Flipping out, Losing it, Going off, and other generally mean things

17 Aug

Sometimes people are hard to deal with.

Six or seven years ago we had an outdoor concert in the grass field behind our church.  Featuring our praise band playing on a flatbed trailer, it was something we had not done in recent years, and we were excited about it.

A few days before the concert, I was out one afternoon distributing door hangers in neighborhoods near the church.  One of those neighborhoods is sandwiched between rental communities.  Interestingly, the homes in the neighborhood look very similar to the homes in the rental community, and it can be hard to tell where one starts and the other stops.  This is a key distinction because while it is legal to put up door hangers in the neighborhood, the rental community has a no solicitation rule.

From the direction I was walking, I did not see the rental community sign that mentioned this rule.  I got about 20-30 door hangers out illegally before a man came rushing out of his house yelling at me from across the parking lot: “You’re not allowed to do that!  Didn’t you see the sign?  No solicitation here!”

You know how your body can heat up very fast when someone confronts you harshly?  Yeah…

Why did he have to be so mean?  He wasn’t wrong about holding me to the law.  He correctly interpreted and applied the law.  He was also right about bringing it to my attention.  But did that give him the right to be unkind and mean?

I wonder what was going on in his life, in his history, that led him to react that way?

Have you ever been mean like that?  I have.  Way too often.  My guess is that many of you know what I’m talking about.  You’ve lost it.  Or people have been very unkind to you.  The stories abound.

We can unload on Facebook.  We can go off on persistent telemarketers or customer service reps from another country who have accents that are difficult to understand.  We scream at the TV.  We yell at family members, friends, neighbors and co-workers.

As we prepare to study the next few characteristics of the Fruit of the Spirit, gentleness, kindness, and goodness, I wonder if you might think through why we can be so unkind, so mean, so hurtful?  And if you’d like, let’s discuss it a bit here before the sermon tomorrow.  I’ll also share how my story with the angry man ended!

6 Responses to “Flipping out, Losing it, Going off, and other generally mean things”

  1. Sherri Patton August 17, 2013 at 1:42 pm #

    Great Topic! I believe most people are mean & unkind because they just react, without just taking a few moments to think through their thoughts. I’m SO guilty of that, not in a mean aspect, but in just reacting period. However I do feel there are just mean,angry people out there. Oh and how I have had encounters! I believe a lot of the time, people who deal with anger and rage have things in their life that make them that way. Things that have not been addressed, so it comes out in other ways. And as humans, I believe at some point or another we can all relate. But I believe now, that having God in your life, knowing we all make mistakes, and knowing that there are ways to go about things, without being mean we ( as humans) can ALWAYS overcome them. Sometimes people just don’t realize how they are, and I know, sometimes people also don’t care how they are. So there again, it’s about having God in our lives, being accountable, and allowing him( God) to work on Us.
    I do believe through God all things are possible! Hope I get to hear the end of your story! We will be in beginners Church tomorrow, so we won’t get to hear the sermon.

    • joelkime August 17, 2013 at 8:50 pm #

      Thanks for sharing, Sherri! Great line: “it’s about having God in our lives, being accountable, and allowing him (God) to work on Us.”

      The podcast will be online sometime Monday, and I’ll probably finish the story with the follow-up blog post on Tuesday/Wednesday.

      • Sherri Patton August 17, 2013 at 9:53 pm #

        Lol. Well, I’m pretty sure you get the credit for that line. As I’m almost positive, I have learned it from you. But the best part is, when you can look back and .see how God has worked within yourself! Being able to do that is a learning process, and I’m still learning.

        Great Reminder about the Podcast!
        We will certainly do that, Thank You Joel.

  2. Linda Seiger August 18, 2013 at 3:17 pm #

    Can’t wait to listen to the podcast from today’s sermon Joel; I’m sure it’s full of challenges that I need to hear! Sorry to have missed sermon discussion too, anything of particular significance that you can post here?

    • joelkime August 19, 2013 at 10:57 am #

      The podcast is online here! The discussion was really great. Some very open and honest comments… But what could I post here? Good question. What happens in sermon discussion stays in sermon discussion! Ha! Actually we talked about some personal situations in dealing with difficult people or confrontations. People mentioned some very practical ideas like Jesus’ “love your enemies, pray for those who persecute you.” About being gentle, kind, good even when you don’t feel like it. About taking some time to get away from the pressing situation, time for cool-down, time to refocus, time to rejoice in the Lord, and then only to respond when you do so in love. We talked about “pre-game”, how athletes can take a couple hours to focus on the big game, getting mentally ready. We can do the same, prepping ourselves for interaction with someone we struggle with. Soak up the word, learn from Jesus, etc.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Follow-up to Flipping Out, Losing It, Going Off and other generally mean things | Joel A. Kime - August 20, 2013

    […] Remember the guy who confronted me when I was putting up door hangers?  Read the beginning of the story here. […]

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