The Purpose of Frustration


Hurt people hurt people. You need to ask yourself why they are acting the way they are.

“When a fool is annoyed, he quickly lets it be known. Smart people will ignore an insult” (Proverbs 12:16 GNT). 

You will encounter people who create so much frustration that you ask God, “Please help me show them extra grace.” Who are these people in your life? 

  • The slow driver in the fast lane?
  • The coworker who refuses to apologize?
  • The ungrateful friend?
  • The rude and obnoxious neighbor?
  • The demanding, demeaning, and disapproving family member? 

Many people have developed unhealthy responses to frustration. They might avoid difficult people, but denial only delays the problem. It doesn’t solve it. They might try to make them happy, but some people will never be happy. No matter what they do, it’s not good enough. 

How can you respond like Jesus? 

Consider the fact that God has put these people in your life to be “heavenly sandpaper.” Although you are irritated, God is using them to take off your rough edges. God is more interested in your character than your comfort. 

Learn to look past their behavior to see their pain. Hurt people will often hurt others. They’re full of fear and insecurity. Maybe they’re shouldering a pressure you don’t know about. 

Instead of dismissing these frustrating people from your life, look at them as a gift from God to help you become more like Christ. Frustration reveals something in you, and you can give this to God by having a change of heart. 

  • “God, help me to be more patient.”
  • “God, help me to be better at apologizing.”
  • “God, help me to be more thankful.” 

Frustration also gives you the opportunity to show grace to others. One of the reasons God has forgiven you is so that you can reflect this forgiveness to others. That can’t happen if you don’t get frustrated!

Talk It Over

How can you respond in a more Christlike way to people you find frustrating? 

What have you discovered when you looked at the reasons behind someone’s behavior? 

How does your own pain influence your behavior?

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This devotional © 2019 by Rick Warren. All rights reserved. Used by permission.

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