Be thankful for those who annoy us

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Think for a moment about that person who annoys you. You know, the one whose actions or attitudes drive you crazy and make you want to run the other way when you see them coming.
Most of us can name at least one person in our circle of influence we consider annoying. Some can think of several who fit the description. At the same time, we must consider that we, ourselves, just might appear on someone’s list.

What if we asked God to help us be thankful for each person He has placed in our lives? (Understand, I’m not referring to people who are causing us harm.) Can we come up with one positive trait they possess? What if we began thinking differently about them today, during this caustic time we’re living in?

If we ask our sovereign God, He could reveal how spending time with this person (or simply knowing him or her) makes our life better. Even to the point that we can be thankful for having them in our lives.

Sound crazy? Let me explain.

Wouldn’t you agree that sometimes we become so focused on how people disappoint us that we totally ignore their good qualities – including their intrinsic worth? Or label someone as annoying for something they have zero control over, like a particular tic or a slowness of mind or manner?

God longs to help us trust Him with all our relationships, including helping us see and love people as He sees and loves them. He may want to use that person to influence the circumstances in our life in ways we can’t see yet.

It pleases our heavenly Father when we find ways to appreciate (and get along with) His children. We can start by repenting of our arrogance and striving toward grace. We can pray for God to show us how to show our respect for every individual with whom we interact.
Matthew 5:7 (ESV) encourages us to offer mercy in every relationship, particularly the difficult ones. “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.” It’s easier to be merciful when we consider, as we do, that everybody has reasons for their behavior. And that they may be praying to change, just as we are.
What would happen if we were merciful to the annoying person at church, next door, at work or school – and especially at home? Even if that person never changes, choosing to show mercy will definitely change us.

And maybe, just maybe, we’ll change so much that we, too, will become less annoying. And hopefully… be removed from someone’s list of annoying people.

Sheryl H. Boldt, a Franklin County resident, is the author of the blog, www.TodayCanBeDifferent.net. Connect with her at SherylHBoldt@gmail.com.

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