“When a trial comes upon you unexpectedly, do not blame the person through whom it came but try to discover the reason why it came, and then you will find a way of dealing with it. For whether through this person or through someone else you had in any case to drink the wormwood of God’s judgments.” + St. Maximos the Confessor
Your brother knows that with just a little word he can get an emotional reaction out of you. With time and repetition all it might take is a knowing look to send you into an angry rage- just in time for mom to turn around and see you acting badly while brother looks so innocent.
Tearfully you blame him for starting it, but she is reacting to what she saw you do- which wasn’t nice. Why did you let him get to you?
You’re driving and the driver ahead is talking on the phone while she weaves a little in and out of her lane. As she slows down and speeds up randomly- based on her attention to her phone call, you get angry. You’d like to be going five miles per hour faster and don’t have a place to pass her.
Did you just call the weaving driver an ugly name? Did you honk to alert her to her situation or did you honk so she’d glance back and see an ugly hand signal?
If someone is driving distractedly it’s natural to be annoyed, but if you find yourself swearing about it, then it’s suddenly really about you. Where did that reaction come from? What inside needs attention?
Our reactions to our outward circumstances help God to show us what needs attention inside.
Sometimes little things that don’t go our way or people that provoke us by making things harder for us or disagreeing with us can cause us to react in ways that surprise us. Where’s all that anger coming from?
Why did I get so upset about that?
There’s a reason inside–a little nugget that God has for us-–a reason that can help us on our road to becoming more like Him. As we understand these things within and are able to guard against them, we can choose to react with more patience and steadiness.
Lord, help me to see what my reaction are telling me about what’s going on inside. Help me to focus on Your love and mercy so I can stay peaceful in my heart when others need my mercy.