Monday, 27 January 2014

The Truth Hurts

“Impatience is a strong sense of annoyance at the usually unintentional faults and failures of others.”  Jerry Bridges

Guilty as charged!  I’m actually annoyed at the definition because it is so condemning.  There are several troubling pieces of this definition.  The first is the phrase “usually unintentional”.  Though I hate to admit it Jerry is probably right at least as it pertains to my brand of impatience, I’m usually impatient with someone for something they have or have not done and most often it would have been unintentional.  Which brings me to the second troubling phrase “faults and failures.”  They are only faults and failures in that they don’t align with my values and beliefs, the people are not playing by my rules.  

So basically I become impatient with people who are going about their business in such a way that they unintentional offend me because their way is different than mine.  Which makes me feel like a self-centered jerk in addition to being impatient.

Fortunately my impatience is usually directed at those that I don’t know or don’t know very well.  They are the people who fail to use turn signals, who habitually come to meetings late, or who lack common sense.  I get impatient with people in the retail industry who react to me, the customer, as if I am an inconvenience. Often my impatience revolves around someone not adhering to my code of ethics, code of conduct or common courtesies.

Time to connect the dots.  Some of you suffer from this same malady except you get impatient, frustrated and irritated with your spouse.  They don’t put things away, they never say thank you, they don’t empty the dishwasher the way you think they should, they can’t remember things that you think are important, they seem a bit lazy, they regularly let the gas in the car get too low, the house is a mess, the garage is a mess, etc., etc.  We impose our standards, beliefs and values on someone who never accepted them to begin with and then get impatient with them because they don’t adhere to our specifications.

The sad truth is that often the reason you (and I) are impatient is because we don’t get our way.


The Fruit of the Spirit includes patience, Colossians 3:12 tells us to put on patience, and Ephesians 4:1-2 tells us that we are to live our life with patience.  My impatience comes not from outside of me but from within.  With the help of the Holy Spirit I am seeing myself becoming a little more patient each year.  If that sounds as though I am getting impatient with the slowness of the process you would be right.
 

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