[For the good of others]
I saw this printed on a mug as I was perusing Pinterest one day: “Please do not pet the peeves.” The Peeves! Get too close to them, and before you know it they’re under your skin. Next, these monkeys are on your back! Don’t pet ’em! Move along. Back away slowly. There’s nothing to see here.
“We who are strong have an obligation to bear with the failings of the weak, and not to please ourselves. Let each of us please his neighbor for his good, to build him up.” –Romans 15:1-2
“Those of us who are strong and able in the faith need to step in and lend a hand to those who falter, and not just do what is most convenient for us. Strength is for service, not status. Each one of us needs to look after the good of the people around us, asking ourselves, “How can I help?” Romans 15:1-2 The Message (MSG)
I don’t know if I’m one of the weak, or one of the strong, (sometimes I really begin to wonder about that), but I do know that some matters need to be dropped sooner rather than later–long before things begin to fester. Left unchecked “The Peeves” begin to multiply, and guess what? These nasty things aren’t so easy to get rid of. Let’s choose instead to head ‘em off at the pass. Let’s choose instead love, and to Intentionally strengthen others.
“Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice.” –Ephesians 4:31
Please don’t pet the peeves. They’ll only take your legs clear out from under you if you give them that opportunity. Turn the other cheek while you still have a leg to stand on, and don’t let the door hit you on the way out! 😛
“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things.” –Philippians 4:8
“We begin to notice, besides our particular sinful acts, our sinfulness; begin to be alarmed not only about what we do, but about what we are. This may sound rather difficult, so I will try to make it clear from my own case. When I come to my evening prayers and try to reckon up the sins of the day, nine times out of ten the most obvious one is some sin against charity; I have sulked or snapped or sneered or snubbed or stormed. And the excuse that immediately springs to my mind is that the provocation was so sudden and unexpected; I was caught off my guard, I had not time to collect myself. Now that may be an extenuating circumstance as regards those particular acts: they would obviously be worse if they had been deliberate and premeditated. On the other hand, surely what a man does when he is taken off his guard is the best evidence for what sort of a man he is? Surely what pops out before the man has time to put on a disguise is the truth? If there are rats in a cellar you are most likely to see them if you go in very suddenly. But the suddenness does not create the rats: it only prevents them from hiding. In the same way the suddenness of the provocation does not make me an ill-tempered man; it only shows me what an ill-tempered man I am. The rats are always there in the cellar, but if you go in shouting and noisily they will have taken cover before you switch on the light.”–C.S. Lewis/Mere Christianity
From the book the Screwtape letters: Written by C.S.Lewis this book primarily looks at temptation and resistance to it. Screwtape is a senior demon who writes to his nephew Wormwood: a junior tempter.
Screwtape offers more advice on using daily annoyances to entrap a Patient:
“It is, no doubt, impossible to prevent his praying for his mother, but we have means of rendering the prayers innocuous. Make sure that they are always very ‘spiritual’, that he is always concerned with the state of her soul and never with her rheumatism. Two advantages will follow. In the first place, his attention will be kept on what he regards as her sins, by which, with a little guidance from you, he can be induced to mean any of her actions which are inconvenient or irritating to himself. Thus you can keep rubbing the wounds of the day a little sorer even while he is on his knees; the operation is not at all difficult and you will find it very entertaining. In the second place, since his ideas about her soul will be very crude and often erroneous, he will, in some degree, be praying for an imaginary person, and it will be your task to make that imaginary person daily less and less like the real mother—the sharp-tongued old lady at the breakfast table. In time, you may get the cleavage so wide that no thought or feeling from his prayers for the imagined mother will ever flow over into his treatment of the real one. I have had patients of my own so well in hand that they could be turned at a moment’s notice from impassioned prayer for a wife’s or son’s ‘soul’ to beating or insulting the real wife or son without a qualm. –C.S. Lewis/The Screwtape Letters
For another “Perspective” see also: Kenn Smiths Post “Perspective”