Get a Grip!
When we get annoyed too easily, we are…well, annoying. What we don’t realize is that when we find faults in others, we are really on a fault-finding mission against ourselves. As the Apostle Paul proclaimed in so many words: We usually hate in others what we hate about ourselves (Romans 2:1, paraphrase mine).
Besides, when we get annoyed too easily, while it may give us an adrenaline rush while we vent our vexation, the high all too soon wears off, and all we are left with is a nasty emotional hangover. Yup. Unwarranted annoyance is a drug that defeats us. And the irony is that the more we use it, the more addicted to it we become. Yes, annoyance is a heady thing. Just like a drug, it makes our heads swoon, our vision as a Christian get blurry, and we lose our sense of judgment. In effect, we do and say very un-Christianly things. Annoying things.
But Jesus got annoyed often in the Gospels, you may say. True. But Jesus only got mad at the things we should get angry with—unrighteousness, sin, and hypocrisy.
In fact, anger wears many masks, from mildly being miffed to simply whining, both of which are just anger coming out of a small opening. And the wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God (James 1:20). Oh, I know, it’s easy for me to say avoid being annoyed. But the truth is nobody makes us annoyed. We choose to be annoyed. That’s right. We gladly give away our joy, so we can hit the heights of rage. And rage is an ugly thing. As believers, we must not give in to annoyance. After all, aren’t joy and peace the lot our LORD has given us? And isn’t self-control the earmark of a true believer? I mean, people are watching our every move. And they are hanging off our every word. And when they see us having a critical spirit—a spiritual meltdown, so to speak--it turns them off from our faithful Father, who wants only to wrap them in His adoring arms with love and acceptance.
We must learn to give other people a break. Our enemies cry, too. And God knows, He has surely given us enough breaks! Besides, we do and say things to others that annoy them at times. Yes, even when we are walking in the Spirit, I’m afraid! “…for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God…” (Romans 3:23). And God forgives us, doesn’t He?
The flipside is just as important. We must also avoid angry people, even if they are fun to be around and make us laugh a lot. For they are like nuclear power plants. Press the wrong button, and they will soon reach critical mass. And their mass can rub off on us, too. Just “As iron sharpens iron, so a man sharpens the countenance of his friend” (Proverbs 27:17), a wrathful man’s ways will rub off on us quite readily.
To be sure, becoming easily annoyed all the time can morph into resentments. And resentments become jail cells with us in it. For who of us is innocent of getting annoyed too easily at times? I know it used to happen to me—a lot! However, once I realized that when I refused to live in annoyance, a prison cell door was opened, and the one who walked out of that prison was me! Yup. Forgiveness is the key that sets us free.
Proverbs 20:3 puts it pointedly: “It is honorable for a man to stop striving.” Which means, when we give other people a break for their mistakes, meanderings, and mischiefs, God honors us. And when I say “honors,” I mean He bestows blessings upon us that are almost beyond belief! It also frees us up to give the grace to others to just be themselves—warts and all—by showing them God accepts them, just as He accepts us—pimples and all! In short, it is to be Christ-like. And it will pull people to God, not push them away from Him. We’ll also make some friends out of foes, which has been my experience.
So, c’mon, my fretful friends! Life’s way to short to meddle with madness. Let’s all take a better drug that enables us to enjoy the abundant life Christ promised (John 10:10). The drug of acceptance of others who are going to offend us. Let’s all take a chill pill—that is, a daily dose of Vitamin G (God)—and relax!
All Scriptural references taken from the NKJV Bible, 1985