When People Get On Your Nerves

Sharon JaynesGod's love, Gratitude, Knowing God 144 Comments

It’s coming. We can’t stop it. The holidays are upon us. And while it is a joyous time of year, it can also try our patience and get on our last nerve. Actually, it’s not the season itself…but the people.  Am I the only one who feels that way? I don’t think so…smile.

While pondering the happy and the harrowing feelings that come along with all this togetherness that is coming over the next six weeks, God reminded me of a lesson He taught me about taking the good with the bad. I wanted to share it with you today.

As I sat on my screened-in porch early one morning, I was taken aback with the beauty surrounding me. I held a steamy cup of coffee in my hand and placed my open, well-worn Bible in my lap. As if on cue, as had been our routine for the past several weeks, a visitor hopped from the shrubbery and onto the night-cooled patio. “Good morning, Peter,” I cooed to the little brown bunny. “How are you today?” I just love bunnies, I mused.

Just as I was enjoying watching my furry friend, he hopped over to a flowerpot, stood up on his hind legs, and yanked a rather large stem from a plant.

“Good grief,” I moaned. “Stop that!”  Bounding down the steps, I came face-to-face with the wascally wabbit. “Stop eating my flowers,” I warned. “Get out of here. Shooo.”

Back on the porch, I grabbed my lukewarm coffee and placed my Bible back in my lap.  It wasn’t long before a dainty hummingbird buzzed up to the hummingbird feeder just outside the screen. I watched in amazement as its wings fluttered and it hovered in mid-air. Iridescent colors of green and blue glistened in the sun. I just love hummingbirds, I whispered.

No sooner had the thought entered my head than a second hummingbird dive-bombed the first. Quickly a fight ensued. Beak to beak, they fought over the food. “Guys, stop it,” I pleaded as if they cared. “There are six perches and enough nectar for everybody! Good grief!”

Taking a sip from my now cold coffee, I tried once again to concentrate on my open Bible. But in the corner of my mind, I saw our heron approaching. A beautiful heron lives on our lake and occasionally he passes our way. I marveled at his long legs pointing behind him and his slender beak leading the way. With exaggerated movements, he slowly flapped his magnificent blue-gray wings and glided before me. But then, like a Boeing 747 with a leak in the fuselage, a stream of poop fell from the bird and made a trail in the yard.

“Good grief,” I moaned for the third time in one day.

Back to the Bible. As I tried to concentrate, God began speaking to my heart about what I had seen. Are you willing to take the good with the bad? He seemed to say.

You love bunnies and they eat your plants. You love hummingbirds but they constantly fight. You love the heron, but he makes a mess in your yard. Are you willing to take the good with the bad?

“Well, yes” I whispered to God. “I am willing to take the good with the bad. I love your creatures!”

What about people? He seemed to continue. If you are willing to take the good with the bad with mere animals, are you willing to take the good with the bad in people created in My image?

And then, as God so often does in my life, He left me to think about it.

Paul’s words popped in my head: “And we urge you, brothers, warn those who are idle, encourage the timid, help the weak, be patient with everyone” (1 Thessalonians 5:14 NIV).

I began to think about people in my life whom I have rejected or relationships that I have walked away from because of annoying behavior or emotional messiness. It seems I was willing to take the good with the bad with God’s creation—but when it came to people created in God’s image…not so much.

God always takes the good with the bad.

  • Abraham believed God, but he also made some terrible mistakes, namely Hagar.
  • David was a man after God’s own heart, but he committed murder and adultery.
  • Jacob was the father of the twelve tribes of Israel, but he was also a deceiver.
  • Martha was hospitable, but she was also bossy.
  • Andrew was loving, but he was also loud (he wasn’t called a son of thunder for nothing).
  • Thomas was dutiful, but he was also doubtful.

And then there’s the woman I look at in the mirror every morning. I’m not going to list my annoying qualities but let me tell you they are many. And yet, God takes the good with the bad. He loves me even when I make a mess.

So, here’s the question for us today. Are we willing to take the good with the bad when spending time with folks over the holidays? Are we willing to overlook the annoying behavior of others and embrace their positive qualities instead? I’m going to leave you to think about it like God left me to think about it that morning.

Heavenly Father, all I can say today is HELP! Help me be patient, loving, and kind.  Help me to focus on the positives of others and shrug off the negatives. And Lord, help others do the same with me! In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

During this holiday season, as you gather with family and friends, if you are committed to overlook the negative and embrace the positive, leave a comment and say, “I’m in!”

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Comments 144

  1. Yes, I’m willing to take in the good with the bad…part of every day life so I must adjust….I love Christmas but I have to deal with budgeting my finances just to make ends meet…I also have to plan the office Christmas party but then I have to deal with difficult people…

  2. Oddly enough a friend sent this to me. Sorry, but I was completely unaware of your website. I am a nature lover but yesterday my 6 family members arrived from out of town for a week. Talk about Gods timing … this was perfect

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  3. As a flight attendant, getting ready to fly today, reading this passage was a great reminder for me. Every time I fly, before I get out of my car, I pray,”Lord, give me your kindness, your gentleness, your kind of love & allow everyone I encounter to see Jesus in me.” Thank you for the reminder that they too were created in the image of God. ❤️

  4. Thank you, this goes with a study I’m doing about friendship. How quick I am to see the speck in someone else’s life and climb over the mountain in my own. This message is a great refresher of seeing others through our FATHER’S eyes. Thank you

  5. Hi Sharon! Thank you for your wonderful story today. This is exactly what I needed to hear. I will be thinking about this not only in the holidays but every day of the year! I’m in!!!

  6. Lord, help me to be grateful for everyone You place in my life and everyone I encounter this holiday season because I know ultimately there is something You want me to learn so that I can grow in You.

  7. I am in … more about hoping people show me patience and don’t get annoyed with me. Thanks for the great reminder and everyday life examples.

  8. Thank you so much fir this illustration Sharon that I have already experienced! I’m praying God will help me grow in this area.

  9. Thank you for making me giggle and reminding me that if God overlooks, forgives & loves me unconditionally…how can I deny that to the people & creatures that have been and will be a part of my life. I’m In!!!

  10. I’m in…been a bit apprehensive about a family Thanksgiving gathering since our last one (2 years ago) was the last time we all were together with my folks before my dad passed away just before the pandemic. And in the ensuing years so much has changed and family relationships are different as well. Thank you for these words to remind me of all the grace God shows me in my good and BAD. I pray for His strength and Spirit to enable me to extend that to others as well.

  11. This devotion is so “on time” for me. Around our table this Thanksgiving will be a collection of people only God could draw together. A widow looking for new purpose in her life; a divorcee of many years who believes in “God” but has no use for “church”; a couple in their 70s who still share the same house but don’t trust or even like each other anymore; and our adult son who loves us but who has no use for our Christian faith. and lastly, my husband and I who are seeking God’s plan for our lives after 47 years of pastoral MInistry. So blessed today to have my focus changed and be challenged to view all those created in God’s image more like the way He does. Thank you for this devotion.

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      1. What a beautiful image… taking the broken pieces of our lives and turning them into a new creation! Our God can do the impossible. Thank you for sharing your gift of words. I’m in.

  12. Sharon, this is exactly what I needed. I am so bitter and angry with my husband due to his annoying behaviour.
    On my own I can not do it, please pray for me

  13. I am a day late but i am so in. I really needed to hear this because i am at the end of my rope with a person in my life and am wearing thing. God help me.

  14. I’m in, but only with God’s help. This is a major struggle for me and God’s been dealing with me on it too, for quite a while. Funny, He used the animal kingdom to talk to me about it too. I live in Florida. The state bird is the mockingbird. Lots of them and I love them, not the least of which because they remind me of my mother who also loved them. When they sing it sounds so beautiful , but when they talk (squawk) it sounds unpleasant. So too with people. I pray for God’s help to get this lesson because it’s so critical. Good bless all who are “in”!

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