Be patient, bearing with one another in love. —EPHESIANS 4:2 NIV

He picks his teeth in public.

She has this odd manner of clearing her voice every few moments.

He can’t watch the news without spouting his opinions.

She must apply her makeup with a putty knife.

He cuts off cars in traffic.

She cuts off people in conversations.

He’s as edgy as a porcupine.

She is too laid back and soft spoken.

He rubs you the wrong way.

She gets on your nerves.

Irritating. Aggravating. Exasperating. Infuriating.


If only people would stop behaving like people. If only people would wear deodorant, use mouthwash, close their mouths when they chew, quiet their screaming babies, and clean up their trashy lawns.

There is a way the world should run. And when others behave in ways we don’t like, we call that a pet peeve. Not a colossal divide or hostile rivalry or legal violation. Just a pet peeve. A pet (smallish, personal, individual) peeve (quirk, peculiarity). A pet peeve.

One of my pet peeves was tested the other night when Denalyn and I went to a movie, a very funny movie at a very full theater. There were hardly any seats left. We finally found two empty chairs on the aisle in the next to last row.

Did I mention that the movie was funny? I thought it was. So did the fellow behind me. But he brought a new dimension to movie enjoyment. Whereas everyone else laughed after the comicality, he laughed prior to it. As he saw the humor coming, he began to chuckle, kind of a chesty “heh-heh-heh.” Then he began to prep his wife and, in doing so, prepped us all. “He’s gonna fall. Watch, honey. He’s gonna fall. He doesn’t see the curb. He’s gonna fall.” Then came the big moment and his announcement: “I told you! He fell! He fell!” Then he would break into wall-shaking laughter that buried the next few lines. Peculiar behavior.

What pets your peeve?

I know a woman who has a pet peeve about facial hair. Must be something Freudian, although Freud had a beard. For whatever reason she does not like beards. When I grew a beard, she expressed her displeasure. More than once. My facial follicles left her harried. On several occasions she waited in the reception line after the worship service and expressed her opinion. Each time I wondered, Is my beard worth this frustration?

Joy is such a precious commodity. Why squander it on a quibble?

Max Lucado, How Happiness Happens: Finding Lasting Joy in a World of Comparison, Disappointment, and Unmet Expectations (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2019).

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