When I was young, I fought with my brother tooth and nail (too often literally) seemingly all day, every day. Today, my siblings are my best friends, a blessing I don't even care has been negatively stereotyped for homeschoolers. Seriously. Sour grapes, I say.
One reason why this epic gruelling battle went on for so many years (I think it was responsible for most of my mom's white hairs) was that I wouldn't and couldn't see how I was to blame. Obviously my brother was the main culprit--because if he hadn't been so hyper active/noisy/interfering I would have happily stayed at my desk writing my stories and drawing my endless pictures of anthropomorphic cats and dogs in medieval dress (I don't know what this scores on your WeirdoMeter, but that's precisely how I spent the bulk of my free time for many years.) I was what they call a 'diem' child--or as one personality test diagnosed, an introvert (albeit a high-functioning one.) Happy to be by myself, doing my own stuff. Of course, it was my brother's fault for poking me first--annoying me--being noisy--causing me to lash out.
''It's HIS fault!" I wailed every time my mother had to separate us. "He started it first! He's irritating me!"
I see this same mentality when I work with kids. Fingers point. Defiant glares. Tears. "He keeps bothering me!" "She pushed me so I pinched her!"
We all have certain people in our lives who annoy us.
Maddeningly slow, reminiscent of the sloths in Zootopia. (loved that movie, by the way.What a fun and witty satire on human nature and the chemistry between different personalities...)
Nit-picky and hard to please, always criticizing so that you cringe whenever they volunteer their opinion.
Ungracious in the way they talk. Perhaps their humour makes you wince inside behind a strained smile.
Maybe stuff they've borrowed has a bad habit of never coming back.
Or perhaps they simply have bad breath, or a habit of standing intimidatingly close when they talk--
Maybe they simply have really different opinions, backgrounds, and priorities from us. Just deciding on a place to eat makes you see how different your budgets and expectations on food are...'so you think you're too good for Mac's?' 'what, vegetables? Seriously? Are you a health freak or what?' 'How on earth can you eat so little/so much??'
It's easy to get annoyed, even when other people don't mean to be annoying. When I was small I often got impatient and was rude to a young friend who kept calling. Like every day. Just wanting to talk about unimportant stuff. Unfortunately I had lots of IMPORTANT STUFF (and I even saw them in my mind capitalized) and the last thing I wanted to do was to be forced to listen to a long, unending phone call about virtually nothing at all. I'm afraid without being downright rude (thank God my parents would never have let me get away with that) I managed to be pretty unkind--curt, impatient, and brilliant at finding excuses for not being able to take a call.
I look back and realize the same entitled mentality lay behind my hasty 'bye got to go tell me next time' and my 'He started it!' defensive wail when my mom had to act as mediator and judge between my brother and I. Just because someone was annoying--whether unintentionally, or even purposefully--didn't justify my being mean to them. This was something my mom kept trying to impress on me all those cat-and-dog years, in her attempt to balance the invariably one-sided punishment.
I only realized and accepted this later when I was seeking salvation and, knowing I needed to truly see my own sin in order to repent and be saved, prayed for God to show me. He answered, in a very direct and real and personal way, when it felt near impossible, first by showing me this.
Just because I was annoyed, just because someone had done something which prickled me, didn't automatically give me the license to retaliate, to punish them for disturbing my peace or my happiness. It's harder to realize this when it is a legitimate wrong done to you, because indeed, wrong has been done and every conscience with its God-given ability to tell right from wrong knows that punishment must be meted, deserves to be meted.
But--a standard takeaway concept from many superhero and action movies, where it becomes what separates the good guys from the bad guys; their refusal to replicate the evil in the name of revenge.
Jesus, after all, suffered much more than mere annoyance, though I'm sure the dense disciples often got on His nerves with their inability to understand so many things.
He loved us selflessly when we hurt Him most.
a quiet voice
Ci thinks some of God's greatest blessings to mankind are
all images from Pinterest unless otherwise specified. thanks, Pinterest!