A Prayer for Those Who Irritate Us

How to work with the people who get under our skin ... and even learn to love them.

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Posted in , May 9, 2012

Daily Devotionals blogger Julia Attaway

At our house we have a saying: “No matter where you go, no matter what you do, there will always be at least one annoying person.”

It’s an unfortunate fact of life, but we have to figure out how to work with the people who get under our skin ... and even learn to love them. To which my kids reply skeptically, “But how?” Here’s what I tell them:

  1. Consider why the person might be acting that way.
    Why do they need attention? What else could be going on in their day (or life)? Often we don’t know, but when we respond to the underlying need instead of reacting to the overt behavior, things tend to get better.
     
  2. Look for something you genuinely like about him or her.
    Practice seeing the positive—and comment on it out loud. A simple, “I’ve noticed you’re good at ...” changes my perspective and builds the other person up.
     
  3. Pray for the person.
    Praying for others means to pray for their good; it’s more than saying Make him stop! or Give me patience. That means taking a deep breath and stepping outside our irritation to pray, Lord, I ask you to shower ___ with blessings. Pour out your grace upon her, and fill her heart with a deep desire to serve you. Shine your face upon her, and give her your peace. And teach me to love her as you do.

None of this is foolproof, but it’s a start. For the way out of poor situations is to be rich in prayer ... and abundant in our determination to love others as God loves us.

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