It often starts with the manager or super-educated type—a doctor, pharmacist, professor, dentist, engineer, architect, programmer, pastor, MBA, physicist, but for some reason not a lawyer. The geek was bullied as a kid and used his brains to build levers in his life to whack the bullies next time they walk in. That’s why educated white-collar types overreact to petty non-problems. The jock, farmer, mason, plumber, construction worker, truck driver, hunter, roofer, landscaper—his instinct is to hit back. It usually starts by one of the two bumping an old wound and the old-wounded bumpee deciding that the other guy did it on purpose.
When people rub us wrong and we have a reaction of going to DEFCON 1, don’t. It’s a trap. Whatever the instinctive response is, the devil knows it and so should you. The other guy has had people react that way to him before. You’re not the first person he has instigated a reaction from. He’s probably done that to people before and, wrong as it is, auto-reacting on cue won’t help either one of you.
We need to keep professional records and discipline people. Certain things can’t be allowed, while other things need leniency to allow people to improve. Police have discretion of when to enforce—except for small-town speed traps—a classic combination of geekery and bullery. Even then, laws and justice must be laid down.
A good reporter will expose the local speed trap. A boss needs to informally and formally warn rogue employees, circumstances depending. Parents and principles must discipline children and students. Christians have standards to must hold each other to. But, don’t react.
Reflexes exacerbate. Break patterns. Contemplate what in the world makes people act as crazy as they do; you may need a week. Find the way to confront someone without continuing the cycle. The recipe always includes finding one offense to forgive and another big offense to just not even care about.
Whether you’re the venomous geek or the bumbling bully—and we all end up playing each roll at least once in life—don’t react. You’re sentient; act like it. Wrong isn’t excusable, but forgivable. Forgive, correct, tolerate, encourage, and strengthen.
Matthew 6:38-42, Galatians 6:1-5