Sanctification

10 Pet Peeves (with Providential Purpose!)

One of the podcasts I’m enjoying listening to right now is Mike Abendroth’s No Compromise Radio. Recently he posted a series of episodes about his pet peeves with the church, false teachers, and other ministry issues, and used those pet peeves as an opportunity for teaching and exhortation.

It seemed to be a thought-provoking way to address the issues, so I’m shamelessly emulating Mike’s idea today and discussing a few pet peeves of my own:

1. Mispronouncing or misspelling the names of false teachers being critiqued. The names that seem to give people the most trouble are Joel Osteen and Joyce Meyer. There is no “L” in Osteen. It is not OLsteen or OLDsteen. It is pronounced OH’-steen (also note the emphasis on the first syllable). Joyce Meyer does not have an “S” on the end of her last name. It is Meyer, not MeyerS. When you mispronounce or misspell the name, it diminishes your credibility with followers of that teacher. People tend to think, “This person doesn’t know what she’s talking about. She hasn’t even done enough research to know what my favorite teacher’s actual name is.” Hearing Scriptural truth about your idol is hard enough. Let’s be merciful and not make it any harder for people than we have to.

2. Women who try to manipulate ministries which take a firm stance on biblical doctrine into apologizing or changing said stance by saying how “sad” or “grieved” or “depressed” or “sorrowful” they are that this ministry isn’t nicer to false teachers, more compassionate as to why women can’t submit to their husbands, etc. It reminds me of three year old little girls who have learned that if they turn on the tears and the puppy dog eyes, and burble with quivering lip, “That huwt my feewings!” when Mom disciplines them, that Mom will quickly change her mind about the punishment.

Ladies, godly women do not manipulate by saying things like this (And, as an aside, if you’re using this tactic with your husband, stop now. You’re going to destroy your marriage). If you’re not genuinely sad or grieved, what you’re saying is a lie. If something a ministry says or does genuinely offends you, the first thing you need to do is find out – from correctly handled Scripture, not your opinions – if they’re being biblical. If they are, you need to adjust your feelings so that they line up with Scripture. If they’re not, you need to speak the truth to them kindly, openly, honestly, in love, and with no hidden agenda.

3. People who comment on articles, social media posts, and so on without reading them first, especially when their comment is clearly addressed, answered, or refuted in the text. Have we really become this intellectually lazy? God gave us brains, intelligence, and literacy. We need to exercise those good gifts. The headline isn’t the extent of the writer’s thoughts. Read the article.

4. Mature Christians who positively quote, share, or re-tweet people they know (or should know) are false teachers. I don’t care if the quote itself is OK-ish. When you share something from a false teacher, others see that as your stamp of approval on that teacher, or question your discernment, or both. You’re pointing people who may be weaker brothers and sisters to false teachers. Knock it off.

5. Christian writers who consistently fail to capitalize the word Bible. I expect a surgeon to know how to handle a scalpel, a plumber to know how to use a wrench, and writers to know the rules of grammar. As Christians we should be striving for excellence in our vocations as a way to glorify God.

6. When people try to negate a general rule or biblical principle by pleading the exceptions to the rule. People point to the tiny percentage of pregnancies by rape and incest and say “See? Abortion should be legal!”. Christian women point to the exception of abusive men as though their existence exempts all godly women from the Bible’s instruction to submit to their husbands. There are always going to be exceptional circumstances like the tragedies of abuse and pregnancy due to rape or incest (and there are biblical principles for handling these special circumstances), but those exceptions do not cancel out the general rule or biblical principle that applies to the vast majority of people.

7. Women who confuse their feelings, personal preferences, and opinions with biblical truth and then attempt to use that “biblical truth” to correct others who disagree with them. You may be offended and strongly disagree with someone for calling your favorite preacher a false teacher, but your feelings and disagreement don’t mean that person is wrong. It could be that your opinion is what is unbiblical and that the other person is completely bibilically right in what she is saying. Or it could be another type of situation in which neither of you are wrong but that you’re coming at the issue from two different (yet biblical) perspectives, for example: grief over someone’s sin versus righteous anger over someone’s sin. As Christians, our feelings and opinions about things don’t really matter. We are slaves of Christ, so only our Master’s opinion matters. And His opinions are found in God’s written Word, not in our emotions. We must go to Scripture to determine what is right, godly, and good, and what is not.

8. I could write a whole article on things podcasters do during broadcasts that annoy me, but I’m working on not being annoyed by those things (plus, if I ever have my own podcast, I’m sure I’ll do all of them myself), so I’ll just mention one: repetitive linguistic idiosyncrasies and jokes. Yes, “that’s the way the cookie crumbles” but you don’t need to say it every five minutes. And, it was mildly amusing the first few times you intentionally pronounced that word wrong, but now it’s been several dozen times, and it’s just annoying. And nobody’s buying your shtick about feigning confusion over people’s names (“As Jimmy Carter once said…” “No, that was Jimmy Dean.” “I thought it was Dean Martin!”) anymore. The same linguistic joke or idiosyncrasy over and over and over again grates on my nerves. The spiritual application here? I need to be more patient and overlook things that annoy me out of love for the person doing them. I get that. I’m trying.

9. Making every event into a huge, over the top experience. When I was a kid, Vacation Bible School was a Bible story and a few songs, a modest craft, and some cookies and Kool-Aid. No theme, no decorations, no ordering hundreds of dollars worth of junk from LifeWay. Now VBS is more like Six Flags over Jesus. For centuries, worship services took place without an elaborate set, theatrical lighting, and flashing everything up on a screen. Pastors somehow managed to preach without props, costumes, or references to the latest movie. Bible studies required only (gasp!) a Bible, not a workbook, a DVD, a web site, YouTube videos, four jillion different colored highlighters, a bachelor’s degree in hieroglyphics for margin markings, and the talent of Monet for Bible art journaling.

I once saw a picture of a church in Africa. Not a church building – because they didn’t have one – but the actual church: the people. They met under a certain tree on Sundays to sing, pray, and be taught by their pastor. No programs, no flash, no bling, yet this was a successful church because it built up and trained Christians in the faith. There’s nothing intrinsically sinful about decorations, lights, or a plethora of pens, but sometimes all the hoopla and accessories distract us from our main purpose- the unfettered pursuit of Christ. When we feel like we have to do all that extra stuff – to attract people or to have some sort of feeling or experience – we’re losing sight of our purpose. Simple is good and doable and not displeasing to God.

10. My biggest pet peeve – the one that affects me the most, personally; the one that frustrates and irritates and angers me more than all the others – is my own sin. I know exactly how Paul felt, and I can’t say it better than he did, when he said:

For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate. 18 For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. 19 For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing. 22 For I delight in the law of God, in my inner being, 23 but I see in my members another law waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members. 24 Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?
Romans 7:15,18-19, 22-24

Can’t you just see Paul throwing up his hands in frustration, tearing out his hair, banging his head on his desk? I drive through that neighborhood a lot. “Ugh! I gave into temptation AGAIN!” “I just repented of coveting yesterday, and here I am doing it again today!” “Why did I react to that situation with pride instead of humility? I know what Scripture says about that!” I see the goal – Christlikeness. I want to get there, but I know that’s not going to come to completion this side of Glory. And it drives me absolutely nuts.

But then I see the cross. The grace. The kindness of my Savior to forgive me. And I’m reminded to keep moving forward, to “press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” That it’s His work in my heart that makes me holy and enables me to obey, not my straining and striving. What a merciful and loving and gracious God!

Life is full of little (and big) pet peeves. But if we’ll submit ourselves to God, study His word, and seek to obey Him, they can have a sanctifying purpose. God can use even the most annoying irritation to sand off some of our rough edges, show us our sin, and lead us to become more like Christ.

Do you have any pet peeves?
How could God use them as tools to sanctify you?

15 thoughts on “10 Pet Peeves (with Providential Purpose!)”

  1. YES!!! I completely agree with you!!! (Especially on the last one! I am right there with you sister!) You mentioned about people not capitalizing Bible and I agree….but what bothers me even more is when people are referring to God and don’t capitalize “Him” or “He”. I think any and all reference to our sovereign God should be capitalized! Thank you for your post! 🙂

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    1. I agree and practice that in my writing, but didn’t include it here because so many Bible publishers have changed their rules of style. So it’s a little more understandable to me if Christian writers are following that style guide. See my reply to Kay Cude for more on this :0)

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  2. Thank you for that last pet peeve. I am struggling with the tongue right now. That’s my pet peeve. I think I’m doing better then down I go! What a witness I am. This was a great article! You listed most of my pet peeves!

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  3. Great article. Michelle is awesome as always. Bringing sound Biblical teaching and inspiration to the rest in the body of Christ. Thank you Southern Baptist Princess, God Bless.

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  4. A few of mine: 1). Constant preaching about living in “authentic community” and “doing life together”. 2). People who worship John Piper as the 4th person of the Trinity (would love to hear any thoughts you have on him, particularly as it relates to his position on speaking in tongues and sharing a stage with Christine Caine and Beth Moore). 3). Right Now Media (I know there are probably some good things on there, but honestly, I don’t want to go to church and hear Matt Chandler or Francis Chan). As for how to handle these biblically, I’m really not sure. For the most part I just keep quiet, and try to focus on keeping my own heart and mind grounded in scripture.

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  5. Thank you, dear Michelle! Another thing to be noted, as an addition to the #5 of irksome pet-peeves, is any writer’s lack of the capitalization of “Him” or “He” when referring to any of the three persons of the Trinity. To me, it’s a thoughtless act (or perhaps high-brow grammatical arrogance) of reducing God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit to the same level of “mere men!” What’s with those “Bible translations” that practice this confusion?

    Without the defining of the nature of the holiness of God via honoring and identifying His (not his) sovereignty through capitalization, how can the unlearned differ between the “he” and “He” when reading verses (or any written piece) that include references to Christ, God or the Holy Spirit alongside another male?

    Makes me wonder if when these “authors/editors” meet Christ face-to-face, will they stand and address Him (not him) in their hearts and through their speech as “lord jesus, My god and saviour,” or fall on their faces and declare “Lord Jesus, my God and Saviour!”

    Just a thought or two!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hi Kay- Personally, I agree (although maybe with a tad less intensity on the theological side, because there are languages that don’t capitalize the same way English does and I would not assume writers of those languages have less reverence for God due to the capitalization rules of their language). I was always taught (even in public school, strictly as a matter of grammar) to capitalize deity pronouns, and, like you, I find it helpful in clarifying antecedents in verses in which God and a human male are both referred to as “H/he”.

      I read an article (maybe from Crossway?) within the last couple of months about why they’ve chosen not to capitalize deity pronouns in the ESV, as a matter of literary style. They brought up some good points, but I still think capitalization is the way to go. (Wish I could remember where I read this. I’d share the link with you.)

      Liked by 1 person

      1. You are so right about other languages! That didn’t even enter this pea brain of mine!! When you locate that link send, SEND IT!! I’m ready to listen, and ready to learn!

        Blessings in Him dear,
        Kay

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  6. What an enlightening article! Number 9 made me laugh out loud! I’ve said the same thing about VBS for years. And guess what, my church did indepth Bible study for children and adults this year. Minimal decorating (well, the preschool room was very well done), no decorations in the worship center, and, of course, we had food! We have had the best week ever! The people are excited and will probable re-organizing our Sunday School to continue in depth personal Bible study.

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    1. That’s wonderful! So encouraging to hear! :0)

      I just want to mention (for others who are reading this), that I don’t have anything against decorations per se. I consider that to be part of the gift of hospitality and a wonderful way for women who are so gifted to serve the body of Christ. My only objection is when more time and effort go into theme and decorations than in preparing for and teaching the Bible lesson, and when money is spent on decorations that could be better stewarded elsewhere serving real needs of the church, the community, missions, etc.

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  7. I enjoyed Mike’s series also, and I’m glad it inspired your list. Number 10 especially hit home. Thank you for the reminder that all of us should see our own sin as our greatest pet peeve.

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  8. Thank you Michelle for this article! I have been hooked on your site since finding out about the False Teachers and /or Heretic Teachers. I have cleaned up my act and stopped all of Joyce Meyerr, Christine Caine, Rick Warren, ad infinitum from FB. Today I’m writing my list to keep in front of me with the names – – – sadly, so many! I just got my new NASB Bible and the McArthur ESV Study Bible that you recommended. Love your emails and all the information to make me an even better woman of God!

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