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Anger is an issue that can't be ignored.

Long story short...the tale of Cain and Abel reminds us that anger is an issue that cannot be ignored.  In Genesis 4, we read the story of the first family - Adam, Eve, and their sons Cain and Abel.  The story begins with their birth and fast forwards to a point in their life where they each made an offering to God.  One offering was favored by God and one wasn't.  This is where the story takes a turn.  Cain steps into the anger cycle.
Cain was felt upset and  reacted with anger because God didn't look favorably on his offering. Cain redirected his anger toward his brother, Abel.  God saw all that was happening in Cain's heart and came to him.  God invited him to do what was right and find the acceptance that he was looking for.  God also warned him that sin was crouching at his door.  Cain ignored the invitation and missed the point on ruling over his sin.  Instead of doing the right thing, in anger, he took his brother out the the fields and killed him.  The result of his anger couldn't have been worse.

God again came to him to see what he had done.  Cain tried to deflect with the now famous question, "Am I my brother's keeper?"  God didn't let him off the hook because no matter how much we try to hide them, our actions are never hidden from God.  God judged Cain's actions by cursing any of the land that Cain, a farmer, would work the rest of his life.  Cain would now be a wanderer for the rest of his life an would never find fruitful, fulfilling work.  God's judgment of Cain is another reminder for you and me that we cannot hide from the consequences of our sin.  Cain then petitioned God because he thought the judgement was too extreme.  He told God that it was too much for him to be driven away, outside of God's presence with a target on his back.  With this, he entered into the final phase of the anger cycle - regret.  God heard him and promised to protect him.

As we look at our own lives, what can we do to break the anger cycle?

Take a look at what Paul teaches in Ephesians 4 and what James writes to us in James 1:19-20.  Let's start with Ephesians.

You can be angry and not sin.  
26 “In your anger do not sin”...  Ephesians 4:26  

Why?  You can choose your response to what you are feeling.  Anger is a secondary response, not a first reflex.  When you feel something, check your heart and check your response.  Getting angry doesn't have to result in sin.

Sinful anger cannot be ignored.  
26 “In your anger do not sin”: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, 27 and do not give the devil a foothold.  Ephesians 4:26-27 

The word picture here is to not "sleep" on your anger.  Don't just live with it simmering below the surface or boiling over.  Take action to deal with it.   If you don't, you are giving the devil a foothold on your life.  

Sinful anger can slowed.
19 My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, 20 because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires.  James 1:19-20  

There are two key steps and one secret to slow anger in your life.  First, be quick to listen.  Listen to the person you are in conflict with.  Listen to your own thoughts, feelings and emotions.  Listen to God as the Holy Spirit leads you and warns you just like God did with Cain.
 
Now for the secret:  Until you become convinced that your anger will NEVER, EVER produce what you are looking for, you will never take the simple steps to slow your anger.  Here it again:  Anger will never produce the change that you desire to produce.  It won't produce positive change in your marriage, your workplace, your family, or your relationship God.  Human anger always hurts.  It never helps.
 
Sinful anger can be overcome.
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.  Galatians 5:22-23  

Never forget that God is doing far more in you that just helping you manage bad behavior.  He is work in you and making you a new person so that you have victory over sinful behavior.  Listen to Him.  Commit to Him.  Submit to Him and see the fruit of the spirit replace the anger, hate, and malice in your life with things that actually produce the positive change you long for.
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