The origin of the biblical counseling analogy: the bumped cup

Musings of a Christian Psychologist

I have heard several biblical counselors use the following story to teach about the true source of our sinful anger.

If you are holding a cup and I bump your arm and so the contents spill out on the floor, what caused the spill? You might be inclined to blame me. It wouldn’t have spilled except that you bumped me. But, really, the only reason why it spilled is that you had contents in your cup. If the contents weren’t in the cup, it wouldn’t spill no matter how hard I bumped into you. When we get sinfully angry, it is easy to blame the other as the cause. In reality, the true source of sinful anger is the one who is expressing it. The one who bumps is not the cause, only the situation that uncovers what was already there

This little analogy finds its basis in the book of James (3:9f)

With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with…

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