How Do Mismanaged Disappointments Cause Pain?
I think everyone would agree that having good health is a great blessing. But oftentimes, we don’t truly appreciate it until it’s gone. Then we suffer from disappointment as if we have no responsibility in maintaining our health.
If nothing is wrong, and there are no health issues and no pain; we often don’t think about our bodies. We don’t listen to the messages coming from it – messages that arrive long before most problems have time to fully manifest in our bodies.
Disappointments Cause Pain
Sometimes pain and problems manifest because of our thoughts about our problems. When something doesn’t go the way we expect it to; we are often greatly disappointed. The reason we suffer from disappointment is because of our expectations. I have often said for years that expectations are a trap.
Consequently, someone who always has expectations in accordance to what they want to occur or happen in life will always suffer because disappointments cause pain. Life is full of failures; in fact, more failures than successes.
Failures are the tools that qualify us for the few occasions of massive success we are capable of receiving. So our attitudes, and how we handle failure and disappointment will play a big part in the level of our pain and wellness. Let’s look at how mishandling disappointment can result in a painful situation.
In The Beginning…
There’s a tale of two brothers that happened in the biblical Genesis in the journey of mankind.
Gen 4:1 Adam made love to his wife Eve, and she became pregnant and gave birth to Cain. She said, “With the help of the LORD I have brought forth a man.”
Gen 4:2 Later she gave birth to his brother Abel. Now Abel kept flocks, and Cain worked the soil.
Cain was the first born and in biblical times, being the first born came with certain expectations or “rights” and responsibilities. For those that are aware of the story of his parents, Cain took over in the family business.
His father and mother had lost the status and position they previously had, and all the abundance of the blessings they had as well, in which, what they received was literally just a given.
All they ever needed had been handed to them until they fell from grace. It was, some would say; the biggest failure in recorded history. How does one recover from failure; after all, disappointments cause pain and this was a big one. What is it like to be the firstborn son inheriting the legacy of that failure?
Bear in mind that it was not only the legacy of his father’s punishment, which was a curse upon all mankind. It was the punishment itself; part of which was to struggle to till the ground. The ground would no longer just automatically bear fruit.
It would not produce its yield without a lot of hard work from the one tending the soil. Did Cain suffer knowing that disappointments cause pain? After all, he “inherited” this struggling business from his father. Would he have accepted the business if he knew how much he would suffer?
Gen 4:3 In the course of time Cain brought some of the fruits of the soil as an offering to the LORD.
Gen 4:4 And Abel also brought an offering—fat portions from some of the firstborn of his flock. The LORD looked with favor on Abel and his offering,
Gen 4:5 but on Cain and his offering he did not look with favor. So Cain was very angry, and his face was downcast.
I used to always wonder what was the difference between what they brought as their offering? I wondered if it was the difference in their vocations, thus the difference in what they produced? It’s as if God has preferences and favorites. If this were so, what would be a God-approved vocation? But that wasn’t it.
The issue between what merited God’s favor and what did not is found in the use of the word “some,” and how this word defined what each man brought. In both cases, this was the distinguishing factor that explained the attitude of each giver.
Each of them brought “some” of their products to give as an offering. The question is, how did they know what to bring? How much to bring? How to present it?
Was it supposed to be alive when they brought it? Was it supposed to be prepared as a meal? There are numerous ways that I’m sure their offering could have been given.
However, there is a way that seems right to a man, but that way is not God’s way. A man may reason himself into doing things a certain way, because of selfishness, or some form of self-centered motivation. That’s what makes the attitude of someone’s actions visible to the receiver, and their true motivation evident.
The Reason People Suffer From Disappointment
In this case, Cain did suffer from disappointment, and his disappointments caused pain in his life. His offer did not win God’s favor because of the motivation behind it.
There were rules regarding offerings and their presentation. Once you compare what each man brought; it is clear that the attitude and motivation behind Cain’s offering were not right. Why?
“Cain brought some of the fruits of the soil…”
There is no distinction in the fruits that he brought. It could have been anything. Maybe it was the leftovers. Some of it could have been the fruits that had bugs.
The fruit was possibly bruised. Cain took the best for himself and brought God “some of the fruits” from whatever remained. His motivation was selfish.
Abel on the other hand, “brought an offering—fat portions from some of the firstborn of his flock.”
Abel brought the best that he had, from the firstborn of his flock. He did not take from the speckled or spotted, but the purebred best and firstborn is what he chose to honor God with. This difference in attitude is why he was favored and did not suffer from disappointment.
Gen 4:6 Then the LORD said to Cain, “Why are you angry? Why is your face downcast?
Gen 4:7 If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must rule over it.”
This is something disappointed people must ask themselves, and honestly answer. Why are you angry? Why are you upset? If you do not seek the answers for those questions within yourself; you will not recognize that disappointments cause pain, nor will you be likely to forgive either yourself or other people. You will not be sensitive to others.
You will hold on to and suffer from disappointments that cause pain and about upsetting situations. If you hold on to anger it becomes lethal.
Gen 4:8 Now Cain said to his brother Abel, “Let’s go out to the field.” While they were in the field, Cain attacked his brother Abel and killed him.
Being angry and wrathful becomes murderous if left unchecked and unaddressed. By this, I don’t mean that every time someone gets angry, they are likely to kill someone. Quite the opposite.
What I’m saying is that when disappointments cause pain, you suffer because you don’t let it go. Then the “murderous” anger you develop can kill from within you. It can turn on you.
Anger is a word that has many subdivisions, and all of them are harmful to the body. To accept and hold anger within, in any form is like ingesting poison.
The determining factor in how long it takes to kill you is based on the volume and potency of that internal poison, but kill you it will.
The Detriment of Reaction v.s. Response
What are you accepting? What are you expecting others to accept? If acceptance is the underlying issue, it has to start with oneself, and being honest with oneself first.
Acceptance is based on authenticity and respect. Coming to such realizations requires some alone time and serious thought. Only a well thought out response will prevent foolish reactionary action.
Gen 4:9 Then the LORD said to Cain, “Where is your brother Abel?” “I don’t know,” he replied. “Am I my brother’s keeper?”
Gen 4:10 The LORD said, “What have you done? Listen! Your brother’s blood cries out to me from the ground.
Authenticity: The Missing Link
The pain had already started within Cain, and he mishandled it because he was not honest with himself, and looked outside himself to others to place blame upon others for his lack of acceptance. Because he reacted instead of responding, more pain resulted from hasty, vengeful actions that he didn’t think through.
Gen 4:11 Now you are under a curse and driven from the ground, which opened its mouth to receive your brother’s blood from your hand.
Gen 4:12 When you work the ground, it will no longer yield its crops for you. You will be a restless wanderer on the earth.”
After his pain filled, hasty, vengeful actions based on self-deception, and self-centeredness resulted in him taking his brother’s life; he inherited yet another curse. His passion was taken from him, and he was left restless and wandering, without any purpose.
Gen 4:13 Cain said to the LORD, “My punishment is more than I can bear.
Gen 4:14 Today you are driving me from the land, and I will be hidden from your presence; I will be a restless wanderer on the earth, and whoever finds me will kill me.”
Gen 4:15 But the LORD said to him, “Not so; anyone who kills Cain will suffer vengeance seven times over.” Then the LORD put a mark on Cain so that no one who found him would kill him.
Gen 4:16 So Cain went out from the LORD’s presence and lived in the land of Nod, east of Eden.
Nod means exile; wandering; and unrest. In the end, Cain’s attitude, coupled with the mismanagement of his disappointment, caused him to completely lose any chance at the acceptance he sought. Furthermore, his uncontrolled rage and murderous reaction cost him his passion, and the life he knew with his family.
Now his pain becomes more evident, as he claims that his punishment is more than he can bear. He will forever live in remorse, in exile; wandering and restless.
Not only was he already suffering emotionally, but his suffering would increase with the restlessness and wandering; never feeling secure enough, and never at peace. All of these feelings can cause the manifestation of pain in the body.
Although Cain did have a family and progeny, his people died out and disappeared from the earth. He ended his future under 2 curses. That was his legacy.
In conclusion, living with unmanaged anger, unfulfilled and unrealistic expectations and mismanaged disappointments and regret can result in more than the pain of life’s circumstances. Disappointments cause pain to manifest in your body, that can eventually cost you your life.
All scripture references are from blueletterbible.org