Stop Picking At That!

     Does that sound familiar?  Maybe you can remember your Mom saying that, or maybe you as a mother have said it numerous times to your children.  All of us get “owies” at times, and it’s hard to leave them alone long enough for them to heal.  Usually we think of kids picking at scabs until they bleed, but I think adults can get into that bad habit, too. 

     Right now I have about five spots on my legs that got cut or scraped somehow…and for some reason I can’t seem to leave them alone!  Even though I know that these sores look ugly and they won’t heal up if I keep picking at them, I’ve gotten into the habit of absentmindedly itching at them when my hands are free.

     This topic isn’t very appealing, is it?  It’s kind of gross to look at ugly sores…but I think we can find some principles to help us as we deal with the ugly sin of anger in our lives.  Just as we sometimes keep picking open our physical wounds, we can do the same thing with a problem like anger if we aren’t careful.

      Of course, we must give proper attention to a physical wound so that it doesn’t become infected…in that same way we must be conscious of our attitudes and actions regarding anger.  If a physical wound becomes infected, we must go to a doctor to get it checked out and sometimes the doctor prescribes antibiotics.  If your anger problem has been going on for a very long time, or if you see obvious signs that it is hurting your children, physically or emotionally, you may have to go and see a professional who will help you treat this “infection” and begin the healing process.  If your “anger wound” is not too serious, you may be able to treat it at home.

       Focusing too much attention on our anger problem can be like picking at a wound.  You’ve probably noticed that physical wounds usually heal when we don’t pay much attention to them.  We get busy with work, projects, and other things, we forget to pick at them, and soon the sore is completely healed. 

     I’d like you to practice this technique in regards to your anger.  Don’t obsess about it!  I know it’s tempting to just keep going over and over it in your head.  “Why am I so angry?  What is this going to do to my kids?  What would people think if they knew about this?  I just can’t do this!  It’s hopeless!  I might as well just give up, my kids would be better off without me…”  I’ve thought all of those thoughts before, but do you see that they just don’t help the problem go away or help that “wound” to heal? 

     You need to get busy with other thoughts and projects while this wound heals.  “…whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.”  (Philippians 4:8)  Dwelling on your children’s faults will only pick at the wound, so will rehearsing your wrong actions over and over again in your mind.  Instead, try to think about the cute things your child does, the times he or she does obey you, the fun times you often do have.

     I find myself more able to have right attitudes and act right toward my children when my heart is right with the Lord.  The Bible even addresses this idea in  I Peter 2:24:  “He [Jesus] himself bore our sins in his body on the tree [the cross], so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed.”  What hope we have when we focus on the fact that Jesus died for us so that our wounds can be healed!  Take some time each day to get to know Jesus better as you read the Bible and pray, and you may find your anger problem healing again.  “…and all who touched him were healed.”  (Matthew 14:36b)   “Go,”  said Jesus, “your faith has healed you.”  (Mark 10:52a)

     Another possible “healing solution” would be to meet with a good friend for support and prayer.  “Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed.”  (James 5:16a)  Sharing your struggles, as well as your victories, can help you gain perspective and hope while you’re dealing with this time of anger. 

     Just as our physical wounds leave scars on our bodies (especially if we do lots of picking), our sins and mistakes can leave scars on our very lives.  Some are very obvious to everyone we meet, while we can hide others and only reveal them at the times we choose.  Instead of being ashamed of your emotional “scars”, try to see them as opportunities to help others.  Even though they remind you of past pain and disobedience, your scars can be beautiful when they are used as an example for someone going through the same circumstances which caused your wounds.

     Sisters, don’t ignore your anger problem, but do not “pick” at it and continue to open the wound.  Practice loving Jesus, your husband, your children, and others God has put in your life.  Soon the pain will lessen and your wounds will be healed – not by anything you have done, really, but through the combination of time and God’s healing touch.


© Robyn Mulder 2000,

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