You and I try to be nice. We are friendly. We smile. We are kind. Some people make it hard. Some people are annoying. People who park illegally, and get away with it. People on the subway who put their phone on speaker—and it is never the conversation you want to listen in on.
I heard a person in line at Five Guys announce he is a vegetarian. He is annoying. People who stand in the middle of the escalator. People who don’t know what a spoiler alert is, who insist on telling you that Bradley Cooper dies in A Star is Born.
People who use the Bible as an instrument of discrimination, self-congratulation, and exclusion are annoying. Religious fundamentalists who insist that marriage in the Bible is between one man and one woman, while ignoring how many wives Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Esau, David, and Solomon had. They average more than 100 wives each, and yet no one is saying, “Marriage in the Bible is the sacred covenant between one man and his 100 wives.”
The list of annoying people includes those who do not wait for their turn to speak, because whatever they are saying is so much more important than whatever you are saying, even though they have already said what they are saying four times and it has not been smart any of the four.
Parents who complain when their child does not get the part of Hamilton in the school musical are annoying. People who say one thing to your face and something else when you are not around. People who nitpick everything because they have appointed themselves the editors of everything. People who start sentences with “I’m not a racist, but.”
People who deny climate change. What part of melting glaciers don’t you get? 2016 sets a global temperature record, which is broken in 2017, and broken again in 2018. We have alarming increases in drought, flood, and wildfire. No credible scientists deny global warming, but risking the planet is profitable.
Some, but not most, politicians are hard to take. Those politicians whose goal is power, who are willing to lie, who mislead people into voting for them, and who sell their votes to organizations who are not helping the ones who need help.
They make it hard, but maybe we should try to stop being so annoyed. We can live with a sense of mercy that makes our lives better. We can act with kindness.
It is possible, that on rare occasions, we are annoying. In those moments we need to remember that love and forgiveness come as gifts. We need to get out of the judgment business.
The grace offered the disgraceful is the grace we need. We should accept annoying people, because we have been accepted. The hard, holy truth is that God’s grace is for everyone.