How easy it is for me to become irritated at certain people. I can begin fretting and fuming about the annoying things they do and my attitude just grows more and more sour from there. Sometimes these "certain people" are complete strangers...the guy turning left from the right-hand lane, for instance...but, really, it's mostly the people who I am around often who can really get under my skin. So, the other day at lunch a friend and I were talking about how I was getting repeatedly irked at a particular individual. Through the course of the conversation, my friend spoke great truth to me that came from the Word and pointed me to the Word. I was convicted of my sins, including not loving this difficult-to-love person and failing to put their needs before my own.
As I considered how I fell into sin in the first place, I realized that the things that bothered me most about this person are my very own sins. When I see this person boast, I cringe. Because I'm so adamantly opposed to boasting? No. Because I'm so very prideful too. The things that we despise in others are probably the very thing that are most a struggle in us.
If you don't have 'annoying people' around you bringing your sins to attention, then maybe you can't relate. But, I sure seem to find more than my share--from my kids to my husband to other people in my daily path. If someone is antagonizing me, I can be certain of one thing...they have probably just put a mirror up to my sins.
So, what to do? What to do? My gut instinct says to complain about those other people and pull back from loving them. I don't like my sins and I certainly don't like theirs (which, remember, are so eerily similar to my own) so I just want to get as far away as possible from them. The problem with going with your gut, though, is that it's just not biblical. I can't choose who I want to love or not, be kind to or rude, extend a warm hug or withdraw. Because of Christ's lavished love upon me, I must love, be kind and hospitable. This is not my gut's response. This is the Spirit at work in me.
I'm grateful for that mirror showing me my blemishes and sins because then I can do something about them. I can go straight to my Savior who holds the mirror and says, "I've finished the work to save you from these sins. Now, go and sin no more." There is no condemnation in Christ; therefore, when our sins are exposed to us, we can praise Him and repent, be forgiven and be guilt-free.
Lord, instead of my complaining about others or withholding love, turn my heart to You. Fill me with Your love, Your forgiveness. Remind me of the depth of love You lavished upon me when I was not just annoying, but evil in my mind and your enemy. In Jesus' name, Amen.