"Since God chose you to be the holy people He loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Make allowance for each other's faults and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others." Colossians 3:12-13 NLT
There is a man living in the apartment complex across from our house who gets on my very last nerve. Every day, sometimes twice a day if I'm lucky, he takes his massive Rottweiler on an achingly slow walk by our property. Not only do I find large mounds of dog droppings in front of our mailbox on a daily basis, but without fail this man spends the entire walk yelling at the top of his lungs into a cell phone.
The yelling is in Spanish, so it helps that I don't know exactly what he's saying. But, in addition to the ear-splitting volume, his voice has the highest pitch I've ever encountered in a male human being. It's like a munchkin from Oz. A ten year-old girl munchkin.
And he has bright blond hair. For some odd reason this offends me the most.
Literally everything about this fellow and his walks makes me want to tear my eyes out. I can not fathom why he needs to yell so loudly and why this must be done in front of my house for fifteen minutes every day. I'll admit one time (it was dark) I lost my cool and shouted, "Shut up!" out the window. It was not my best moment, nor did it bother him in the least. He continues to walk-shout with carefree abandon.
Yesterday, as I was seething in frustration about his lack of respect for people with ears, I felt God whisper to me the above verse from Colossians. It convicted my heart. (I must note though, our God is a God of whispers. He understands appropriate noise levels and I love Him for it.)
How many times do I let the annoying things other people do eat away at my mind, heart, and patience when God is calling me to bear with them? It's just not worth it to let my decibel-y challenged neighbor get to me the way he does. In the whole scheme of things does it truly matter if he yells? I need to let him yell and let it go.
This is harder to accomplish in my marriage, this bearing with one another and allowing for each other's faults. My husband's faults offend and hurt me on a very deep level. My instincts tell me to latch onto every failing and allow resentment and hurt to fester unchecked. It can be satisfying to give into this predisposition, but ultimately it creates bitterness and division.
I'm not suggesting husbands and wives forgo accountability or avoid conflict, but I know my marriage would be more peaceful, loving, and supportive if we both were more adept at bearing with and forgiving one another.
Voltaire says, "We are all full of weakness and errors; let us mutually pardon each other our follies."
I am convicted of my need to mature in the area of forbearance with Christ's help and guidance. With both small annoyances and more serious offenses, I should be trying harder to let things go.
I also need to stick in some ear plugs.