Irritability and and annoyances

Overcoming Sin through Christ

A Comprehensive List of Sins


(Alphabetically Arranged)


Richard Hollerman

The plan of this study is simple.  We will look at a large number of sins, one by one, alphabetically.  We will define the sin, describe it, and comment on it, along with noticing Scripture references on the particular entry.  Some illustrations will be offered along with the description.

Irritability and Annoyances

This is another one of those words that are not found in Scripture, per se, but principles of Scripture do bear upon it.  Irritable means “easily irritated or annoyed,” and irritate means “to make impatient or angry; annoy.”[1]  Irritable means “easily irritated or annoyed; readily excited to impatience or anger.”[2]  We’ve already discussed what the Bible says about impatience and anger, thus we don’t need to make a long exposition of irritability here. In short, to be irritable is to be impatient and angry—both of which are sinful attitudes and dispositions and responses.

Most of us will immediately see how incompatible irritability is with true holiness in the Christian life.  Paul says, “Love is patient, love is kind . . . does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered” (1 Corinthians 13:4-5).  If love does not allow one to be “provoked,” we can see that this in itself disallows irritation.

People may be “irritated” by others who offend them, by circumstances that bother them, by those who treat them badly, or by those who are unkind, unsympathetic, or selfish.  We may be “irritated” by the words of others, by the actions of others, and by our own feelings of inferiority and ignorance.  While we may recognize evil in others and their behavior, we must keep from impatience and anger—for those responses often reveal an unloving, bitter, and reactionary attitude.  It is better to take our negative feelings to God, realizing that God will work all things together for God (Romans 8:28).

One writer named a chapter, “Being Annoyed: Irritability.”  In the chapter we read: “Annoyance usually stems from being offended when people say or do things that do not suit us. . . . So often in everyday life we see the alarming results of this seemingly harmless sin.  How often is a relationship of love disturbed, because someone gets annoyed? Then we begin to wrong each other.”[3]  The author then gives this illustration:

Many marriages have gone on the rocks, because one of the marriage partners was always annoyed whenever they had anything to discuss.  Peace was disturbed.  Every objective discussion was made impossible and they could no longer approach each other in love.  Often, for this reason, children have lost their confidence in their parents or teachers, who were always annoyed with them.[4]

How do we understand this combination of irritation, annoyance, impatience, and anger?  Schlink notes:

Why do we get annoyed?  Because we are not at one with the will of God.  That is why everything that does not suit us upsets us.  We object to everything.  Or demands are made on us which we think are too much.  Or someone’s request upsets our intentions and we react with annoyance.  But we do not realize that all things, large and small, that come from people, are actually placed in our daily lives by God.   When we get upset, we rebel against God and grieve Him.  And why do we get annoyed at people, at situations and conditions?  Because our ego or our self-will is so big.  Everything has to go the way we intended, the way we think is right, the way that is easiest for us.  Every wish, opinion or mistake that others make meets with our opposition.[5]

How then do we respond to an irritable spirit when we recognize it in our life?

The most important thing is to recognize that annoyance—along with many other sinful ailments that we usually do not count as sin—is really a sin.  It must disappear from our lives.  Once we recognize this, we will rely upon Jesus’ redemption and His blood, which contains healing for every sin. Then we will bring this sin to Him. Then we will become ashamed whenever we become annoyed, because we know that we are making Jesus sad and that we are becoming guilty by destroying some of His kingdom.  Then we must follow Jesus’ call: “Repent!”  Turn away from this path of yours, do not give annoyance any more room![6]



[1] The American Heritage College Dictionary.


[2] Random House Webster’s College Dictionary.


[3] Basilea Schlink, You Will Never be the Same, p. 45.

[4] Ibid.


[5] Ibid., pp. 45-46.

[6] Ibid., p. 47.

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