“His talk is smooth as butter, yet war is in his heart: his words are more than oil, yet they are drawn swords.” Psalm 55:12
When God is working on something in your life, that subject seems to show up everywhere. I have been dealing with the subject of passive aggression. In this recent time: I have had it happen to me, I have done it to someone and close people have been mentioning they have been dealing with difficult people. I came across this website called “Out of the Fog” (www.outofthefog.net) and it clearly labels what Passive Aggression looks like.
Withdrawal– of material support, contribution to shared goals, Re-prioritizing alternate activities and goals, “go-slow’s”, procrastination or targeted incompetence.
Silent Treatment– inappropriate “one-word” answers, inattention, making yourself generally “unavailable”.
Off-line Criticism– propagating gossip or criticism to a third party in an attempt to negatively influence the third party’s opinion of a person.
Sarcasm, Critical and “Off-Color” Jokes– Humor which targets a specific individual is a form of Passive-Aggressive communication.
Indirect Violence– shows-of-strength such as destruction of property, slamming doors, cruelty to animals in the sight of another is passive-aggressive.
Do know anyone like that? Their tone. Their words that tear you down. Their selfishness and being inconsiderate of you and others. It is difficult to deal with people who are passive aggressive. It makes conversations and being able to co-exist with them, almost unbearable.
My friend and I are involved in a group where we are in charge of a few school aged children. All of the parents are delightful, except for this one parent. (There is always one, right?) She can be nice to your face but then turn around and become your worst enemy. She refused to follow the implemented rules of any activity we had. If she missed a deadline to turn in something, she would get mad at us for her irresponsibility and procrastination and still want her child to be included. When we didn’t allow it, she said we were singling out her child. It got to the point where my friend and I wanted to quit because of her.
We tried to have a higher authority of the program step in, but they refrained because they didn’t want to punish the child for their parent’s behavior. We agreed with that sentiment, but didn’t like the abuse we were getting. We turned the other cheek, so many times. We only have 4 cheeks between the two of us (8 total cheeks, if you count our backsides) and at some point, we felt like we would explode or implode. Honestly, I would rather clean a gas station bathroom than confront her. I knew in my heart what we would have to do, confront her when she acted out again.
Many times, in my walk with the Lord, I feel like I had to give grace and overlook bad manners. I would also allow people to treat me badly and not say a word because I didn’t want confrontation. I am not sure where I learned that lie. I know now, that being a Christian does not make me a doormat. Jesus confronted the Pharisees for being legalistic. So, really I should not have a problem telling someone not to talk to me in a rude way. Nowadays, the problem is everyone goes for the jugular when they confront someone. It doesn’t have to be that way. Praying for the right words to say and the right time to say them is the best way to start. Sometimes, it works out and other times it does not. I know when I have been calm and said to a person not to talk to me in that tone, that behavior towards me stopped. Many times people are focused on what they are lacking instead of the issue at hand. Whatever happens, God can redeem any situation and turn it out for something better.
Lesson Learned: Allow the words from the Lord be my guide when dealing with difficult people and to not let passive aggressive behavior creep into my life as it will only create more hurt.
“Dear Heavenly Father, help me give forgiveness towards those who are disrespectful towards me. Show me when people are rude and trying to take advantage of me. Give me the best words to get my point across. Let peace be the end result. In Jesus’ Name. AMEN!”