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.