Love is patient; love is kind; love is not envious or boastful or arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice in wrongdoing but rejoices in the truth. I Corinthians 13:4-6, NRSV
When I resent someone else’s good fortune, I can feel my heart constrict – squeezed by a giant fist of jealousy and envy. I think that’s as much a lack of love and appreciation for what I do have as it is a lack of love for the person who has what I don’t. With some effort and a larger perspective, I can let go of resentment over such things.
But what about that feeling of irritation that comes over someone else’s behavior? Talking too much, not talking enough; laughing too loud, not laughing at all; correcting my mistakes to be helpful or to be annoying – the list goes on and on. Perhaps I don’t usually ascribe my own irritability to a lack of love because it’s so easy to believe it’s the result of the other person’s shortcoming rather than my own.
Why is it so easy to see someone else’s irritability as self-generated, but so difficult to see mine as the same? If I ask myself this question, perhaps with some effort and this larger perspective I’ll be able to let go of irritability as well.
[For the full text, click I Corinthians 13 above.]