Do You Irritate God?
By: Mac Joby
Do you? We spend much of our lives getting irritated by others because
they don’t do things the way we wish they would. Is their failure to
meet our personal preferences reason for our losing patience with
them? That’s a rhetorical question because we know that it is not (1
Corinthians 13:5). We know that it’s very unreasonable for us to hold
people accountable to our whims and demands. God doesn’t even do this,
so how arrogant it is for us to do so! We can be very thankful that
God doesn’t sport our attitudes.
Think about it this way: The differences between ourselves and our
neighbors are infinitesimal compared to the differences between
ourselves and God. We sometimes look down our noses at the ‘lesser’ of
those among us: those who are not as bright; those who are not as
clean; those who are not as attractive; those who are not as wealthy;
those who are not as polite; those who are not as sinless (now there’s
a concept to wrap our hypocritical minds around for a moment!). We can
thank and praise God that through our faith in Christ’s sacrifice, he
no longer holds us to the standards that we set for others.
Here’s a helpful thought: God knows what each of us is thinking. He
knows what each of us is going through. He sees and empathizes with
our pain. Our perspectives about others would be very different if we
could know these things as well. We’d be less inclined to get
irritated with the behaviors of others if we could experience the
troubles that might be at the root of those behaviors. But since we
can’t experience those troubles directly, the next best thing would be
to assume that these people are like us: they too live with the pain
of a fallen world. In fact, their pain may actually merit our
Christian love and compassion instead of our wrath.
So imagine the things that might be occurring in the lives of others.
It’s an exercise that, when practiced with the same dedication with
which we practice our faith, will help us grow into more effective
witnesses. It will help us develop the kind of hearts that might make
unbelievers greet us with thankfulness. Thankful to whom I wonder?
We need to develop a prevailing sense of empathy. Empathy helps us
become less judgmental and more loving. Less irritated and more
patient. Less earthbound and more heavenly. This wonderful video
produced by the Cleveland Clinic can help start that process.
Empathy: The Human Connection To Patient Care