Irritating People!

Lenten Prayer of St. Ephrem

Have you ever had a person in your life that simply pushed your buttons whenever you were around them?  Perhaps you might just have one in your life right now!  There is just something about that person that gets under your skin.  They may be antagonistic toward you; treating you with scorn and perhaps even hatred.  You say to yourself, “What’s wrong with that person?  I get along with everyone!  Why can’t they get along with me?”

The truth of the matter is that all of us have such persons enter our lives periodically!  This article will not deal with the possibility that each of us might also be that person who pushes someone else’s buttons, which of course, couldn’t be possible since we are so very loving and kind all of the time:>)

Instead of dealing with that irritating person, we might decide to avoid them after condemning them in our minds.  Our hearts can become filled with judgmental thoughts and we may end up despising them in our avoidance.  That in itself doesn’t sound very spiritually helpful to us.  In fact it sounds quite detrimental to our spiritual well-being.  And yet, I find it so very easy to go there when that “someone” crosses my path.

Here’s a conversation between two people about this very topic.  I hope they won’t mind my sharing these thoughts with all of you.  Here’s some of what was said concerning such an irritating person (with some slight changes to keep it confidential):

“I had always thought of myself as being able to at least attempt to be cordial with people whose personalities conflict with mine.  This person seems like the first person in my life with whom I have not “gotten along.”  However, upon reflection, I realize that judgmentalism is not the root cause of this issue—pride is. Pride at thinking I have this amazing ability to be loved by everyone.  Pride that I also have this amazing ability to be “nice” with people that I don’t particularly like.  This is the main reason my judgmentalism is as bad as it is.  Basically, it comes down to one thing: I’m offended that this person doesn’t get along with me.  This person has wounded my pride.” 

Here’s the response that took place:

“It appears the Lord has given you amazing insights as to the root of the issue with this person.  Pride is so very often the culprit in my own life as well.  Humility is usually not a gift that is plopped in our laps…rather it is something we have to practice over and over again.  We have those opportunities every day…perhaps every hour of every day.  To listen rather than think about what gem I will say next; to help rather than walk on because I am so very busy with self; to answer gruff words with kind words, even when everything within me wants to tell it like it is…and so on goes the list of our opportunities.

This may be hard to wrap your mind around right now (hindsight is so much easier than the current situation), but (and I’ll make this a question):  Could it be that God has placed this person in your life for your salvation?  Don’t look at me that way!!  This is such a great opportunity to love your enemy, bless that person who may be cursing you, do good to that person who may even hate you, and pray for that person who may spitefully use you and persecute you.  Hey, that wasn’t my idea…but the One who said it had in mind our very best.  Again, this takes practice…and now you have every day to practice these things with someone you have to be around.  What a gift from God!

This “irritating” person is the product of all the things that he/she has been through in life.  That person may well be hurting inside with many emotional and spiritual scars that continue to cause pain in the depths of their soul.  God may have put you in that person’s life for a good reason as well.  You may be a part of their healing and their salvation too.  You may or may not ever see any changes, but that isn’t your responsibility.  If you can look through all the defenses and walls to see the person that God cares about, then you will be able to love, bless, do good, and pray for him/her. Could it be that this is the opportunity that God has placed before you?  May the Lord give you strength as this stuff is so very hard to do!!”

Consider the last line of that wonderful prayer we pray during Great Lent:


O Lord and Master of my life, take from me the spirit of sloth, despair, lust of power, and idle talk. 

 But grant rather the spirit of chastity, humility, patience, and love to Thy servant.

Yea, O Lord and King, grant me to see my own transgressions and not to judge my brother.  For blessed art Thou unto the ages of ages…Amen.

Lenten Prayer of St. Ephrem

4 replies on “Irritating People!”

Thank you so much for this writing. I know pride causes me all sorts of difficulties and to have humility takes so much practice.

Thank you Kenneth…indeed, pride is such trap. It is so easy to follow my prideful ways than it is to follow after humility. May God give us strength of character during this Lenten time to put into practice the very things we want to become to live by every day. God’s blessings to you!

We speak much about forgiveness but know very little about it. Today I had a deep insight.
There is no Christian life without forgiveness. When we say we are Christians and fail to
forgive our sisters and our brothers that we have hurt, we are only entertaining illusion in the
Christian life. This lent , Lord give me strength to continue the devout life of forgiveness.

Thank you for your wonderful insights Mary. Truly as you stated, forgiveness is the path we are called to walk on. The only other path is pride and we know where that leads…to the cliff! May our Lord give all of us the courage to forgive those we have offended! I say courage, because the enemy of our souls will do battle to keep us justifying unforgiveness in our hearts. God’s blessings to you!!!

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