How can you show mercy when you'd rather show them the door? (Pixabay)

"A fool's wrath is presently known, but a prudent man covers shame" (Prov. 12:16).

We all have people in our lives who drive us nuts. I call them EGRs, which stands for "Extra Grace Required." But have you ever thought that God puts them in your life to be heavenly sandpaper? They may irritate us, but God uses them to take off our rough edges and shape our character.

Some EGRs are minor irritations. They may drive too slow in the fast lane. Some of them may be more challenging. They sit in the backseat and tell you how to drive.

Other EGRs may be just plain mean. They never say "thank you." They can be rude and negative, demanding, demeaning and disapproving. You just cannot make them happy, no matter how hard you try. Whatever you do, it's not good enough.

So what do you do with people like that? How can you show them mercy when you'd rather show them the door? Over the next six devotionals, I'll share six steps to demonstrating mercy to the EGRs in your life.

First, look behind their behavior. When you're dealing with people who are offensive and irritating, you need to look past their behavior to their pain. When people are hurting others, it's because they're hurting on the inside. Hurt people hurt people. They're full of fear and insecurity. They may have a painful past, or be dealing with some pressure that you don't know about.

You need to ask yourself why they are acting the way they are. Why are they being short with you? Did they have a fight with their husband or wife today? Is everything OK with their kids? Are they in financial trouble? Is something going on with their health? What's the thorn in their foot that's causing them to be mean to everybody else around them?

You look past the behavior and look at the pain and try to understand.

The Bible says, "A fool's wrath is presently known, but a prudent man covers shame" (Prov. 12:16). Why do wise people ignore an insult? Because they look behind the behavior to the pain. When you understand a person's pain, it helps you respond with patience.

Talk It Over

  • How do you respond to the Extra Grace Required people in your life?
  • What have you discovered when you looked behind someone's behavior?
  • How does your own pain influence your behavior?

Rick Warren is the founding pastor of Saddleback Church. His book, The Purpose Driven Church, was named one of the 100 Christian books that changed the 20th century. He is also founder of pastors.com, a global internet community for pastors.

This article originally appeared at pastorrick.com.

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