Dealing With Irritating People

2 06 2012

Someone irate us with their mouth, rudeness, disrespect, attitude, offensiveness, or whatever, we can either react in emotion, (“they have it coming”) or we can act in wisdom. The Bible speaks of a person who intentionally stokes the fire of your anger (Prov. 26:20-22). Once you give in to playing their “game”, they control you. Your reaction could give them even more fuel to that fire. The contentious person (v.21) wants to have the last word on everything at the expense of anyone in the way. They are so irritating that you want to fight, either physically or verbally. Even if you could walk away from an irritating person, the wounds that they inflict can run deep (v.22). Mean spirited people with reckless attitudes have a disregard for others and an air of pride about themselves. How do you keep from reacting toward people who get under your skin? May I introduce two old fashioned (out of fashion?) and Biblical words?

1. Forbearance
In Proverbs 25:15, a forbearing person can persuade a “prince” (authority figure). When he speaks, it is with the power of a “soft tongue”. Literally, it means to suppress a passion without venting it with angry or offensive words. In other words, you do not get drawn into the “trap” being set by an irritating person. In the New Testament it literally means, “to hold back”. Forbear threatening (Ephesians 6:9); forbear one another (Colossians 3:13). In other words, hold back the temptation of giving them a piece of your mind.

2. Long-suffering
I know it’s an old King James word, but it’s a good one. It literally means, “long temper: (vs. a “short fuse”). It is an attribute of God (II Peter 3:9). He is willing to have a long temper with us and suffer long with the grief that we often give Him. Long-suffering is actually associated with mercy because the one possessing it has the power of revenge, but chooses not to exercise it.

Forbearance and long-suffering are mentioned together describing our relations to one another. When it comes to irritating people, we need to hold back and suffer long.

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One response

2 01 2009
Deb Dey-Ermand

This is a good example of what I like about your site. Always an answer to actions, (or reactions) gets me thru those times. I don’t usually comment but I read with expectation.

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