Old BRog

i'm blogging, despite my creative incompetencies and cognitive lackings

Monday, April 18, 2005

I've got one for you...
I have a friend who can't really say anything good about...well, anyone really. Anytime you mention someone, some group, some school, some whatever, he's always got to get his word in. If he's not saying something negative about them, he's talking about how much better he can do it. In general, this person is happy, energetic, and even has a decent sense of humor, though 90% of his humor is directed at someone else's perceived flaws. He is successful, but I often wonder if his success is due to his tedency to step on other people to get to the top. Disclaimer: I am in no way jealous of this person. I feel like he thrives on (possibly subconciously) putting others down.

I'm sure you've all dealt with someone like this. How did you handle this person? What if you had to see this person everyday? Sometimes, I just want to beat some sense into him, and a few things out of him. Obviously, I have a problem with this person-but if you think I may be the problem, please tell me. One more thing, don't speculate who it is-I assure you that most of my friends reading this will have no clue even if I told you his name.


  • At Mon Apr 18, 09:27:00 PM, Blogger Cameron said…

    First, let me say that I've been struggling with the same issue.

    I know guys like this that are Christians -- dare I say supposedly Christians. The ones I'm thinking of can be sincere at times, if it is in season. But when in the right situation (usually while hanging out with the guys), they become crude and arrogant -- clearly violating Ephesians 4:29.

    The biggest problem I, personally, have with this form of degrading someone is that not only does it tear down the object of the criticism but that it also tears me down as well. Especially when the person is in a position above me (either in the workplace or at church), it's hard for me to call them on it. I either don't say anything or I actually join in! I immediately regret it, just as Paul says: "I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate." Romans 7:15

    Assuming that it is a Christian we're dealing with, how do we handle this situation?

    I think the first thing we do is evaulate ourselves to see if have the same plank in our own eye. We need to fight like heaven to not play along and fall into the same sin.

    As brothers in Christ we are called to lovingly rebuke our brothers of their sin, realizing that it is the Holy Spirit that convicts them of their sin, not us. I think your original reaction (yes, I did see your original post) was without love. You quote every scripture perfectly to rebuke this person, but doing it without love would be useless. I struggle often with this. "Be anger and do not sin." Eph. 4:26

  • At Tue Apr 19, 08:50:00 AM, Blogger Chris Merritt said…

    Well I know I probably don't have any good insight on this because I'm pretty intolerant of people like who you are talking about. I know that isn't exactly holiness for you, but I really can't stand people like that. I suppose the better thing to do would be to gently (maybe humorously) confront the issue when one of those moments come along. Somehow point out that this person is always getting their kicks out of other people's flaws, etc. If they don't respond to a humorous approach, then you gotta hit them dead on with your feelings, man (something I am horrible at doing).

  • At Tue Apr 19, 06:46:00 PM, Blogger Walt said…

    Okay, okay. I get it. I'll try to stop. Dummy.

    My approach is two-step. First, I do not respond at all to negativity when the person speaks. I go absolutely out of my way to avoid doing the same thing. Like Cameron said, I eveluate myself first. Hopefully, when the person says something so negative, I change the subject so drastically that he or she is caught off guard by the abrupt change. Hopefully, that drastic change in my tone makes them think about their talk.

    If that doesn't work, I try to respond like Chris said--with humor. I have to be careful not to get too angry, but a little bite of humor may be the jolt the person needs. I often find out that when I do that, someone else notices, even if not that person. Once I came back at a guy who was being extremely negative about a group of people by saying "did they kill someone in your family, or what?" Another person in the conversation later mentioned that crack, and we were able to share ways we might help the other person. In fact, the other guy felt liberated to speak up as well.

    As I type this, I realize that it may be a complicated means of avoiding direct confrontation--but that's because it's uncomfortable. In some cases, it may be the absolute best option to pull the person aside, seriously, directly, and humbly. Here's hoping you can disarm the negativity so that it becomes a conviction of the person--and therefore a realized need for change.

  • At Tue Apr 19, 09:25:00 PM, Blogger brog said…

    Just when I thought you couldn’t get any dumber, you go and do something like this… and totally redeem yourself! Thanks fellas. My main goal right now is to make sure I don't participate or get lured into the negativity. After I'm able to do this-then I will consider a confrontation. I've tried the joking, the awkward change of subject (of course, I always do this anyway), and ignoring. Maybe I abandon my efforts quickly because I'm afraid of how my status may be affected. So, sometimes, my own reputation is more important than standing up for someone-that's a sad statement and I promise to work on it.
    About my first post, Cameron, thanks for calling me on that. I was a little too honest, and my feelings came through on paper (virtual though it may be). Anyway, I shouldn't have posted immediately after another negative encounter, guess I should have counted to ten or something. All this to say-if I don't speak up soon, I will end up throwing a punch.

  • At Wed Apr 20, 02:02:00 PM, Blogger Cameron said…

    One of the weakest parts of my walk with God is that I don't actually love some people. I try to "live peacably with all" as Paul tells us to, but that doesn't mean I love them. I especially struggle with this when dealing with the type of person we're talking about here. Is it arrogant of me to confront them if I don't love them first?


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