Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Play Nice

When I was in kindergarten, the first lesson I learned was there are a lot of bullies in the world. Tommy gave me my first bloody nose. I still do not know why. The pattern continued through grade school, but Mr Kincaid kept the older boys in line…for the most part. When I was in 7th grade the biggest problem I had was the 8th and 9th graders. They were merciless bullies on everyone. Thank God for Mr. Lento the PE teacher who would not put up with it. He and a couple other teachers and one janitor kept the bulling to mostly verbal abuse. In high school I was one of the athletes and was mostly left alone, but the bullies were still there. In college, the bullying started with hazing of the freshmen, but by then I was finally bigger than most and no one wanted to mess with me. Last week at the gym I was standing in waist deep water next to the stairs in the pool at LA Fitness. A man half my age and twice my size bumped into me while doing his laps. I quickly apologized and accepted the blame for not seeing him coming. It was not good enough. He had a few things to say that were pretty much one syllable and ….well, you probably know. On his next lap he stopped to complain with the same language and worse attitude to an 80 year old man who was not really in his way, but had not stood at what he deemed to be the proper distance from his work out. Five of us AARP members just stared at the fool he was. We all had learned the same lesson which may sound like a Guy thing but is a rule of life in the jungle: NEVER BACK DOWN. I got a bloody nose in Kindergarten when I backed down. I never got another one, NOR did I ever strike any one in anger, still haven’t. “I’ve had to deal with people like him my entire life, the oldest and smallest of us commented while still staring at the bully. I doubt that physically the 5 of us together could have beaten him and none of us had any intention of trying. Had he persisted, we would have gone to the management and he would have been kicked out of the Gym…and he knew it. I mention this because of a conversation I had with one of my sons. He is trying to run every aspect of his life by the highest Biblical principles and morals. The problem is corporate America will take every advantage they can with NO CONCERN for right or wrong, morals or principles. They will act like bullies whenever you let them. My son is working it through but I feel a need to remind us all how far we should go when getting abuse from any system. Paul taught us. When he was in Philippi, he was arrested beaten and imprisoned without a trial because of a false accusation. From his stocks and leg irons he sang of his love for Jesus. An earthquake freed him from his bonds and in gratitude the jailer cleaned his wounds and accepted his Jesus. The next day the magistrates realized their illegal fau pax could land them in jail and sent word to release Paul. He refused to come out until they came to escort him out, admitting their error. Paul could have prosecuted them under the law, but that was not his main focus. He did force them to obey the Law under the laws of the day. I told my son to do the same thing. Don’t take advantage of anyone, but make them obey their own laws. It is illegal to sign a contract for service you have no intention of paying for after the service is complete. Biblical integrity does not require us to allow others to violate their own laws to take advantage of us in business. It is completely possible and biblically consistent to insist that they play nice or if necessary you will tell the teacher. That’s what Paul did, every time.

1 comment:

songgirl52 said...

I think we have all had issues like this in some form or another. As my relationship with the Lord strengthens I find that I feel SO MUCH BETTER when I call out to him when I am hurt/angered by someone else's actions. There is a sense of peace that takes over when you go to HIM instead of allowing the moment to take you over.
Its definitely not the first action that jumps to mind but hopefully with time, it will be! :)