How to Deal with Jerks in Your Life

How to Deal with Jerks in Your Life

by Wayne Stiles

I’m always amazed how some couples have no problem fighting in public.Once I stood in the popcorn line at the movies and the couple in front of me were arguing. In this case, the man was way out of line.I wanted to take his popcorn, soft drink, and hot cheesy nachos and dump them down his pants.

Screen Shot 2013 01 08 at 7.05.54 AM How to Deal with Jerks in Your Life

(Photo: by Robert Byron, via Vivozoom)

Some people are, well, just flat unlovable. On good days we call them “jerks.” On bad days we’re tempted to cross the line and be jerks right back at them.

It’s for those days the Scriptures urge us:

Do not repay anyone evil for evil. . . . If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God’s wrath. —Romans 12:17–19

Sometimes this command seems impossible with jerks. And honestly?

It is.

Only with God’s help can you deal with the jerks in your life.

It Begins with Attitude

Remember when Mike Tyson bit off part of Evander Holyfield’s ear during a heavyweight fight? Holyfield later said:

Attitude is what causes us to fail. If you can control your emotions, you can control a lot of things. —Evander Holyfield

Attitude. What attitude should you adopt when someone is a complete jerk?

Some people, it seems, refuse to be peaceful. That’s why Paul qualified his command: “If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.”

Notice that while you can’t control their actions, you CAN control yours: “as far as it depends on you.” Your input into the exchange should be peaceable, regardless of theirs.

But how?

We may never change the jerks in our lives. But neither do they have to change us. (Tweet that.)

Responding Versus Reacting

Let’s turn the tables for a moment.

When YOU are a jerk to your spouse or to a close friend, they have two possible reactions:

  1. If he or she snaps back and reacts in retaliation, you feel justified in your rudeness. After all, they (now) “deserve” it.
  2. But if he or she responds with control, kindness, and gentleness, then God has “room” to convict your conscience.

Turn the tables back around and apply this personally.

  • Think about the last time you reacted like a jerk. What could you have done differently?
  • Before the next “episode” occurs with the habitual jerks in your life, choose ahead of time how you will respond with kindness.

Am I not destroying my enemies by making them my friends? —Abraham Lincoln

Consider One Final Example

The attitude God had toward us was to woo us to His side through grace (Romans 5:8). He still does, in fact:

Do you think lightly of the riches of His kindness and tolerance and patience, not knowing that the kindness of God leads you to repentance? —Romans 2:4

It was goodness that overcame evil for our souls. Such can do the same in our relationships, God willing.

In the end, we may never change the jerks in our lives. But neither do they have to change us.

Question: What helps you respond well to jerks?

About ptl2010

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6 Responses to How to Deal with Jerks in Your Life

  1. I think we are all ‘jerks’ at times, and there is only one lasting remedy. When Jesus is on the throne; when Holy Spirit has control of our thoughts, attitudes and actions, we will respond in HIS way. We will respond with HIS love, mercy and grace, remembering that without Him we would be even worse than the ‘jerk’ who just offended.

  2. Pingback: Part 2- Besides the maintaining of inner peace, why would I turn away from evil? « power of language blog: partnering with reality by JR Fibonacci

  3. mtsweat says:

    Moving and powerful message. Just stepped in from a personal study on holiness by our pastor, the power of our tongues. I’m reminded that the claim, “that person made me angry” is a false statement. The person couldn’t make me anything, their actions simply reveal who I already am. When we respond wrongly to another’s wrongness, there is something deeper wrong that needs dealt with… pride. It’s why David cried out to our God, “Search me and show me!” May all our jerkiness be removed in Christ Jesus. Blessings

  4. Steven Sawyer says:

    This is excellent. Can I borrow that “Jerk” name tag on that guy’s shirt? I find that I have to wear one of those around my wife at times. She doesn’t call me one. She’s too kind. But I could sure wear it sometimes if I had one. Only by the life of Jesus living in me, through me, and as me, am I not a jerk. Thank you, Jesus.
    Thank you for sharing.

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