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20 December 2007

Fido the Peeve

I began to wonder yesterday if Christ-followers should feel comfortable having "pet peeves." I think that we all consider pet peeves to be things that other people do, that annoy us. However, "peeve" refers to the act of me getting irritated or becoming resentful, not the action of another (though in the living language of English, this word's meaning is adjusting to the phrase in question). "Pet" obviously refers to something that I own or possess. Given those definitions, "pet peeve" means "something about which I uniquely become very aggravated."

When I become annoyed that someone (whomever that may be) always leaves the bathroom door open while I'm in the shower, thereby exposing me to sub-arctic temperatures, my annoyance shows that I place my feelings on the top rung of the ladder of importance (or on the top of the igloo, as the case may be).

Sometimes our pet peeves can be based on justifiable concerns, but I don't think those things can technically be classified as pet peeves. Leaving the eye of the stove turned on is dangerous, for instance. Cranking the air conditioning on in the winter will result in a schizophrenic house temperature and an inflated utility bill. These are practical problems. Trying to teach a child to hang up his or her coat, only to have them leave it in the floor -- again -- is a valid source of aggravation (but fury is probably not the best teaching method). However, squeezing the toothpaste tube in the middle honestly doesn't hurt anyone or anything terribly much. Nor does wiping boogers on... wait... never mind.

Anyhow, the fact that I have pet peeves shows that there are little areas in which I still place primary importance on my own feelings rather than putting others' interests above my own. While this may seem silly or insignificant at a glance, I believe that it may showcase a chink in our armor (not the whole armor of God -- the armor of which I speak may be more like origami).

Ephesians 4:31-32 (NLT) says, "Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior. Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you." The word "bitterness" here means "acridity" (from the root word "acrid," meaning "sharp and harsh or unpleasantly pungent in taste or odor") or poison. No matter how insignificant we feel our pet peeves may be, they provide a small dose of poison to us each time we allow ourselves the liberty to excercise them.

Set up a mental alarm for yourself: the next opportunity you have to implement your anger at a little thing someone does, ask yourself, "Does this really matter, or am I working myself up over nothing?"

Oh, and I'd love to know about your pet peeves. Nothing like airing 'em out, eh? :)


Leroy said...

I've learned over the years that a lot (all?) of my pet peeves are more or less little inconveniences (if even that). Eventually I'll usually grow tired of becoming 'peeved' and will euthanize the pet. Oh, so we're speaking in euphemisms today...anyway, a couple of my 'pets' would be:

Stupid people. What?! You can't say that on a Christian blog!! I don't mean ignorance, we're all ignorant to some extent. I refer to the people that seem to chose to be stupid. I'm quite sure you know the ones I speak of.

Inconsiderate people. MAJOR gripe of mine. As a Christian, I'm supposed to put others first. I try, really hard. I got a double dose of this by being raised in a Christian home, so before I had the Holy Spirit leading me to be considerate, I was being taught the practice. Inconsideration really annoys me.

Funny story...(man this is a long post)...prior to my understanding of what a pet peeve was (I actually thought a pet peeve was a GOOD thing), in a loving manner I expelled my love for girlfriend (now she's my wife) by telling her she was my biggest pet peeve. Oh, now THAT was funny!! Well, after I got a lecture (and education on the term) it was funny.

Tony M said...

I think Leroy stole mine. :) Thus, I've nothing to say.

Wait, maybe I'll say it anyway. I think that, perhaps, pet peeves might go along with, to some extent, my own fondness for being critical. I am, somewhat, a perfectionist. And I like people to think I'm perfect, that I make no mistakes. And I seem, all too often, to be exceptionally critical of everyone around me (I, or at least my criticalness, might be a pet peeve of someone). Anyway, over the years, I've come to the conclusion that my critical nature probably has to do with my own imperfections and inadequacies and mistakes. I figure, if I point out every little thing that's ever wrong elsewhere, then perhaps no one will notice the mistake I just made. You know, the old, "Let me get that speck out of your eye, brother," in order to misdirect any staring at the log in my own eye.

Sorry, that may not be what your post is about. But I agree with Leroy, but probably in the reverse order; inconsiderate people are one of my largest pet peeves. And poor grammar. And online IM/email/blog/whatever shorthand (you know, the acronyms, like "LOL"). And lack of proofreading leading to stupid mistakes in published (online or in print) material. And...

ok, enough of that... obviously I have some work to do on myself today (and every day).

Anonymous said...

LOL i'm not even gonna bother w/ this blogger!

how's that, Tone - ur my bff


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