How easy it is for me to become irritated at certain people.  I can begin fretting and fuming about the annoying things they do and my attitude just grows more and more sour from there.   Sometimes these “certain people” are complete strangers…the guy turning left from the right-hand lane, for instance…but, really, it’s mostly the people who I am around often who can really get under my skin.
So, the other day at lunch a friend and I were talking about how I was getting repeatedly irked at a particular individual.  Through the course of the conversation, my friend spoke great truth to me that came from the Word and pointed me to the Word.  I was convicted of my sins, including not loving this difficult-to-love person and failing to put their needs before my own.

As I considered how I fell into sin in the first place, I realized that the things that bothered me most about this person are my very own sins.  When I see this person boast, I cringe.  Because I’m so adamantly opposed to boasting?  No.  Because I’m so very prideful too.  The things that we despise in others are probably the very thing that are most a struggle in us.

Mirror, mirror.

If you don’t have ‘annoying people’ around you bringing your sins to attention, then maybe you can’t relate.  But, I sure seem to find more than my share–from my kids to my husband to other people in my daily path.  If someone is antagonizing me, I can be certain of one thing…they have probably just put a mirror up to my sins.

So, what to do?  What to do?  My gut instinct says to complain about those other people and pull back from loving them.  I don’t like my sins and I certainly don’t like theirs (which, remember, are so eerily similar to my own) so I just want to get as far away as possible from them.  The problem with going with your gut, though, is that it’s just not biblical.  I can’t choose who I want to love or not, be kind to or rude, extend a warm hug or withdraw.  Because of Christ’s lavished love upon me, I must love, be kind and hospitable.  This is not my gut’s response.  This is the Spirit at work in me.

I’m grateful for that mirror showing me my blemishes and sins because then I can do something about them.  I can go straight to my Savior who holds the mirror and says, “I’ve finished the work to save you from these sins.  Now, go and sin no more.”  There is no condemnation in Christ; therefore, when our sins are exposed to us, we can praise Him and repent, be forgiven and be guilt-free.

Lord, instead of my complaining about others or withholding love, turn my heart to You.  Fill me with Your love, Your forgiveness.  Remind me of the depth of love You lavished upon me when I was not just annoying, but evil in my mind and your enemy.   In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Love, Wendy

 

Wendy Foulke

Author Wendy Foulke

Wendy is married to Dave and they have three sons and a daughter. The Foulke family has attended Christ the Word since moving to Toledo in 2007. Wendy serves as director of Women of the Word ministries and blogs at reflect-i.com. She enjoys reading and traveling. Her favorite places to visit are the UK and Montana, and she one day hopes to visit Iceland!

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  • Wendy Foulke Wendy Foulke says:

    Allison, Thanks for your thoughts. Yes, I think our children can be our greatest reflection–definitely!
    One of my initial thoughts, to hopefully encourage you, is that we must be careful not to fear. When I see my sins in one of my children, I assume that he’ll always operate at this weakest point. I fear that he’ll never change and always be at this immature place. But, recently, my dad said something in passing about how I acted similarly when I was younger and he and my mom wondered how I would ever become a productive human. (Okay, maybe I’m paraphrasing them a bit! haha) That stopped me, though, and made me chill out and realize that God is at work in this child and that I need to trust His work…and not fear.

    Another thought is that while our struggles are part of our personalities, we must continue to fight against sin and not ‘blame’ it, or excuse it, on our personalities. Yes, I’m prone to having a quick temper. I’m sure that explosive fuse goes back many generations too. But, I can’t just say, “Welp, that’s how God made me” and not fight that sin of anger. (I’m not saying you’re doing this, but this is an easy excuse for me to make in myself and in my children)

    Finally, love covers a multitude of sins. When I’ve read 1 Peter 4: 8 in the past, I’ve often just thought about my love covering the offender’s multitude of sins. But, consider too that loving others–in the midst of their sins–is also covering your own sins. When your child is sinning and you’re struggling with seeing those sins (which are holding a mirror to your own sins), love on her and this will prevent you from sinning against her–from anger, from resentment, from frustration or irritation, etc. These things can all arise from your own guilt from sin too. So, remember to speak the Truth to yourself (you are forgiven! there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus!) and it may help you to lavish love upon her.

    (Taking notes for my own life too…)

    Love, Wendy

  • Avatar Allison says:

    So true, Wendy. I really struggle with this in particular with one if my children. I see some of my past and present sin struggles in her and I want so much for her not to be like that! It is hard and will probably always be a struggle, because part of it is just her God given personality. Would love your thoughts on this if you can relate.

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