Below is something my Aunt Betty wrote. It is an eye opener:
If we have someone who irritates us, that person is a treasure, a gift. We need to thank God for our agitators. You might say, “You can’t be serious when you ask me to thank God for my agitators.” If we look at the role of agitators, for instance, in a washing machine, we recognize that it helps us to get our clothes clean. So, too, God blesses us with agitators to help cleanse us. The more perfect we think we are, the lengthier our list of agitators seems to be. Surprisingly, we might find that it is possible that we could be an agitator for someone else.
It is said that if we want to find out our negative side, it helps to note the names of a number of people we cannot stand—the ones who get on our nerves and irritate us. Then, when we are being honest before Jesus—wait until then—take one name and say, “Jesus, in your mercy show me if there is in me something similar to that person.” Then bring that part of yourself to Jesus. What so often happens is that we want someone else to take the burden of that part of us that we feel we can’t do a thing with or have given up on. The part that is most resistant in us we tend to throw out in shame, blame and guilt on another person, race, or group.
Back when I was “perfect,” I was going into a retreat. The Lord gave me the scripture, “Put away your lying.” I thought to myself, “How did I lie?” I tried to think back—did I exaggerate the truth? What was going on? I couldn’t think of a thing. The next day I came downstairs. This was back in the days of the silent retreats, and I hadn’t opened my mouth. Again, I asked the Lord for a scripture. I received, “Put away your lying.” I said, “Lord, I haven’t opened my mouth. I haven’t spoken to anybody.” The third day I asked for a scripture and again I got, “Put away your lying.” I said, “Lord, I give in; I don’t know what the scripture means. Please teach me.” The Lord seems to love it when we do that; that is when we stop playing scripture scholar and say, “Please teach me” because then He can give us Wisdom. Then the Lord said in my heart, “Betty, you are lying every time you deny what you are thinking and feeling.” Since I was thinking I had to be perfect, it was a real jolt to me to get the message that I have to be responsible for whatever goes drifting through me in thought and feeling. As time went on, I found out my negative feelings were my best friends. Why? Because they showed me the areas where I needed healing, where I needed saving, where I needed redeeming, and where I needed Jesus.”
It is very hard to satisfy our “inner Pharisees and publicans” because, if we are really honest about it, we are living in denial if we think we are already healed. Why is it that we want to be aware of our negative feelings and thoughts? Because unless we are aware, we cannot be truly responsible people. We will be controlled by our feelings or egotistical thoughts in our unconscious. May we grow in truth to see who we really are and stop projecting our sins.