Over the last couple of weeks our family has been hit with a bout of the flu. It's not been pleasant for any of us and we've had to dig deep as we've sought to individually recover as well as look after one another. As the mum in the family most of the looking after has been done by me, mainly because the kids are still at a young age, and my husband has suffered worst of all. So let's say it's an understatement that I've struggled through these days with the physical demands of a sick family climbing the four walls of our house! Yet, I've found myself struggling even more so spiritually - I've lost sight of the Saviour too many times and it's been all too easy for me to become self-absorbed with how I'm feeling and neglect the privileged role I have as a wife and mother, called to love and care for my family.
The bottom line - it's become particularly apparent to me how impatient and irritable I have become! If you were to ask me what sins I struggle with most in my life, impatience and irritability would not be #1. However, they are sins that are all too real in my life and sadly are almost stealth-like catching me and those around me unawares.
Jerry Bridges has recently brought out his book Respectable Sins: Confronting the Sins we Tolerate. The book deals with how as Christians, we often become so focussed on the major sins of our society, that we neglect the need to battle with the more subtle sins in our lives. And lo and behold, there sits a chapter on impatience and irritability! Bridges describes impatience as a "strong sense of annoyance at the (usually) unintentional faults and failures of others. This impatience is often expressed verbally in a way that tends to humiliate the person (or persons) who is the object of the impatience." Closely related is irritability where Bridges writes: "While impatience is a strong sense of annoyance or exasperation, irritability...describes the frequency of impatience, or the ease with which a person can become impatient over the slightest provocation."
While reading through the chapter these words have been somewhat painful for me as I've been reminded of the many times in which I am impatient and irritable with my family. So, why am I sharing this? Maybe you are a wife & mother whose husband doesn't hang the bath towels the way you like, or pick up his dirty clothes from the side of the bed as you would. Maybe your children won't sit and eat all their dinner at the table and do it quietly with little mess as you would like. All too often I treat these situations as if it's my family who have the problem and neglect my attitude and heart. Is that you too? If not, which I doubt (!), maybe you can identify with anxiety, frustration, pride, discontentment, unthankfulness, selfishness, lack of self-control, anger, envy to mention a few more "respectable sins" that Bridges deals with. Can I recommend this book to you, it'll be painful, but immensly practical and helpful as you seek to "put to death" sin in your life.