My tongue will tell the anger of my heart, or else my heart concealing it will break. — William Shakespeare, The Taming of the Shrew

If you’re in any relationship, you know what it means to be hurt by something that is said or done–or something that isn’t said or done.

The opportunity to hurt others presents itself daily. And honestly, many of us aren’t good at dealing with the hurts that naturally occur inside relationships. Rather than talk about the thing that hurt us, we stuff it.

Those hurts become like potatoes tossed into a gunnysack. One after another, we stuff them down deep, carrying them with us wherever we go. The load is heavy, but carrying our hurts seems like a better idea than confrontation.

Friends, if we don’t say it, we store it. And if we store it, it can’t stay stored forever.

There is a reason we are told in Ephesians 4:26, “Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry.”

When we don’t talk about issues that hurt us, we are just storing them for a later time. Pretty soon, our gunnysack of hurts is overflowing. What do we do when that sack is too heavy to carry any further?

To begin with, there are only two things you can do with a gunnysack: You can either fill it up, or dump it out. When we wait till that bag of hurts is full, we dump it–big time.

But we don’t dump it in the same way we fill it. Oh no. We store our hurts one event at a time, but we dump them all at once. Anyone who has been married has experienced the Gunnysack Dump. It’s when every hurt for the past 10 years is dumped onto the other spouse in one foul argument.

A marriage that lasts is a marriage that learns how to keep from dumping the gunnysack on one’s spouse.

Lord, I’m amazed how an argument over trash turns into a trial over integrity or accusations of laziness. It hurts to be dumped on and it hurts to dump. I ask You to show me how I handle hurts. If I store and dump, show me a Spirit-led way to handle my anger. Amen.

Taken from Pete’s series To Love and to Cherish.

Listen to Pete, Jill & Stuart Briscoe on the Telling the Truth broadcast at OnePlace.com




Hannah, A Devoted Mother, Day 4

Today’s reading is taken from 1 Samuel 1.

Out of the materialism and ruthlessness of Israel during the period of the judges, Hannah emerged as a woman of faith. From her home in the hills north of Jerusalem, she had traveled to Shiloh, the national place of worship. Her sadness of heart and persistence in prayer contrasted sharply with the prevalent corruption in worship led by Eli’s sons (1Sa 2:12-17).

Hannah’s personal life was one of despair in her childlessness as she recoiled from Peninnah’s pestering reproach. Her prayer exhibits selflessness as she pleads for a son whom she might present to God for his use (1Sa 1:11). Clearly, Hannah was loved and valued for herself by her husband, Elkanah, but even the intensity of a devoted husband’s love could not penetrate her inner disquiet nor overcome her yearning for a child (v. 8). The throbbing emotions of her despair were so evident in Hannah’s prayers that the aged Eli accused her of drunkenness. But beyond her prayers and tears, a vow erupts. Hannah, in effect, makes a pact with God; she pledges to give back to him the precious life he might give to her. God honored her bold and decisive act.

Hannah’s faith is rewarded, and her son is named Samuel (Heb., shemu’el, “Heard by God”) because she “asked the Lord for him” (1Sa 1:20). According to custom, she probably nursed him several years, giving time for her to convey to Samuel her own spirit of deep reverence and piety and also to knit her heart with his through maternal bonding. Nonetheless, she kept her word to the Lord. Into the defiled worship center she placed her very young, impressionable son. Although humanly it seemed to border on foolishness, this was an act of saintly sacrifice. Her commitment was to God; her gift was prearranged with him. With prophetic insight she planted the next generation just as promised.

Samuel grew up to become the last judge, an outstanding and gifted prophet and the one who would anoint the first two kings of Israel. Samuel was the pivotal spiritual leader who turned the nation toward Yahweh. His mother Hannah played her part in this spiritual awakening as she trusted God, leaving for all posterity an example of determined devotion in her motherhood.