The Irritable Need Not Be Irritating!

Fr. Francis Scaria

Smiley face Those who are capable of distinguishing between the ‘irritable’ and the ‘irritating’ have already grasped what I intend to covey. The irritable need not necessarily irritate. One of the most intriguing incidents of the Old Testaments is what happened to David when he came near Bahurim (2 Sam 16:5-14. Shimei son of Gera, a man of the family of the house of Saul came out cursing. He threw stones at David and all his servants shouting, "Out! Out! Murderer! Scoundrel!” When Abishai son of Zeruiah said to the king, "Why should this dead dog curse my lord the king? Let me go over and take off his head" David was able to keep his calm and tell him, "What have I to do with you, you sons of Zeruiah? If he is cursing because the Lord has said to him, "Curse David,' who then shall say, "Why have you done so?' " David added, “ It may be that the Lord will look on my distress, and the Lord will repay me with good for this cursing of me today" (v.12). David refused to be irritated.

Irritation is primarily a biological and physiological term. Irritation makes itself evident in inflammation or painful reaction to allergy or cell-lining damage. The mental and psychological irritation manifests itself in many widely known ways. It is not unusual that we are infuriated at a word or action. The English phrase ‘to wind somebody up’ is very telling. We need to realise that when we get irritated we fail to be ourselves, but are wound up by someone. When God invested in human beings ‘authority over all the earth’ he made us to be in command, first of all, over ourselves. Yet, not seldom, do we find ourselves helpless in sudden outbursts caused by something that irritates. St. Peter cautions us: “Discipline yourselves, keep alert. Like a roaring lion your adversary the devil prowls around, looking for someone to devour. Resist him, steadfast in your faith, for you know that your brothers and sisters in all the world are undergoing the same kinds of suffering (1 Pet 5:8-9). Refusing to be irritated is a mark of the freedom of the children of God.

While I was seriously concentrating on completing this piece of thought, the door bell rang. I knew the village children were at the door, who from time to time come to take the carom board to play. I had to decide not to be irritated!

MUSINGS : 1-25, 26-50, 51-75

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