August 9, 2011
... And the LORD had regard for Abel and his offering, but for Cain and his offering He had no regard. So Cain was very angry, and his face fell. Genesis 4:4b-5
It was only a few weeks ago that the Gainesville, Florida, police were called to the home of a 74-year-old man. When they arrived, the frightened man told them a terrible tale.
He shared how he had been minding his own business, not bothering anyone when suddenly a man entered the room and started waving a gun in his face.
That's the kind of charge that no police department takes lightly. Patiently the Gainesville officers investigated. They found out the following:
Fact: The man with the gun was the 74-year-old roommate of the fellow who had registered the complaint.
Fact: They had an argument.
Fact: The roommate, Ernest Michael Chapman, had fled the scene of his crime.
There was only one thing still missing from the police report: What was the motive for the crime?
The officers got that bit of information too. It seems the victim had been watching TV and his roomie had asked him to turn it down. When he didn't, his pal threatened him with a gun and demanded he turn down the sound.
When I first read that story, I thought these are two mature men and they are threatening each other about the level of sound coming from a TV. Ridiculous!
Then I remembered the motive for Cain killing his brother ... and I remembered some of the arguments I had seen take place at voter's assemblies ... and I remembered some of the gentle altercations I've had with my wonderful spouse.
Now none of those battles ever ended up with any guns being waved around, but that's not the point. The point is this: it seems we sometimes get bent out of shape about things that just aren't that important. We go ballistic about the insignificant.
This is just one more nasty quality that can be attributed to our sinful human nature.
Thankfully, it is a quality and a nature Jesus never had. Oh, don't get me wrong. Jesus got angry and He said plenty of strong words. But Jesus' reaction was always proper and right for the occasion.
Wait, that's not entirely true, is it? When Jesus was lied about and falsely accused, when He was condemned and sentenced to the cross the appropriate reaction would have involved turning His accusers into petunias.
But Jesus didn't do the appropriate thing. He did that which identifies Him as the world's one and only Savior. Jesus kept His cool. He kept calm and gave His life so we might live with Him forever.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, in this world there are battles worth fighting and those which are not. Help me distinguish the differences and act in a way which glorifies You and benefits my neighbor. This I pray in my Savior's Name. Amen.
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries