A wide berth.
That’s what I’m tempted to take around you, today.
You know why? Because today you seem to be a little…
Fair enough. I have my Oscar the Grouch days, too.
But why? What causes us to prickle up and bristle like a porcupine?
What flips that switch that causes us to take everything the wrong way, to roll our eyes and speak in a rough voice?
Is it job stress? A messy house? An unpleasant phone call? The cold?
I don’t know, but it can really hit us this time of year. One minute we’re fine, and the next…
Wait, now I’m grouchy, too. Thanks a lot.
This stuff is contagious. If we went out in public we could start an epidemic.
Is there a cure for grouchiness? Is there an antidote, or must we slump down into our trash cans and sigh with exasperated resignation?
Hmm. Maybe that’s it.
Maybe Oscar is always grouchy because he lives in his own trash. He refuses to separate himself from the thoughts and feelings that are making him grouchy.
Here’s a verse from Ephesians 4:31-32:
Put away from you all bitterness and wrath and anger and wrangling and slander, together with all malice, and be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ has forgiven you.
Maybe that’s what makes us grouchy. We forget to take out the trash.
It couldn’t sound simpler — when grouchy (or worse) thoughts and feelings come, we’re supposed to throw them away and get rid of them. They’re not useful or helpful. Grouchiness is not something to embrace!
Or it shouldn’t be, but this kind of trash is sticky. Like gum on the bottom of your shoe. All too often, just like Oscar, we choose to just live in it.
The antidote, as Ephesians describes, is kindness, forgiveness, and tenderheartedness. With each other, ourselves, and God. How could we have forgotten that?
Okay then, grouchy pants. It’s time to take out the trash. And I’ll do the same.
The next time we run into each other, let’s be living in God’s love instead of our trash cans.
Acting out of kindness, rather than grouchiness, can be a tough role to remember to play sometimes,
but you’ll be happy to know that the more you play it,
the less you’ll deserve an Oscar.
Have a Great Week,
originally posted January 2014