…be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.
Ephesians 4:32 (NIV)
While walking down the stairs at work, I slipped and fell. Fortunately I was not injured in any way. I checked to determine what it was that made me slip and nearly injure myself. It was a good size piece of chocolate covered candy bar someone dropped on the stairs and probably saw no reason to pick it up. If there was more light in the stairway area or the object was a litter larger, I might have seen it in time. Then too I probably would have done nothing because how many people have ever tripped on a piece of candy. For many of us, a banana peel is what you expect to trip on not a piece of old candy! It was a little thing and not recognizing the danger that tripped me.
Usually it is the little things and things we believe will not harm us that trip us spiritually, too. For me, my anger flares when another driver drives so close to my rear while traveling at speeds 70 mph or greater and I cannot switch lanes. Irritation comes when I listen to people interject cuss or curse words throughout their sentence regardless of gender. For me such language is unnecessary, a sign of laziness, disrespect for others, and ignorance. I am bothered by those who say “mad” when they really mean they are “angry”; or call someone a “racist” when they do not like what the did and they just happen to be a Euro-American (in such instances there is nothing or the best that had occurred is “discrimination’, “stereotyping”, or “bigotry” that had occurred) or say they or someone is “paranoid” when they really mean “suspicious” of a person’s intent.
Reflecting upon how prayer could help, I began to come to understand that there are really two types of irritations: those caused by someone else’s rudeness or thoughtlessness, and those caused by my own impatience or by unreasonable hypersensitivity. In the case of the former—when someone throws trash from their car while driving down the highway—I really should pray for the offender (“Father, please get that driver to see how senseless and destructive their action is/was’). In the case of the latter—when I am irritated because every other word in some teenagers’ and young adults’ lexicon follows with a “you know”—I should ask Christ to make me more patient and understanding.
I have found that this double-barreled approach to prayer really does bring peace of mind and spirit. You might wish to try it this day, when day to day living gets under your skin. You will find it helps.
Prayer: Almighty Father help me to turn to You when frustrations or annoyances become too much for me to handle.