Monday, November 18, 2013

What Irritates You?

By John Gipson

   Are you irritable?
   Irritable, as the word is generally used, is regarded as a defect of character.  We tend to think of it as that nervous tendency to explode on the smallest provocation.  As overgrown babies our prestige, comfort and “rights”—any invasion of these brings a howling which can be heard in the next county.
   Make your own private list of what irritates you: driving behind a car going thirty miles an hour when the speed limit is fifty-five; having a flight canceled and sitting in the airport until the next day; going to the emergency room and having to wait hours to see a doctor; getting the wrong order from Burger King—why these things are enough “to exasperate a saint.”   (Continued next column)
   As bad as “irritability” sounds, it can be a noble thing.  Take the case of the apostle Paul in Athens : “His soul was irritated at the sight of the idols” (Acts 17:16, Moffatt).  This sight of ruin and degradation stirred his whole being.
   Have we retained a capacity for moral indignation? In my reading I ran across a satirical quatrain which may describe the danger which faces many of us:
“St. Francis of Assisi
Was incapable of taking things easy;
That is one of the advances
We have made upon St. Francis.”
   It’s sad when we don’t get irritated or stirred by anything—when wrongs are all about us and we show the fine placidity of a cabbage.

- via Windsong Notes, the weekly bulletin of the Windsong Church of Christ in Little Rock, AR. John Gipson, a longtime minister for the Sixth and Izard congregation (now the Windsong Church of Christ) serves as one of the congregation's elders. Visit their website at

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