Humility: God’s Response to Irritating People

Posted on · Posted in Anger

How many people do you think of as being less significant than yourself? 

Sounds a kind of arrogant, doesn’t it? 

Okay, how about this? Are you irritated by people who don’t do things as you think they should be done? Or are you often irritated at how self-centered other people are? Do you feel “put out” with people close to you more than you feel drawn to serve them? These are indications of self-importance. Not a pleasant thought!  

Being irritated with people leads to anger. That anger may lead to bitterness and cynicism. This produces the sin you didn’t see coming: self-righteousness. When you become consumed with irritation toward other people, you become self-deceived and self-righteous.  The sin of self-righteousness is almost always accompanied by self-deception. We may become so focused on how others irritate us that we are blind to the logs of sin blocking our own vision. When you are dominated by being irritated at people, you fall prey to self-righteousness.

Irritation is a gateway sin that, among other things, leads to stress that can lead to poor health.  Really? How does this happen? As you will see as you continue reading, being irritated at others is being wise in your own eyes. It is self-importance, the opposite of humility. Proverbs 3 teaches that being wise in your eyes has a negative impact on your body and can bring ill health. Irritation will cause you to lose more than patience! Your body is not made to coexist with irritation. 

The Holy Spirit has a radically different way for you to respond to irritating people: humility! He wants you to consider these people as being more important than you are. He commands you to have the same attitude as Christ when interacting with irritating people. Listen to what the Holy Spirit says:

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility consider others as more important than yourselves. Everyone should look out not only for his own interests but also for the interests of others. Adopt the same attitude as that of Christ Jesus (Philippians 2:3-5)

If Christ responded to us the way we respond to irritating people, we would have no hope! If your goal is to pursue the attitude of Christ, then you will not be dominated with irritation at the actions of those around you. Instead, your first thoughts will be about how you can serve, rather than about being irritated. Christ is the exact picture of humility. He laid aside his own well-being to honor the will of his father and to serve you and me!

Service and self-importance do not mix. Truly serving irritating people consists of humility and honor for God. Thinking well of ourselves will hinder you from thinking well of God. Irritating people are opportunities from God to focus on serving him as you look for how to serve instead of being annoyed.  Yes, it is true. People can be annoying or irritating! That is what sin does. Don’t be poisoned by irritation. Find ways to honor God by considering those irritating people as more important than yourself. 

Don’t misunderstand! The Holy Spirit is not telling you to become the servant of those who are irritating. He calling you to become God’s servant so that you can clearly see how to honor Christ and show the grace of the gospel to them. He is calling you to humility!

Related resources:

Help! My Anger is Out of Control

 

Counsel With Confidence

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.