This year’s summer retreat was down in Trinity Lakes on a couple house boats exploring the Californian wild, sort of. For the most part, like the eleven disciples, I stayed on the boat. Even when others were doing flips off the side and testing their skills at wake-boarding, I was enjoying the inside of the boat. I’m just not much of a fan of water. The guest speaker was a pastor named Darrin Ratcliff, a very charismatic guy who loves golf. Obviously he and I got along pretty well. And though his messages were filled with challenges for our everyday lives, being Christians in an un-Christian society, one of the most interesting things I learned from this man happened before we even set foot on the boat.
We were waiting for Tony Overstake, the Cross Training pastor, to get the two house boats inspected and driven over to where we could load our stuff up when Darrin started chatting with us. He talked about how he hated Disney Land and how Tony is believed by many from Sam’s Valley to be half human and half beast. We were kind of hanging around our cars, which were parked in between spaces outlined by powdered chalk. One of our guys was patting his bear feet in the powder and, mixing with the wind, the dust took flight and was landing on Darrin’s black Nikes. I was watching the whole ordeal and I remember Darrin just about to ask the guy to stop, but then he checked himself and said, “Not your issue; it’s mine.”
It may not seem that amazing to anybody else, but Darrin’s ability to recognize the difference between his own pet peeves and problems that actually matter was a little convicting. I’m not very good at differentiating things that bug me because of my own personal dislikes and things that are actual problems. For instance, there is a lot of music that I just don’t listen to these days because I find the lyrics to be absolutely appalling. But there are many of my Christian friends who aren’t really bugged by them. Instead of leaving it as a simple difference of opinion, I tend to cast judgment on them because of the music they listen to. Darrin merely saying “Not your issue; it’s mine,” and then standing somewhere where the powder wouldn’t get on his shoes instead of asking the guy to stop tapping his feet revealed to me my own error.
It makes me wonder how on earth we try to justify our pet peeves. There are many things that bug me, like poor grammar and the aforementioned vulgar language in song lyrics, but does that give me the right to cast judgment on others who aren’t bugged by those things? Just calling pet peeves, “pet peeves,” doesn’t make them right or fair for other people. Instead, it only enables a sort of ignorance; we ignore that many of our issues are our issues alone and no one else’s. I mean, if you think about it, how many other people are bugged by your pet peeves, too? Chances are, there aren’t too many.
My whole point with this is merely to say that maybe instead of demanding that others respect our pet peeves, we should humble ourselves, recognize that our pet peeves are our problems, not others’ and go from there. Yeah it means that we may not always get our way or be comfortable, but it does mean that our friendships wouldn’t be filled with turmoil. It does mean that instead of having a divided and chaotic household where everyone walks around as though they were walking on thin ice, there’d be peace and unity and love.
Yes, we all probably have pet peeves that might matter to more than one person. But the point of living as a Christian isn’t to point out everyone’s every flaw so they can be corrected, but rather to be makers of peace. If someone was going around murdering my neighbors, I would probably do something about it because it’s an act of injustice. But if someone wants to listen to music with bad lyrics, who am I to say they can’t? If they aren’t bothered as much as I am, then what’s the problem? It’s my issue, not theirs. I should deal with it instead of making others around me deal with it.