My niece recently introduced me to a new word, hangry.
For the few who are wondering, hangry is when you are so hungry that you become angry. Pretend we’ve been busy all day and haven’t had a chance to eat anything besides an apple. Now it’s early afternoon and our stomach is growling. Next comes the interaction. Someone crosses our path. We might lose patience quicker, we might give a short, rude retort, we might become defensive, or we might say something mean to someone we love. Finally, we get some late lunch and as we are finally feeling full again, we realize we’ve behaved badly. Now here comes the choice. Will we justify our behavior and say, “it’s because I was hangry!” or will we drop the excuse and go apologize?
I’m not sure how it will all go down in heaven, but I imagine with the perspective of heaven as we look back at the choices we made, we won’t justify our mean behavior so quickly.
First because once in heaven, I think it will be very obvious to us that we are all truly brothers and sisters. I also think we will clearly see the bright spirits of those around us. Mortal life has a way of muddy-ing up the worth of a soul. As we train our eyes to see past the cloudiness of empty comparisons, we can catch glimpses of eternity in the eyes of another human being.
Paul taught, “For now we see through a glass darkly; but then [in heaven] face to face.” (1 Corinthians 13:12) How much stronger would we be in our resolve to be kind if we could see ‘face to face’ now?
In the movie, Avatar (2009) the Na’vi people (I had to look that up– I know them as the tall, blue people) greet each other with “I see you,” much like the Hindu greeting “namaste” which translates to “I bow to the divine in you.” Using these greetings provides the built-in reminder of the divine in humanity. How can we remind ourselves to treat each person in our life with the respect a fellow child of God deserves? even when we are hangry?
The second reason is because the whole point of mortal life in the Plan of Salvation is to have our spirit learn to jive with our physical bodies. If our physical body is calling the shots for our behavior, we end up with weak spirits, being tossed to and fro with popular trends, addictions and empty whims. The gospel of Jesus Christ provides a training course for our bodies. For example, the Law of the Fast and the Law of Chasity are two commandments aimed at training our physical appetites and passions to obey a spiritual law. This is the essence of self-control.
In the study section below, I’ve included the account of Christ responding to the temptations of the devil. After 40 days of fasting, pay attention to his perfect self-control even in the midst of a trying situation. See! The scriptures even teach to the modern sophistry of hangry. =) =) =)
The quickest to be affected by our being hangry (or other self control issues) are those we live with. My favorite Primary song teaches, “God gave us families to help us become what He wants us to be.” In the home, we are pushed to our limits of self control so it is also the best place we can learn self control! If we give our family members our best efforts, we will learn the self mastery to “become what He wants us to be.”
Obviously, there are many discomforts of mortality that cause us to loose our patience and our civility quicker than usual. Being hungry is just one of them. Sometimes when I am hungry or tired or anything other than dandy, I think about the pioneers and I think about people who had to live for years in concentration camps, but mostly I think about all the mothers throughout history who have raised children in the worst of circumstances. Then I can gain some spiritual traction to try and keep myself in line.
With all the comforts modern life has to offer, I hope that the disciples of Christ will rise above using physical discomfort as an excuse for unkindness. This is something I am trying to do in my own life. What helps you to remain kind when you are not feeling great?
Let’s keep our personal bar of behavior held high, even if we are hungry.
Enjoy the scripture study below!
S: (Prayer/Ask) How can I strengthen my spirit to be strong even with physical discomforts?
- Read the account from Matthew when Jesus was tempted. As you read the verses, remember that Jesus has been fasting for 40 days. How long is the longest you have fasted? 😉 1 Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil.
6 And saith unto him, If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down: for it is written, He shall give his angels charge concerning thee: and in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone.
Of this account, President Howard W. Hunter said:
Throughout these days in the wilderness he chose to fast, that his mortal body might be completely subjected to the divine influence of his Father’s Spirit.
When Jesus had completed the fast of forty days and had communed with God, he was, in this hungry and physically weakened state, left to be tempted of the devil. That, too, was to be part of his preparation. Such a time is always the tempter’s moment—when we are emotionally or physically spent, when we are weary, vulnerable, and least prepared to resist the insidious suggestions he makes. (1976)
I always think about how Elder Bednar bluntly said, “We will be left without excuse.” Here is the paragraph from his conference talk here: Please note that godly fear is linked inextricably to an understanding of the Final Judgment and our individual accountability for our desires, thoughts, words, and acts (see Mosiah 4:30). The fear of the Lord is not a reluctant apprehension about coming into His presence to be judged. I do not believe we will be afraid of Him at all. Rather, it is the prospect in His presence of facing things as they really are about ourselves and having “a perfect knowledge” (2 Nephi 9:14; see also Alma 11:43) of all our rationalizations, pretenses, and self-deceptions. Ultimately, we will be left without excuse. (2015)
- The most heart-wrenching example for me is when the apostles fall asleep during Jesus’ most desperate hour, the hour of Atonement in the Garden of Gethsemane. As you read through it, be sure to try to ‘be’ both sides of the story: the person who is let down because of another’s physical needs as well as the one who lets another down because of your fatigue. There are lessons to be learned in both roles.
45 Then cometh he to his disciples, and saith unto them, Sleep on now, and take your rest: behold, the hour is at hand, and the Son of man is betrayed into the hands of sinners. (Matthew 26:36-45)
- Our physical needs are real. Eventually we need to eat no matter how Christlike we are trying to be! Why do you think God gave mortals the need to eat and sleep, among other things? I wrote a post about this a long time ago here
- How does hearing that we will be left without excuse make you feel? Why? (because the world is addicted to excuses!) How can we see all excuses being stripped away as a positive thing?
- When you are experiencing a physical ailment- hungry, tired, in pain, etc.- what can you do to lengthen out your patience?
R: (Write) your thoughts, what you learned, impressions you received, and anything else in your scripture journal (include your thoughts on the study session question: How can I strengthen my spirit to be strong even with physical discomforts?)
- Looking back at the long-suffering scriptures that you read through, pick your favorite(s). Write them down on a card where you can see them. Put them in the area of the house that you find have the most high intensity interactions. =) …I’m thinking of our really calm and peaceful dinners in the kitchen, ha.
- Think of someone that you feel has gained noticeable mastery over physical appetites. For me, I think of my mother who seems to always be fasting for one of her children. I admire her for this! Take a moment to write them a note and tell them that you admire this about them.
E: (Prayer/Thank)- thank God for what you’ve learned and ask if there is anymore.
The Challenge: Next time you are faced with a hard situation while you are hungry, remeber what the scriptures teach about being hangry. =)
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