It’s very easy to get irritated with people who may be different from us. Their personality, way of expressing themselves, speech, volume, and a whole host of other things can really start to annoy and upset us if we allow it to. It can be especially easy if we are not a “people person” to think everyone is just a “little different” if they are not like us. Yet how boring would it be if were all the same, with no variation of thought, opinion, look, style, and expression.
The more we keep the point of view of everyone having to be like us for us to get along with them, the less tolerant and impatient we become. We can make matters worse by distancing ourselves from social settings and activities where we know these “different people” will be. If we keep this mindset and tactic of avoiding people we find annoying we will eventually get what I call the “grumpy old man or women” syndrome. You don’t necessarily need to be “old” to catch this syndrome either. We can all at any age get set in our ways, and very comfortable with our own weaknesses and how we like things, taking the stance that it’s not our problem but everyone else’s.
I’ve discovered from being around a variety of people that people can definitely be annoying, but they can also be amazing, inspiring and a blessing in our lives. The ones we find annoying are usually the people that God uses to rub off our rough impatient, intolerant edges, causing us to grow in our ability and motivation to love our neighbour.
The bible says “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.” (Proverbs 27:17)
These are the one’s that God uses to reveal to us our own hearts, and where we may have hidden wounds, attitudes of judgment and a whole range of unattractive things in our lives. If we allow Holy Spirit into these spaces He will soon reveal where we need the transforming power of His love which helps us let go of our own annoying habits, judging, offence and intolerances. As we open our hearts to God’s love and kindness He floods our hearts to a love that never fails, and His words begin to transform our mindsets to take the position of patience and kindness.
Everyone has their own story, complete with their share of brokenness, and hidden hopes and dreams. Perhaps instead of getting annoyed it would be better for us to take the time to hear their story; to ask Holy Spirit to show us why they are the way they are, and why we are so bothered by them.
Today consider whether the challenging people in your world are those whom God has actually placed in your life for a purpose. Is having them in your world an opportunity for you to grow more loving and patient, and to choose to encourage, show kindness to and be a source of blessing?
“Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.” (1 Peter 4:8)
“Let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God.” (1 John 4:7)
“And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.” (Romans 5:5)
Prayer: Lord please fill my heart with your love and kindness, especially where I may struggle with people who are different from me. Thank you that your love in me never fails. In Jesus name Amen.