Beth Moore gave an illustration that has helped me immensely in understanding my responses to people who threaten my “sunny disposition” and make my life difficult.  She said that a pure glass of water cannot spill poison no matter how rudely it is knocked over.  What comes out of a spill…or a heart….is what was there to begin with.  Circumstances that brought it out may have been unexpected or unjust or irrational, but what comes out shows what was inside to begin with.

When angry, hurtful words come out of my mouth, it shows that anger and hurt are stored in my heart.  The person I have conflict with doesn’t put that hurt and anger inside me; they just give me the opportunity to vent it.  When I don’t purify what’s in my heart, eventually that poison will spill all over the people in my path.

Eph 4:26 says “In your anger, do not sin.”  Anger is not the problem.  What we do with our anger can be.

My kitchen has a pantry where I keep foods that I may need.  I intentionally put items there.  Some of them are healthy; some are comfort foods that nourish my psyche, rather than offering good nutrition.  I do not store what I do not want in my pantry, but often I do store it in my heart.  When I take hurt and anger and cruelty and disrespect to heart, when I allow them to fester through unforgiveness or self-righteousness, I end up serving them to people who are thoughtless or unkind to me.  I take their thoughtlessness or meanness to me and make it my sin.

May we intentionally fill ourselves with the Spirit of God until there is no room for the poison that hurts those around us, intensifies conflict, and damages our testimony.  May we purify our hearts until we are so full of God’s love and mercy that they spill all over those who wound us.