In Matthew 10:30, Jesus indicates that God knows us so well that he has even numbered the hairs on our heads. One one hand, it’s comforting; on the other, it can be unnerving knowing that God is aware of the things that we are trying to hide from other people, if not from God himself. When we walk into the church building on a Sunday morning with a fake smile stuck on our face, God knows that we don’t necessarily mean “Good Morning!” when we say it to that person who wronged us last week. God hears the sighs, sees the rolling eyes, feels the icy stares when we react to the presence of others for whom we have little respect and those with whom we are angry.

To be honest, I think God gets that. It wouldn’t surprise me if God would suddenly let us know just how frustrated he could be with us and say something like, “You think they’re bad? I have to put up with all of you! You guys drive me crazy sometimes!” I don’t imagine we’re much better than the people of Noah’s day, but God promised he wouldn’t wipe us out again (at least not with a flood).

Here’s the thing: God can relate; he gets it that we don’t always get along with each other. He knows that we irritate and annoy one another. However, God’s relationship with us is based in grace and forgiveness; so he really expects the same among us. In Ephesians 4:2 Paul writes, “Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love,” and in Colossians 3:13 he writes, “Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.”

That seems to be the point we forget. It’s not a matter of whether our anger is valid; it’s a matter of forgiving others the way God forgives us. We know what God has forgiven in our own lives; are those offenses lesser than what others have done to offend us? Probably not. How often do you find yourself repeating the sins for which God has already forgiven you? Shouldn’t that lead each of us to be more patient with each other, especially when this person or that person continues to do that one annoying thing that drives us crazy? Praise God that he has forgiven us! May he continue to bless us with the grace we need to be patient with one another.