The End Justifies the Meanness

For the past few weeks I have been dealing with incompetents—people, I confess, for whom I have little—okay, no—patience.

I will also admit that I don’t always know the answer to a question or the solution to a problem, but as a lifelong research enthusiast, I do know where to find the information I need.

I will also confess that I am a bit of a smart-aleck. Borrowing a line from Topher Grace’s character in “Win a Date with Tad Hamilton,” I can slay someone with my “biting rhetoric.”

So my base inclination when I am saddled with an incompetent customer service representative is to vent my spleen—not using profanity—that is the crutch of the ignorant—but with a turn of phrase that lets this incompetent feel their lack, elevates their opinion of my importance to someone they do NOT want to mess with, and makes them do it my way just so they can feel better about themselves.

I have always had this particular talent and, at various times in my life, it has been a positive. It has kept me from having “the crap beat out of” me by school bullies, it has forced a hospital to give my daughter the care she needed, it has enabled me to write and sell some of my funniest humor columns.

But, for the most part, it has been a negative. Yes, I have “motivated” people to “get ‘er done” but at what cost to themselves, and ultimately to me?

In the first century, Phaedrus wrote: A fly bit the bare pate of a bald man, who in endeavouring to crush it gave himself a hard slap. Then said the fly jeeringly, “You wanted to revenge the sting of a tiny insect with death; what will you do to yourself, who have added insult to injury?”

Proverbs 18:21 states, in part, “Death and life are in the power of the tongue.” Earlier in Proverbs, it is written, “The one who guards his mouth preserves his life; The one who opens wide his lips comes to ruin” (13:3).

King David, the psalmist, wrote, “LORD, who may dwell in your sanctuary? Who may live on your holy hill? He whose walk is blameless and who does what is righteous, who speaks the truth from his heart and has no slander on his tongue, who does his neighbor no wrong and casts no slur on his fellowman” (Psalm 15:1-3, NIV).

Charles Haddon Spurgeon (1834-92), England’s best-known preacher for most of the second half of the nineteenth century, expanded on Psalm 15:3 in his magnum opus, The Treasury of David:

There is a sinful way of backbiting with the heart when we think too hardly of a neighbour, but it is the tongue which does the mischief. Some men’s tongues bite more than their teeth. The tongue is not steel, but it cuts, . . . He who bridles his tongue will not give a licence to his hand. Loving our neighbour as ourselves will make us jealous of his good name, careful not to injure his estate, or by ill example to corrupt his character. Our Lord spake evil of no man, but breathed a prayer for his foes; we must be like him, or we shall never be with him.

Therefore, in the light that is cast upon my particular talent by these and other notable and wise writers, I will have to conclude that there is a high cost, not only to the victim of my “biting rhetoric” but also to me in “unbridling” my tongue.

I have “weighed, measured, and found wanting” too many people over the years, and if I am ever weighed and measured in that same manner, I, too, would be found wanting.

It is a universal truth that “For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you” (Matthew 7:2, KJV).

The New International Version puts it in plainer speech: “The way that you judge others will be the way that you will be judged, and you will be evaluated by the standard with which you evaluate others.”


I will be taking these warnings to heart, dear readers. God save me from the day when I am evaluated as cruelly as I evaluate others.

Published in: on January 13, 2009 at 4:24 pm  Comments (2)  

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2 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Great post! I really enjoy reading your blog. Keep up the good work. I’ve just started a new blog that will be highlighting the dangerous advances of the secular progressive movement (pro-gay “rights”, pro-abortion, anti-religious freedoms, etc). Unfortunately, most Christians still don’t know what’s going on out there and the mainstream media certainly isn’t covering it.We’re looking to build a solid group of social conservatives (especially Mike Huckabee supporters) who’ll frequent the site regularly and contribute to some good discussions. The site gets updated daily with breaking news, so you’ll want to check back often, or you can just sign up for our < HREF="" REL="nofollow">News Feed<>. I hope you’ll check it out!If you’ll add us to your blogroll we’ll gladly add you to ours. Just drop us a comment over at our blog so that we’ll know to add you. Our blog is called < HREF="" REL="nofollow">Religion and Morality<>.Thanks!

  2. LOVE your writing! I need someone intelligent to bantor with regarding religion…

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