When Someone Pisses You Off
“It is not for a good work that we are going to stone you, but for blasphemy, because you, though only a human being, are making yourself God.” – John 10:33 (NRSV)
I was recently irritated with someone because they were doing this thing that always irritates me. It is their not-so-hidden awful failing.
Then, in an odd burst of humility, I asked myself, “Do I ever do the thing for which I have now charged, tried and condemned my friend?” And the answer was, “Absolutely.” Chagrined, my spiritual blood pressure plunged. I felt my irritation quotient go down, and my compassion quotient go up.
Jesus’ antagonists here in the Gospel of John were deeply pissed, so much so that they were ready to stone him. His big sin, in their view, was blasphemy, acting like he was God.
I wonder if what they really hated about him was the very thing they were guilty of. At least they acted like deciding what God could do was their job.
Next time you’re going for a stone to let someone have it with your righteous judgment, step back and ask yourself, “Do I ever do this thing they are doing that is driving me nuts?”
If the answer is “yes,” consider working on your own stuff, and leaving that other person to God.
Help me to sweep my side of the street, to work on changing the one person I am responsible for. Amen.
Tony Robinson, a United Church of Christ minister, is a speaker, teacher, and writer. His most recent book is Useful Wisdom: Letters to Young (and not so young) Ministers. You can read and sign up for his blog at www.anthonybrobinson.com.