Because life is so often an uphill battle, we become weary and impatient with others. When we are vulnerable in our tiredness, stressed and overwhelmed, it takes only a small push to tip us over the brink of simmering frustration and plunge into the abyss of red mist that is anger. An inconvenience that wasn’t necessary, a rude clerk at the store, a stub of the toe, an unsafe driver on the road, an inconsiderate remark made when we arrive home after a long day. When we are on edge, as so often we are, something insignificant, that would normally be merely a mild irritation, can be just enough to tip the scale and make us crack. We lose control, ignoring all sense we find our mouths saying things we know we will later regret, we allow ourselves to escalate arguments that carry on all day and cause grudges to take seed. Worst of all, we bruise the Holy Spirit within us, pushing His presence aside to indulge our frustration. Whether we simply snap back at someone, or go all out and give in to a yelling match, we hurt ourselves most as we regress in our walk with Christ as we reject Him, tearing our hand out of His like an angry child running away in a tantrum. Though we may be giving up on Him in our moment of exasperation, He is not giving up on us, and He faithfully waits for us to return to Him. When we lose our patience with others, allowing that certain person we find vexing to pull us into an argument, or giving in to a petty quarrel over something that is trivial or disputable, we give the devil a foothold in our lives to waylay us in the Lord’s plan for our lives. But when we rise above inconsequential squabbles, focusing instead on His truth and His desire for us to show understanding and love, we thwart the devil and bring glory to Him. As we study the Bible and pray for wisdom and strength, we bolster ourselves through His grace to have the patience and humility to overlook offenses, making allowances for the insults and indiscretions of others around us. Just as Christ made allowances for us because He loved us, and just as He forgives us time and time again, so must we make allowances and forgive perennially in order to move forward in our journey with Christ and bring Him joy in our love of others. When we endure in patience, He smiles on us, and when we maintain humility and gentleness towards those who upset us, we are a credit to Christianity and a model of Christ-like behavior as we evoke the righteousness of God in our very own lives. Not everyone will agree with us on any given topic, many will insult us, and even more will simply aggravate us with what we find to be irritating habits. We will not understand some people, because we do not know their back story, and they will not understand us fully either, but what we do know is that we must bear with one another, love one another, and resist the temptation to lose patience and become angry. It is no easy task to show forgiveness and make allowances in the face of insults, or to love certain people who seem unlovable, but overcoming frustration and saying no to the temptation of provocation is a conscious choice that we must make each and every day because we actively decide to be strong and put God first in every situation. We have to be willing to humble ourselves and make the difficult choice between indulging the selfish impulse to defend ourselves with indignation, and God’s commandment to love and forgive. Making the right choice requires a devotion of heart that comes only with committed practice and constant prayer. In order to have peace and joy, and develop our faith, we have been chiefly commanded to love and love abundantly, no matter how many times we must forgive. If we take the time to stop, and resist the urge to snap back or argue our opinion, and instead listen, we invite the Holy Spirit to work in our lives and change our hearts from tired frustration to loving grace.
Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God. James 1:19-20
Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love. Ephesians 4:2
Bear with each other and forgive any complaint you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. Colossians 3:13
A person’s wisdom yields patience; it is to one’s glory to overlook an offense. Proverbs 19:11
and give no opportunity to the devil. Ephesians 4:27