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We all have someone …
somewhere, who irritates us beyond words. We try to love them, after all, it’s the Christian thing to do, but they still drive us bonkers.
- The co-worker who drops by your cubicle twice an hour and won’t stop talking.
- The in-law who treats you like an outlaw.
- The small group member who monopolizes group conversations and repeats herself again and again and again.
- The adult child who treats you like a child.
- The friend-of-a-friend with horrible body odor and no sense of personal space.
- The pastor who . . . (oh, never mind, pastors never irritate anyone).
If you’re breathing and living in a town with more than one person, odds are, there’s somebody in your life you wish weren’t. Humans can be difficult to live with at times.
So, what can you do?
- Choose to thank God for the irritants in your life; they help you grow.
Wouldn’t it be cool if emotional and spiritual maturity just magically happened over time? Boom! I wake up one day, and I’m a godly man. However, in the real world, you and I primarily grow through trials, struggles, and challenges (James 1:2-4). The people who irritate us the most are the ones who typically teach us the most about kindness, patience, grace, and love. Sorry, but your mother-in-law and that annoying cubicle-mate are good for you.
- Find something positive to focus on.
Even the worst person you know has at least one thing you can thank God for. Maybe she has nice hair. Maybe he makes great coffee. Maybe 10% of what they babble about actually makes sense and is helpful. If you look with an open heart and a willing spirit, you’ll find something that is good. Focus on the noble and whatever is admirable (Philippians 4:8). It’s funny how what we give attention to makes a difference. I like what Holly Gerth wrote: “People tend to become who we believe them to be so let’s believe the best.”
- Recognize you’re probably that person to someone else.
Okay, take a deep breath . . . here’s a disturbing reality: you might be that annoying person in someone’s life. I know, it’s hard to imagine, but it’s entirely possible that there is someone who can’t stand you. You’re oil, and they’re water. You’re rap, and they’re country. You’re pepperoni with extra cheese, and they’re vegan. It happens. Again, it’s a human thing; nobody is going to like everybody. So this is one of those times when you get to treat others the way you would want to be treated (Luke 6:31).
Bottom line: the next time someone pushes your button and makes you want to scream, hit the pause button rather than the angry button, and choose to treat them like Jesus would. It may not change them, but it certainly will change you.
Choose to look at your troubles differently.
See them as an opportunity to grow because suffering produces perseverance;
perseverance develops godly character; and Christ-like character leads to
a hopeful confidence that God is bigger than your struggles.
Romans 5:3-4 (Bubna Paraphrase)
How is God encouraging you today?
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