Loud eating annoys me. Slow drivers irk me. Dirty socks left in a pile makes me huff. Coats and boots out of place make my eyebrows do tricks. A reprimand makes me want to tear into the person and set ’em in their place. I mean, seriously! Who do they think they are!
There are some things that just grind my nerves.
And, you can be sure every single annoyance on my radar gets some kind of reaction. Usually immediately. Whether its in words, a honk of the horn, a slamming door, a huff, or eyebrows all kinked up, the insulter usually hears from me in short order. So when I read the next verse I cringed.
“A fool shows his annoyance at once…”
GASP!! Are you serious?!!
“…but a prudent man overlooks an insult.” Proverbs 12:16
Well! Since I have no problem perfecting the first part of this verse, how about we take a shot at the second part. Yeah, the ‘overlooking an insult’ line.
How hard is that?
I mean, who even succeeds at overlooking an insult?
“Love covers a multitude of sins”, 1Peter 4:8, comes to mind. As well as “He who covers over an offense promotes love,” Proverbs 17:9.
OK. Sin is sin, and we aren’t to be afraid to call it as such. Notice how Peter and Solomon did not say love covers disobedience, lies, selfishness, or other bad decisions. No, here we are being called to not bother with every little transgression in our daily relationships. In other words- don’t sweat the small stuff!
When we are annoyed or insulted our calling is to calculate our response carefully. For me that means I need to think faster than my mouth can talk. I need to breathe before my body language takes over. Is this something I should let go of? Is this annoyance, this insult, this misdeed, among the multitude that love covers?
In every circumstance weigh the matter quickly, decisively and with good judgement. If it affects my attitude more than the offenders eternity, very likely its among the multitude love covers over and I need to deal with a greater problem within myself.
For me, this means:
Pick up my husband’s dirty socks. Again. Smile.
Remind the loud chewer to close their mouth. Again. Kindly.
Pass slow drivers at an un-suicidal speed or enjoy the slower pace. Keep my hands off the horn. Wave. (my hand not my fist) Smile.
Teach and remind my kids where coats and boots belong. Again. Patiently.
Hear the reprimand. Receive it with grace. Respond gently.
The list goes on….add your own here________.
Join me in prayer.
Father God, thank you for Your unending grace. Thank you for Your kindness. Your gentleness. Your patience. Your mercy. Teach me to be more like You in my responses to daily happenings. Teach me and show me what love covers over and what needs to be confronted. Give me insight to recognize the small stuff, and give me wisdom to discern quickly and rightly. Amen.