Aggravating People

Posted on · Posted in Anger, Sanctification

When was the last time you encountered an aggravating person? It is possible it was only a few minutes ago!  The truth is, you should not be surprised when people are aggravating. God wants you to be prepared for aggravation. It is time to stop being shocked that people sin or see things differently than you do. 

Isn’t that negative thinking?

No, it is just realistic thinking. The Holy Spirit tells you to be ready to deal with people who are aggravating and irritating. Being prepared can turn potentially negative situations into positive ones. Here are four passages that will help you to be a blessing to aggravating people:

Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Ephesians 4:2 God is calling you to be humble and patient with people who are aggravating.  It is possible that your humility is exactly what they need. And it certain that God wants you to respond with humility and patience.

Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. Ephesians 4:32 Compassion for aggravating people is not natural, but supernatural.

Do not be overcome by evil, but evil with good.  Romans 12:2 God’s ways are different than our ways. Returning good when faced with aggravating behavior in others is a powerful response that honors God.

A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.   Proverbs 15:1  There is immense power in a gentle answer in the face of aggravation!

These are four of many commands about how to address the aggravating people that you encounter every day.  The Holy Spirit knows that you will have to interact with people who are less than perfect. This is why he gives you explicit instructions about how to respond to aggravation.

You won’t find a biblical justification for responding with: “I can’t believe he just said that!” The Bible tells you that people are born in sin with a bent towards self-centeredness. This should not be breaking news. So rather than being shocked and self-righteously outraged, God calls you to bear with the sins of others in love. You are to be kind and compassionate, always ready to forgive. You are to overcome evil with good.  You are to give a gentle answer in response to outrageous comments.

I know, this isn’t natural or easy at first. But this is the point. God has a better way than responding to aggravation with more aggravation!

Return love instead. Love is not easily irritated. Love remembers that God’s mercy is daily extended to you when you are unlovely and aggravating.

Make showing God’s love more important than your injured pride.

“Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.”

Jay Younts
John A. (Jay) Younts is the Shepherd Press blogger, and is a ruling elder serving at Redeemer Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church in Moore, South Carolina. He has written Everyday Talk, Everyday Talk About Sex & Marriage, Finding the Right Track, the In Touch With Paul stewardship series, and What About War. He has studied and taught about biblical childrearing for 30 years. He and his late wife Ruth have five adult children.