How To Stop Being Petty
We’ve all been there and experienced pettiness in some way or another. The spirit of pettiness takes such a small insignificant thing and makes it something much bigger than it actually is. When we narrow in and focus on whatever little annoyance it may be, we allow pettiness to dictate our lives and that's when pride, gossip and jealousy becomes part of our nature. The seed of pettiness is so ugly and wretched that it needs to be pruned before it takes root in our own hearts. So, let's look at some practical ways in which we can stop being petty…
Step 1: Identify The Plague Of Pettiness
You cannot cast out something you don’t realise is a part of you. Pettiness is a symptom of pride and it’s not a pretty character trait. Not only does it unnecessarily bother us, but it also causes rifts in our relationships with others, hence our spiteful nature naturally draws us away from Christ. Choosing to not fall into the temptation to become petty is choosing to not allow the little annoyances of life get to you.
It’s easier said than done. However, by identifying what triggers your pettiness, you can prepare yourself to handle the temptation better and escape it before it gets you in a bad mood. It’s about realising that pettiness is below you and that you do not want to be that kind of person.
Step 2: Exit Before It’s Too Late
The truth is petty things are always unnecessary. Yet choosing to focus and cultivate the seed of pettiness, means that we allow it to take root and that’s when we bear fruit of pride, resentment, bitterness, anger and impatience, which are all not fruits of the Spirit.
“Pride goes before destruction, and haughtiness before a fall.” — Proverbs 16:18
Over the last week, I’ve been reflecting on the pettiness in my own life and it made me realise how my pride and pettiness go hand in hand. If pride is the forerunner to destruction, then as believers we don’t want to be heading along that path. There will always be an exit to avoid the temptations of life. But when you get the opportunity to exit off and you refuse to yield and humble yourself, you find yourself in an unnecessary situation that could have been prevented if we swallowed our pride.
Step 3: Pray The Serenity Prayer
“God grant me the serenity, to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference.”
One way to handle the temptation to pettiness is to confront the root of it, rather than dwell on it. What or who is the root of your pettiness? Maybe, if you made someone aware of how they are “annoying” you, it could make a huge difference. It takes courage to confront the situation.
Step 4: Grow In Acceptance
Humility and patience are key to combating pettiness. If we can't change the thing that is causing us to become petty, then the only choice we have is to grow in acceptance of it. Acceptance isn't always the easiest route, choosing to love someone who continues to irritate you is hard. But the reality is if Jesus died for them and accepted them, who are we to reject them?
It’s about humbling ourselves to be able to forgive and break the bondage of unforgiveness in our hearts. It’s about forgiving and being set free. When we find it difficult to forgive, we need to remind ourselves of God’s forgiveness and grace. That’s where the next part comes in...
Step 5: Meditate On The Passion Of Christ
Meditation is a beautiful way to ponder upon Scripture. Everything is put into perspective when you meditate on the pure agonies that were inflicted upon our Lord. The pride you cannot swallow is ultimately the pride that led to the crown of thorns piercing His head. When you truly realise that Jesus died for you, so that you would have a shot of redemption, you will begin to realise how wretched pettiness truly is in the grand scheme of things.
So don’t allow pettiness to rob you of your relationships with others. Instead, try your best to implement these steps in your life and I hope that you will feel the Spirit of Peace reign in your hearts...