A peaceful heart leads to a healthy body; jealousy is like cancer in the bones. ~ Proverbs 14:30 (NLT)
I was away at pastor’s meetings for the past few days. Overall, it’s enjoyable. I get to hang out with some friends. The food is amazing. The male pastors who didn’t bring their families get to live together in a bunkroom, we tend to have a good time. We also get to rough it a little – as in we have to bring sleeping bags and sleep on mattresses which are built for 10-12-year-old weighted people, not middle-aged dudes. As I was packing to leave yesterday, I began to shove my sleeping bag into its stuff sack. At first, everything went in very easy. But, as the bag got fuller, I had to push harder and harder to get everything in. On the first attempt, I didn’t close the sack quickly enough and the sleeping bag started to slither its way back out. After a few times of this happening, frustration set in, and the bag now became my mortal enemy. (Second only to camping tents. If you’ve never set one up, ask someone who has. They’ll explain.) I crammed harder and harder until it finally all stayed in.
Sometimes, we treat our lives like stuff sacks. When we experience issues in life, sometimes we stuff our anger and jealousy way down deep and pretend everything is OK.
Here’s the issue: Eventually all of that stuff will come back out. And, when it does, you will have no control over it. It might exit in a tirade of anger and foul language which costs you friends, or even a job. It may show up in your relationships, slowly destroying the trust that has been built over the years. It may cause issues with mental health which require long-term therapy or prescription medication. It may drive you to addictive behaviors like self-harm, eating disorders, sex, porn, drugs, alcohol, to numb the pain you thought was dealt with. In short, stuffing our stress, our anger, our jealousy down deep doesn’t make it go away. It causes it to grow stronger and stronger until one day, it comes bursting out in very unhealthy ways.
King Solomon, who was a pretty wise dude, put it this way, “A peaceful heart leads to a healthy body; jealousy is like cancer in the bones.” In short, we need to stop stuffing everything deep down inside and need to deal with those things in healthy ways. So, how do we do that? That will be the topic of tomorrow’s devo.