Then the Lord said to Cain, “Why are you angry?” Genesis 4:6
He did many things well, but there was a problem. Everyone saw it. Yet because he was so effective in accomplishing most of his role, his anger issue wasn’t adequately addressed. He was never truly confronted. Sadly, this resulted in many people being hurt over the years. And, in the end, it led to the premature close of a career that could have been something so much more for this brother in Christ. If only I’d chosen to confront him in love long ago.
In Genesis 4, God provides the perfect picture of what it means to confront someone’s sin in love. Cain was infuriated. Being a farmer, he’d presented “some of the fruits of the soil as an offering to the Lord” (v. 3). But God made it clear that what he brought Him wasn’t acceptable. Cain’s offering was rejected, and he was “very angry, and his face was downcast” (v. 5). So, God confronted him and said, “Why are you angry?” (v. 6). He then told Cain to turn from his sin and pursue what was good and right. Sadly, Cain ignored God’s words and committed a horrific act (v. 8).
While we can’t force others to turn from sinful behaviors, we can compassionately confront them. We can “speak the truth in love” so that we both become “more and more like Christ” (Ephesians 4:15 nlt). And, as God gives us ears to listen, we can also receive hard words of truth from others.
Why is it vital for us to confront others in love? How do you receive hard but helpful words?
Father, help me to have the courage to confront others in love and to receive hard but true words with grace.
The Bible has much to say about anger. God warned Cain that anger is a response that must be reined in quickly (Genesis 4:7). The psalmist David warned, “Stop being angry! . . . It only leads to harm” (Psalm 37:8 nlt). Solomon, the wisest man on earth, likewise said that an angry man will do foolish things (Proverbs 14:17, 29). The New Testament warns, “Don’t sin by letting anger control you . . . for anger gives a foothold to the devil” (Ephesians 4:26–27 nlt) and “human anger does not produce the righteousness God desires” (James 1:20 nlt).