Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

You Can Refuse to Be Irritated Bringing a Spiritual Perspective to Daily Life

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

You Can Refuse to Be Irritated Bringing a Spiritual Perspective to Daily Life

Article excerpt

For the second evening in a row, I was getting an unsolicited call from a telemarketer. The previous night's caller had been persistent, and my first reaction was considerable irritation at this second uninvited intrusion.

Like many other people these days, however, I have been seeking a spiritual path through life. In my quest I've been learning that irritation isn't a healthy response to anything, because it isn't a God-derived attitude.

The Scriptures teach that God is Love and made us in His image, spiritual. We exist to express the love of God, which is unconditional love. I wanted to live up to that standard. So while my business was being courted, I silently prayed to override the strong impulse to be annoyed. "I appreciate your offer," it then came to me to say (gently), "but I'm really happy not to take you up on it just at the moment." The words came out sounding as if the opportunity to be happy in this way was a great joy. The caller took me on my word and signed off immediately with a kind comment. The particular words I used wouldn't always be the right ones for similar circumstances. But prayer to overcome one's own irritability, in which we let God's love animate our response, will always provide an appropriate answer. By giving us a better view of ourselves and our relationships, prayer reveals a place for each of us to love and be loved unreservedly. His powerful love is the truth of all existence! Irritating circumstances and irritable reactions don't form any part of this spiritual existence. Seeing this, we can recognize that at any moment, proneness to irritation is actually an admission of one's inability to perceive God and His creation. On the other hand, praying for spiritual perception - and living accordingly - break the grip of irritability. And it's a grip worth breaking. Irritability would wear down marriages, undermine parent-child relationships, soil a workplace or school atmosphere, and spoil the joy of friendship. It may seem like a minor vice compared to some of the evils broadcast on the news. Yet the Bible warns about "little foxes" that "spoil the vines" (Song of Solomon 2:15). …

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