Anger is an acid that can do more harm to the vessel in which it is stored than to anything on which it is poured. – Mark Twain
I have a message for all you fellow gunnysackers out there. You know who you are.
In marriage, you avoid saying what needs to be said. You stuff your hurts like potatoes in a gunnysack – one at a time. Then you carry that sack around until you just can’t take it anymore.
Often, the littlest thing can be the final hurt that opens the bag … and then you dump them, every potato of pain, all at once. In a heated argument.
To all my fellow gunnysackers: This has to stop. Don’t dump the gunnysack. It hurts your spouse and causes more pain in your marriage.
Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 13:4-5,
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking …
And then Paul gets to two important clauses. The first reads: It is not easily angered.
Did you know the word easily isn’t in the original language? This verse simply reads: [Love] is not angered.
Love doesn’t explode; it doesn’t rage; it doesn’t dump the gunnysack. Love isn’t provoked or irritated or exasperated. You don’t get to the point of losing it and dumping the sack.
Paul spoke from experience. In Acts 15, he and Barnabas argued over John Mark’s presence on a mission trip. The two had such a sharp disagreement (that’s our word for anger in 1 Corinthians) that their relationship exploded. You see, Paul and Barnabas had been putting “John Mark potatoes” in their gunnysacks for years. They didn’t talk; they only stored their grievances. Acts 15:39-40 tells us what happened when those sacks of John Mark potatoes were finally dumped. The two men parted ways … and so do far too many husbands and wives today. Sharp disagreements make us want to run from one another. But love doesn’t get to the point of explosive dumping. Love avoids exploding. Love learns how to talk.
Patient Father, I ask that You show me what anger wrapped in love looks like. How can I keep my hurt from exploding? This week, I commit to bring my frustration to You first, through words of prayer, and ask that You soften my reaction. Rather than dumping my hurts onto my spouse, I pour them out at Your feet first. Show me what’s next. Amen.
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