I sat in my office, mouse in hand and a concentrated look on my face as I stared at the large screen. “Distance from Wyndam Carseland to Edmonton…” click. “Best ways to fry up crickets…” click. “Best ways to train yourself to stay on track.” Click. Click. Click. “Campground listing almost completed… now to set up the that Iphone…”
Ding! The door to my office swung open and in walked a man, clad in plaid, wearing a scowl on his face. I greet him as warmly as possible after being startled out of my concentration. “Hello.” He glanced quickly at the brochure rack then back at me.
“How are you?” He snapped, clearly not caring if I answer his question or not. “I’m warm.” I smiled before continuing. “Thanks for asking. How can I help yo….?” Before I had finished speaking he started.
“Do you have tokens for the dump station?” Much to my chagrin and vague amusement, his heightened emotional state sent his pitch wheeling into something that almost sounded falsetto.
“Tokens no, you will need change for the dump station.”
He stared at me wordlessly for a minute before throwing his hand up in the air. “Well, what do you think the dump station takes? Of course I’m talking about coins.” I froze, a part of me wanted to pump my fist into this guy’s face. No one comes into this office and sasses me off, especially when I’m being kind and clearly wanting to help. Inside of escalating the situation I breathed in deeply as he continued.
“This is awful…if you’re charging people money for that dump station you should at least have change available.” My mind spun… “you know what’s awful? I wanted to say. What’s awful is that you’re harming other people by being rude because you are so freaking entitled. That is indeed awful…what a sad state you choose to live in Sir.
Instead of speaking the words I would have liked to have said I looked him in the eye. “I’m sorry for the inconvenience Sir. I will have to let my Supervisor know.”
“That would be a wonderful idea.” He muttered. “This is the worst service.” A smirk, completely unmerited, threatened to climb up the corners of my mouth. I could have made it worse…oh, so much worse for you buster.
Perhaps you work in customer service and this situation doesn’t seem like much to you, if anything my situation seems like child’s play. Fair enough, I can understand that and I really respect you for what you do. There are many people who go through much worse on a daily basis and are paid minimum wage for what their work.
I would like to develop a thicker skin for these kind of things but at the moment, thick skin is not my strong suit. With that being said, his rudeness and disregard for my feeling did affect me. The things he said to me hurt me. I try my hardest to do the best job that I can. When something is beyond my control and I am being put down for it…well, that hurts.
Now, to the moral of the story. How to deal with jerks…
After I had been lovingly dumped on by Mr. Plaid I realized how poorly I had handled the situation. God tells us to love those hurt us. I had been thinking about punching the guy and causing chaos in his life as payback for his harsh tone and words but that is NOT what Jesus would have done, at all.
My reaction to this mans disregard for my heart showed me my need for a deeper understanding of God’s grace and love for people. It also reminded me of how imperfect I am and of how deeply God’s grace runs for me. I was reminded that the fountain from which His never-ending grace flows will never dry up…
So, you need some help dealing with a real jerk hole?
Take your feelings, which are often not valid, and bring them for judgment before God’s truth, his infallible Word. Here’s a head start:
Colossians 3:3 “For you have died to this life, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God.” (We are hidden in, protected by Christ. Nothing people do our say can affect us because we are secure in our identities as sons and daughters of the Most High God. We have everything we need because we have God as our Father).
1 John 4:8 “Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.” (We are called to reflect God’s image and be love to those around us. We must have a relationship with Love in order to exude Love’s attributes…after all, how do you represent someone you don’t know?).
1 Corinthians 13:4-8 “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails…”
Luke 6:29 “If someone slaps you on one cheek, turn to them the other also. If someone takes your coat, do not withhold your shirt from them. (Jesus…I don’t even have words. The King of the Universe’s humility is enough to render me almost completely speechless…and to think about how He modelled this perfectly by being nailed to a cross and suffering an excruciated death all the while saying, “Forgive them. They do not know what they are doing.” WHHHATT!?).
Ultimately, remember your identity is not in how people treat you or in how you feel about the situation. You are a son or daughter of the Most High God. You are royalty and have a King who has lavished on you royally. Allow yourself to run to Him when someone hurts you or there is a bully who won’t go away. Give of yourself even when people are rude, unjust, angry and ornery towards you.
That being said, properly set boundaries are also an incredible important piece of this complex puzzle but for now just know that we are called to love…as Jesus did. We have been called with the highest mission one could ever ask for, to breath joy giving life, into the broken lives of the unlovable and we’re going to rock at it.
With much love.