CHARACTER BUILDER. It seems more and more people develop mean characters today–even church people–that you hardly find folks who are genuinely kind and broad-minded (lack of broad-mindedness often results to meanness).
Well, a lot of people can manage to look kind and mature at first, but you’d see their true color when they start trying to control you.
Control almost always leads to meanness. Thus, I’m very careful not to control people or situations. God monitors everything that happens in the world–and he controls certain situations–but he is never mean.
God may get angry (or very angry) but it never ends up in bad character. He may sometimes hate, like when Scripture said, “Just as it is written: ‘Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated,'” [Romans 9.13], but again, it doesn’t end up in sin. In fact, it is done out of love! When God says he hates, it means he loves–it’s a dire warming so you’d repent and be spared from harm. That’s love!
You must be like God.
In fact, being a true child of God means you imitate him:
Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children; and walk in love, just as Christ also loved you, [Ephesians 5.1].
Why are more people developing mean characters, in the corporate world or otherwise? Because we are in the last days, and Scriptures say the last days are going to be very stressful. People are going to be too competitive–even a lot of believers–trying to be somebody and grabbing this and that. They’re going to be too possessive–even churches try to out-possess each other–and that spells stress (or distress) in big bold capital letters.
Stress makes people think unclearly and selfishly, becoming unreasonable, while at the same time trying to act acceptably in the name of professionalism. You combine the two and you have meanness.
So, if you find yourself confronted by mean and controlling people, what should you do?
Jesus once said:
“Be innocent as doves but wise as serpents.”
Who’s not afraid of snakes? What snake isn’t deadly? What snake isn’t fierce and doesn’t fight back? And yet, science says snakes only kill when threatened or hungry. A lot of times they run away and hide to avoid encounters. But when trapped, they kill.
Jesus was kind and broad-minded and yet he was fierce and bold when confronted by mean people. He answered them fiercely, frankly and even verbally attacked them. Here are samples of what he said:
- You brood of vipers! [Matthew 12.34]
- You hypocrites! [Matthew 23.13]
- You fools! [Matthew 23.17]
- How will you escape being condemned to hell? [Matthew 23.33]
He sounded very judgmental, didn’t he? Yet, it never resulted in bad character or hatred. Believe it or not, he said those things out of love. We should do the same, too.
So, what made him different from mean people who were abusive with their words or actions? Consider the following:
- Jesus genuinely lived a godly life. You could never pinpoint any wrongdoing on him. He lived what he taught, so no sense confronting him with what he said.
- He was kind to the poor and meek and yet fierce with people who wanted to control him. If they had only left him alone, he wouldn’t have attacked them so defiantly. But as it was, they gave him no choice.
- He was the one who was challenged and confronted, not the other way around. He was teaching the people quietly about truth, not seeking debates or trying to prove he was better than other leaders. He didn’t go to people and tell them what to do. People came to him, seeking his wisdom. He invited a few, but he never intruded into their lives.
Today, you see a lot of silly, narrow-minded people who intrude into people’s lives and impose their standards on them (whether these people like it or not)–just like the Pharisees were in Jesus’ time. They tell you what to do and insist that what you do is wrong–just because it’s not pleasing to them. No one is correct except them and what they do, and they want to be worshiped for it.
So, what do I do, especially to mean people in the corporate world who try to put me down?
- I talk to them straight–politely but straight–and “meanly” in a kind way if need be. I use street language minus the bad words and curses. I can talk extremely tough, being once used to the gang world in Manila.
- I look at them straight in the eyes, and fiercely at that. Lots of people tell me I’m kind and very friendly looking and yet I can stare at people like a lion does–I can give them a cold, alarming stare (I’m a 5th dan black belt) if need be. I think it’s better if you are able to do that.
- Often, I tell them frankly (with a rather disquieting smile) that they have no business interfering in my personal life if they try to, and make myself sound dead serious about it.
- You help controllers stop their evil conduct by not giving them what they want, like admiration or worship. I listen to their stories politely but never comment approvingly. In fact, a lot of times, I don’t look interested at all. You don’t realize it, but you’re actually doing them a service that way–you help kill their ego or flesh.
Of course, it’s different if it’s your boss who’s trying to control you. In certain situations, he should–he’s the boss–especially as far as your job is concerned. To authorities you are under in, be submissive, but remain innocent as doves and wise as serpents.
With your parents? The bible says, obey your parents because this is God’s will–and do it willingly.
And do everything with a smile–a lion’s smile, if need be.