How Can I Love When I’m Frustrated and Irritated?
When life gets frustrating it’s very hard not to react with irritation. The next thing you know, your irritation has gotten the better of you, and you’ve said something you shouldn’t have. We’ve all been there.
In Luke 18:15-17, the Disciples got irritated with the crowds following Jesus.
15 One day some parents brought their little children to Jesus so he could touch and bless them. But when the disciples saw this, they scolded the parents for bothering him. 16 Then Jesus called for the children and said to the disciples, “Let the children come to me. Don’t stop them! For the Kingdom of God belongs to those who are like these children. 17 I tell you the truth, anyone who doesn’t receive the Kingdom of God like a child will never enter it.”
Do you notice what really set the Disciples off? It was the parents who kept bringing their children to Jesus so he could bless them. Luke says, “they scolded the parents for bothering him.”
But Jesus’ response wasn’t one of irritation, it was love with a side of truth.
“Let the children come to me. Don’t stop them! For the Kingdom of God belongs to those who are like these children. I tell you the truth, anyone who doesn’t receive the Kingdom of God like a child will never enter it.”
So how do you keep irritation in check?
First, consider these words from Proverbs 29:11: “Fools vent their anger, but the wise quietly hold it back.” When we behave and speak out of irritation, we put love in the back seat.
Second, and practically, ask yourself this: Is this irritation that big of a deal? Will this matter 7 days, 30 days, or 365 days from now? If it won’t matter then, should it really matter now?
Third, if it will matter, then pray about how God wants you to deal with it. Irritation wants to separate us from the community God’s built because we want to get away from the person who is the source of our irritation. The last thing irritation does is treat others with love, so how can you address the situation with love?
Fourth, remember the person who is irritating you is also someone who is created in the image of God. Refuse to let a negative feeling or thought come between you and another person created in God’s image.
– Today’s Prayer –
I apologize for the irritation I feel towards the people you’ve put in my life today to love. Help me to be willing and aware in overlooking the small things that don’t matter and give me the courage to address the ones that do. Help me to be more loving and less irritable today.
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