’s?
It’s not that God dislikes vegetables!  He has always required the shedding of blood.  Evidently, Cain had been incorrigible since boyhood.  In the text we read where God gave him the chance to right his wrong and try again.  But Cain refused.  His life smacked of disobedience and rebellion against the revealed will of God.  God warned Cain about the consequences of not mastering the rage that mounted within:  “Sin is crouching at the door, and its desire is for you, but you must master it” (4:7).
What happened was the outcome of years of pent up anger.  “And it came about when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother and killed him” (verse 8).  Cain did not wake up one day and arbitrarily decide to kill his brother.  Unresolved anger is a cancer that gradually eats away the very core of a man’s cognitive processes and conscience. 
Unresolved anger, compacted by the years, culminated in rage, which led to murder – the first homicide in recorded history.  God warned Cain, but the angry brother did not master his emotional intake.
I beg you.  In the Name of the Lord, righteously resolve any anger you may be holding inside.  Don’t let your trash overflow!



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