Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Santa's Sack, or...?

For what I do is not the good thing that I desire to do; but the evil thing that I desire not to do, is what I constantly do.
~ Romans 7:19, The Weymouth New Testament

Today I’m wearing clothes that are big and baggy looking on me, not because I’ve lost weight but, on the contrary, because Halloween, family special occasions and Thanksgiving seemed all bunched together. This is yet another example of the truth I find in the quote attributed to Paul as printed above.

Sometimes the wrong words come spilling forth from my mouth just as surely as the wrong foods are shoveled in. I’ve learned over the years that, for me, when I’m really upset about something, the best course is to keep my mouth shut until my brain catches up with my tongue. That is a lesson learned, but not always a lesson put into practice.

Too many poorly chosen foods and too many poorly chosen words both weigh heavily upon human hearts and both are very unhealthy; one physically, the other spiritually [although if you keep company with a rough crowd those words may cause you bodily as well as spiritual pain!].

We often hear the term “comfort food.” That’s the stuff we eat when we are feeling blue or lonely or sad – the tastes that remind us of safety and warmth and love – they make us feel better. I have heard the term “gunny sacking” referring to collecting negative feelings like anger and hurt and refraining from acknowledging them, claiming them or responding to them until the bag gets so full, heavy and cumbersome that we have no control over our will to open them and let it all pour out in one ragging wave of emotion. Momentarily, we might feel a bit better but in the long run [which is often of short duration] we end up feeling much worse than before, just as we do when we indulge in too much “comfort food.”

This is where I invite you to re-read our lead scripture in this column to better understand what I think, in part, it means for our lives today.
Done? Good.

I find it easy to find this fault in others but easier to find in myself. If you have ever been hit by someone’s over-stuffed gunny sack you how much it can sting. With all the responsibilities we each one carry, how about if we offer extra doses of grace to one another. Grace is a gift that fits all and we don’t have to worry about the color. Still, it might be a good idea to open our sacks a little at a time…


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