The Lord said to Cain, “Why are you angry, and why do you look so resentful?” (Genesis 4:6, CEB)
The Jedi Master Yoda warns both Aiken and Luke Skywalker about anger. Yoda tells Luke in The Empire Strikes Back, “Fear is the path to the Dark Side. Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering.”
Someone should have warned Cain.
Cain’s anger over an offering leads to the murder of his brother Abel. This piece of scripture is known to make the best preachers’ head hurt. What’s at the root of Cain’s anger? What could have been so bad that it would cause him to commit murder?
The Lord’s question to Cain continues, “If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin is lurking at the door; its desire is for you, but you must master it.” (Genesis 4:7, NRSV)
The question is asked before Cain murders Abel. Is it a question designed to promote reconciliation between the brothers? Between God and Cain? Maybe.
But, Cain gives in to the anger. Abel’s blood cries out from the ground.
Fear and anger lurk at the door like a serpent, waiting to strike. When we give in, the fear, anger, or hatred, leads to suffering. For Cain, he took the life of his brother. His punishment was to work extra hard in unyielding fields. When Cain begs for his life to be taken, the Lord places a mark on Cain so that no one would take his life.
Yoda easily recognizes the anger deep inside both Skywalkers. Cain is a reminder that when anger rules our hearts, we find ourselves “murdering” others. Let us remember that anger like this is attractive to the Dark Side.
- Can you relate to Cain? How so?
- What do you think it means to “master” sin (see Genesis 4:7)?
Pray: Lord of reconciliation, forgive us for the times we let anger rule our hearts. Forgive us when we cause suffering to others. Lord, fill us with forgiving hearts when others cause suffering to us. Amen.