Thursday, September 9, 2010

Being nice and lying to be nice.

I heard a story in Air 1 this morning where the DJ was late for an appointment and called in apologizing for running late.  Being proactive about his problem and suggesting a solution by offering to reschedule etc...  I think this was very appropriate.  However, the lady he talked to was apparently very rude and even went so far as to accuse him of not only being fifteen minutes late but two hours and fifteen minutes.  The DJ of course immediately got irate but admirably kept his cool and apologized too the lady.  He went on to his appointment and told the lady that it must have been his fault and that perhaps he wrote the appointment down wrong.  He admitted that he was pretty sure he didn't do this but said he did to be nice.  To kill the lady with kindness. 

I am not certain this is kindness.  In effect, if you are certain you would not have made the mistake of scheduling things two hours off then you are lying to the person you are being nice too, to save their feelings.  When is lying okay? 

We all lie.  Perhaps little lies here and there.  Perhaps big lies.  Some of these lies we tell others and some of them we tell ourselves.  Of these two things, the lies we tell ourselves are the most dangerous.  They can become part of the story we tell ourselves so that we can understand the world. The problem is that this story can set you up for failure later. 

Both the lady and the DJ lied to each other and too themselves.  The ladies lies came in the form of thinking that you can treat people with a poor attitude in a normal business setting and get away with it.  It will come back to hurt the business in most cases.  With the exception of things like the business of law enforcement or similar rough settings being nice is absolutely needed.  I suppose one could make the case for being nice in a law and security setting too but that might be a stretch.  The DJ lied to himself when he let the lady get away with being rude and letting her push him around.

The main reason I think this was is this:  As a Christian there is a BIG mistake in thinking that we have to be nice all the time.  Jesus wasn't nice all the time.  I know people are going to get upset at that comment.  Here is the thing.  Jesus was understanding and always tried to be the teacher.  But he also wasn't going to let go of the message to save someone's feelings.  If he heard something that was wrong he would point it out.  Period.  No lying to himself or others.

Jesus, the sometimes truthful, is far less impressive than Jesus, who is truth.

Now one might say, "you are only saying this to excuse being rude and getting even or being rude back."  That s not my intent either.  Be nice but do not lie.  Do not allow the person you are talking to, to roll right over you.  Jesus came to give us power, strength.  Not to make us weak and cow tow to bullies.  Be right, be righteous.  Sure be nice if you like.  However, what good are you doing for that person by allowing them to roll over you.  To bully you.  If they begin to learn over time that this attitude gets them what they want they will make it a habit.  Bullying will become a standard of operation, an automatic response to adversity.  The person will become psychologically abusive if they are not already.

There must be a happy medium here.  Where we can be nice and considerate.  Calm and collected and yet not allow the bullies of this world to take advantage of others.  By saying nothing or by being obsequies we allow the behavior to continue and to hurt the lives of others.  If nothing else, calmly call them on their bad attitude.  I have heard that it is a good practice to put a mirror in front of someone who is angry.   Allow them to see their own face when they speak with heated words.  When they see the ugliness on their own face, most will calm down.

It is admirable that the DJ got a grip on his anger.  It is great that his intent was to be nice.  He should be proud that he didn't propagate the behavior by being mean back or by passing it on to the next person he talked to that day.  All very admirable.  But I think we should all be very careful avoiding conflict.

Matthew 10:34
"Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword."

The word of God is referred to as a sword.  I don't think this is by accident.

So how does this relate to the martial arts?  Easy.  Communications during conflict.  This is part of what happens before and after the action.  When we are preparing and/or coming down from an event.  We must learn to control ourselves.  Not to be angry with our words, the next person I talk to after a conflict or a fight may very well be a police officer.  If I a still worked up and angry my words will condemn me even if I didn't start the fight.  This may seem obvious but I think this truth carries through all communications.

Anyway, food for thought....