Last time I took up the topic of impatience. Closely related to impatience is irritability, which is today’s topic.
“Describes the frequency of impatience, or the ease with which a person can become impatient over the slightest provocation.”
This definition reveals that impatience and irritability are closely associated. So much so that we can say “the person who easily and frequently becomes impatient is an irritable person.”
Irritable people are impatient most of the time. They are the type you have to tip toe around. The grouchy person, the one no one wants to be around those are who we would consider to be irritable people.
As Christians, irritable people do not serve as a good witness for the gospel. They are not able to lead others. They are not good accountability partners. For these reasons, and that irritability is a sin, we should rid it from us.
How do you respond to an irritable Person?
We have two options when it comes to responding to an irritable person:
(1) Jesus’ Example – In 1 Peter 2:23, “when he [Jesus] was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered he did not threaten, but continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly.”
Jesus did not retaliate and neither should we. Rather, we are to allow God to judge and deal with those who are criticizing or insulting us.
(2) Confront the Person – A conversation with the person who is continually impatient or irritable towards us is at times necessary. We must not be afraid to confront others about their sin, but we have to be cautious here. We should not confront the person until we “have resolved the issue in [our] own heart and can speak to the other person for his or her benefit.”
Remember if we choose to follow step two and the person does not respond well, we should not blow up on them, or walk away seething. Rather, we should revert to step one and allow God to judge and deal with the person. As well as we should pray that the Holy Spirit would convict them and work in their heart to remove their sin.
Questions for Reflection
- Have you ever confronted an irritable person? How did it go? Where they defensive or did they respond well?
- Why is it important that we not be irritable people?
 Jerry Bridges, Respectable Sins, 118