If only people would stop behaving like people. If only people would use mouthwash, close their mouths when they chew, quiet their screaming babies, and clean up their trashy lawns.
There is a way the world should run. And when others behave in ways we don’t like, we call that a pet peeve. The phrases we use regarding our pet peeves reveal the person who actually suffers. He “gets under my skin” or “gets on my nerves,” or she is such a “pain in my neck.” Whose skin, nerves, and neck? Ours! Who suffers? We do!
For this reason the apostle Paul said, “Be patient, bearing with one another in love” (Eph. 4:2 NIV). The patient person sees all the peculiarities of the world. But rather than react, he bears with them.
Denalyn’s thirty-seven years of marriage to me, the king of quirks, qualifies her for a PhD in this subject.
When I drive, my mind tends to wander. When it does, the car slows to a crawl. (“Max, pay attention.”)
I repair things at risk of ruining them. (“Max, I told you I could call a handyman.”)
My jaw makes a popping noise when I eat steak. (“Max, you’re distracting the people at the next table.”)
I’m good for thirty minutes at a party. She’s good for two hours. (“Max, we just got here.”)
Yet Denalyn is the happiest person within a dozen zip codes. Here is her secret: She’s learned to enjoy my idiosyncrasies. She thinks I’m entertaining.
Happiness is less an emotion and more a decision, a decision to bear with one another.
During the next few days you’ll be tested. A driver will forget to turn on his blinker. A passenger on the airplane will talk too loudly. A shopper will have fifteen items in the “ten items or less” checkout line. Your husband is going to blow his nose like a foghorn. When they do, think about this: No pet peeve is worth your joy or theirs.
Life is too precious and brief to be spent in a huff.
Since entering the ministry in 1978, Max Lucado has served churches in Miami, Florida; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; and San Antonio, Texas. He currently serves as Teaching Minister of Oak Hills Church in San Antonio. He is America’s bestselling inspirational author with more than 140 million products in print. Visit his website at MaxLucado.com