We all have something (or multiple things) that really annoys us, and the people who embody these behaviors or habits with seemingly no self-awareness can really vex our souls. But did you know your exasperation actually says more about you than them?
Think of annoying people like the sun and your heart as a pot full of mud or snow. The sun will shine, add heat, and apply pressure to the contents of both pots. However, while the snow will melt, the mud will harden.
In the same air, people who are doing things that annoy us are revealing the condition of our hearts.
For example, if a teacher is not presenting any thoughts or ideas that are new to you, a natural reaction is to internally (at least) scorn him or her for the limits of their knowledge. A moment of self-reflection, however, might reveal a prideful heart exalting itself over another.
“You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.”-Matthew 7:5
While some circumstances may hold legitimate cases where the other party has something they need to work on, we must first look at ourselves. The world will not change by pointing at society but by evaluating our own hearts and working from the inside out.
Annoying circumstances or people, like the sun, reveal the nature of our hearts if the Spirit gives us eyes to see. The annoyance is God pointing out where we need to grow. By His grace, moments of exasperation can be transformed into revolutionary self-evaluations that can help us become better people.
Instead of getting caught up in the heat of the moment and reacting in any degree of harmful manner, what if we took a step back? What if evaluated our side of the equation and asked what we could do better?
Actions speak louder than words, so we can either intensify our situation by huffing and puffing in bitter annoyance or extending grace. Imagine, if more people took a humble posture of trying to be the best they can be, there would be significantly less temptation to fight fire with fire.
“If you don’t change the heart, all you’ve done is flip the pyramid of power and different people are going to abuse different people and it doesn’t solve the problem.”-Peter Hubbard, “When Money Goes Bad“
So the next time someone is doing something that really annoys you, take a deep breath. Yes, they may be in the wrong, but what can you do to alleviate the situation? How can God’s grace ripple through your example?
It is significantly harder to love than to hate, but the soldiers who take up the challenge are the ones who are going to change the world for the better.