We all have things that push our buttons and tick us off. Even the gentlest and kindest among us have at least a few complaints about the practices of others we deem foolish or frustrating.
Most of my pet peeves have to do with the stupid or rude driving habits of others:
When entering a freeway, it’s wise to enter at freeway speed, not 30 mph!
For the last hundred years or so, all cars come with blinkers for a reason!
When I signal (using the wonder of a blinker), that is not a racing challenge to drivers behind me. Instead of speeding up to prevent my lane change, why not be courteous and let me in?
The visor mirror was not created so you can drive while putting on your face!
If you want to do the speed limit (or less), please don’t drive in the fast lane!
Riding my bumper in the fast lane does not make me go faster if there is no place for me to go due to the snail driver ahead of me!
When you pull into a drive-through coffee shop (where you have the option of going inside to order), don’t order six blended drinks for all the gals at the office. It’s supposed to be a quick drive-through, not a parking spot!
Okay. I feel better because that’s off my chest, but here’s my BIGGEST pet peeve: When people make their pet peeves more important than people.
Like I said, we all have personal beliefs and practices that create tension in us when ignored or unknown by others. We get frustrated when the other seven billion people on the planet aren’t nearly as smart as we are. Sadly, our anger seems justified when our desires are trampled on by the selfish or the ignorant.
Some of the meanest and most ungodly words to ever come out of my mouth have happened in my car. I yell at people all the time even though the only one who ever hears my temper-tantrums is my poor wife. I stopped honking my horn in anger some time ago after I did so to a parishioner in my church (that was embarrassing), but if Jesus were riding shotgun, He’d be disappointed with my language.
But what if?
How would my attitude be different, and my words kinder, if I valued people more than my pet peeve? What would it be like if I put the needs of others before my own? Perhaps life would be better if I had this attitude:
Oh, you need to order six drinks, and I only need one; that’s okay, please go ahead of me.
Maybe that old guy has suffered from a terrible auto accident and he’s bound by fear; that’s okay, please go as slow as you need.
Perhaps the mom not using her blinker, or not stopping at the red light, is an emotional wreck today because of a horrible relational issue. Lord, give her peace (and protect her!).
By no means am I excusing sin or foolish behavior. Of course, there’s right and wrong. Yes, for the common good, laws should be obeyed. I’m not rationalizing idiocy or encouraging stupidity. But when we violently lash out at others because they’ve crossed a line, we cross into vileness. When we return evil or cursing for evil, we become the ones in error.
What’s your pet peeve? Tattoos? Loud worship music? Pit Bulls? Preachers in jeans? Parents who bring kids to R-rated movies? Beer? Homosexuals? People who throw gum on a sidewalk? Jerks who take up two parking spots? Democrats? Republicans? Bad spelllors?
What ticks you off so much that your reaction to people reveals your love for being right more than your love for being relational? Without question, Jesus had high standards and He was always right, but He loved even the wicked because that’s what love does.
You can have your pet peeve, but please don’t put that above being like Jesus who was kind and loving to messed-up people like you and me.
“Love your enemies, do good to them . . . .
Then your reward will be great,
and you will be children of the Most High,
because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked.
Luke 6:35 (NIV)
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