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The Respect Dare, Day 9 – Overlooking Insults

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A fool shows his annoyance at once, but a prudent man overlooks an insult.  Proverbs 12:16

Nina Roesner has a great story to share in Dare 9 of The Respect Dare.  I hope you get to read it!

Many times, when people insult us, there is a lot of pain, hurt, anger and mess going on underneath the surface in that person’s life.  Often, if we can extend grace, we may just be able to salvage the relationship or avoid a big fight.  Taking every insult personally and trying to repay that person back with an even bigger insult does not honor Christ.  And it doesn’t bring people closer to us or closer to God.

IN THE PHARMACY

I have been working in retail pharmacy since I was a pharmacy student in 1992.  I can definitely attest to the fact that when you work with the public, you are going to be insulted sooner or later.  It doesn’t matter how kind, compassionate, competent and caring you are.

I have learned that insults usually come from something difficult that is going on in that person’s life:

  • he is in a lot of pain
  • she is a drug addict, and I won’t let her have her narcotics early
  • he has very low blood sugar and needs to eat something quickly
  • she has unrealistic expectations about what pharmacists are legally allowed to do and is unfamiliar with all the laws and policies I am required to follow
  • he has a dying wife at home on hospice and he is taking out his frustrations and anger and feeling of being out of control on me
  • she has been up for 5 nights with a sick baby
  • he has a lot of anger in him all the time and is just ready to dump rage on anyone he happens to come across
  • she has a mental illness and has not taken her medication properly and isn’t thinking clearly
  • he has a family emergency going on
  • she has had a really bad day
  • he has early dementia and his personality is changing
  • she is in perimenopause and her hormones are out of control
  • he is running very late to pick up his son from daycare
  • her mom talks to her this way all the time, so it seems “normal”

Sometimes, in the pharmacy, I know the back-story and that helps me to respond appropriately with grace, compassion and understanding.  Sometimes I still have to be firm and not give in when someone wants me to do something illegal.  Sometimes I don’t know the back-story – but now I am able to deduce that I am missing information when someone blows up at me and I am usually able to not take the insult personally.

In retail pharmacy, we are trained to

  • strive to give the best customer service even when patients get very upset.
  • listen so that the person feels heard before we try to swoop in and “fix” things.
  • respond with concern to a patient’s complaint and to do whatever we can to make things right.

Isn’t that what we need to do in marriage and other relationships, too?

IN MARRIAGE

I have learned that certain situations make it much more likely for someone to blurt out an insult.  When a person is:

  • hungry
  • exhausted
  • hormonal
  • sick
  • in pain
  • overwhelmed with stress
  • trying to rush too much and running late
  • out of fellowship with God
  • cherishing sin in his/her heart
  • having conflict with someone else
  • worried or afraid
  • feeling misunderstood
  • feeling disrespected or unloved

WITH HUSBANDS

Many times, if a husband suddenly snaps at his wife – I suggest a wife ask something like Dr. Emerson Eggerichs suggests in Love and Respect “Honey, that felt unloving, did I come across disrespectfully just now?”

If a husband seems fine and all the sudden gets really angry or shuts down – MANY TIMES, he is feeling disrespected by something his wife just did or said.

But sometimes he might be having stress at work or some other issue going on.  It may have nothing to do with you at all.

A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.  Proverbs 15:1

RESPONDING TO INSULTS

If we respond with more insults – that is going to be a huge fight.

I have found more success with:

  • listening
  • asking gentle questions
  • waiting for the person to calm down
  • asking the person to please treat me with respect so that we can work together (with a particularly hateful patient in the pharmacy – that actually worked wonders.  She and I were great friends after went out into the waiting area and sat beside her.  I calmly and politely called her out on her very disrespectful attitude towards me and I respectfully asked her to treat me with respect so that I could help her.)
  • asking with concern, “Is something bothering you?”
  • asking respectfully, “What can I do to help?”
  • depending on the situation, sometimes humor can diffuse the anger and the insult

There are times we must address the insult.

When I am in the pharmacy and a drug addict hands me a forged prescription, I have to refuse to fill it.  There WILL be conflict.  I try to keep it as low key and respectful as possible.  I try to maintain a pleasant tone of voice.  But I cannot cave in that situation just because the person is upset.  In fact,  I have to call the police if someone is attempting to get a prescription illegally.

IN MARRIAGE

Sometimes what seems like an insult, may actually be constructive criticism that we would be wise to listen to.

Sometimes we must gently but firmly respond and engage in the issue.

Sometimes, it is wise just to let the insult go.

God does not say “Never be angry.”  But He does say

  • “In your anger do not sin.  Do not let the sun go down on your anger.”  Ephesians 4:26
  • “For a man’s anger does not bring about the righteous life God desires.”  James 2:20

If I am to be angry, may it only be about the things that make God angry.

THE DARE FROM NINA

  • “While being slow to anger, slow to speak and quick to listen – actively choose to extend grace to your husband…. Actively choose not to take something personally.”  – The Respect Dare
  • Search the Bible or online in a Bible reference about God’s anger

19 thoughts on “The Respect Dare, Day 9 – Overlooking Insults

  1. Hello from a new reader! 🙂

    I loved this essay! I doubt it will be generally well received because it is fashionable to be egoistic nowadays, but I completely agree that ignoring or even accepting insults is not just the Christian thing to do (which is reason enough in itself), but also the best policy if one is not a believer. As you pointed out, reacting violently to insults only makes matters worse and the ‘culprit’ is no less likely to be insulting the next time around. If we, however, react with grace and understanding, the other person might actually feel ashamed and apologize, change their approach, or eventually even stop being insulting in the long run. Even if that is not the case, we are only responsible for our own actions and soul. While insults are bad, the person who insults, as you mentioned, is often just hurting.

    I come from a family where wrath was considered an appropriate response to anything unpleasant, sadly, so I’m still battling with my reactions to personal attacks, insults included. I still have a long way to go, but it helped when I moved away. Even before that I, too, realized that “sometimes what seems like an insult, may actually be constructive criticism that we would be wise to listen to,” as you put it. I’ve sometimes felt threatened when somebody addressed something I wasn’t proud of in myself – I subconsciously felt ashamed of it and hated to be called out on it because that meant it was true, and didn’t exist only in my imagination.

    Even when the insult is undeserved, it’s a good idea to remember that there’s a grain of truth in every lie. While we should not let insults hurt us, I find it useful to check for the grain of truth in it.

    Thank you for reminding me of this. I’m looking forward to the next post!

  2. Hello from a new reader! 🙂

    I loved this essay! I doubt it will be generally well received because it is fashionable to be egoistic nowadays, but I completely agree that ignoring or even accepting insults is not just the Christian thing to do (which is reason enough in itself), but also the best policy if one is not a believer. As you pointed out, reacting violently to insults only makes matters worse and the ‘culprit’ is no less likely to be insulting the next time around. If we, however, react with grace and understanding, the other person might actually feel ashamed and apologize, change their approach, or eventually even stop being insulting in the long run. Even if that is not the case, we are only responsible for our own actions and soul. While insults are bad, the person who insults, as you mentioned, is often just hurting.

    I come from a family where wrath was considered an appropriate response to anything unpleasant, sadly, so I’m still battling with my reactions to personal attacks, insults included. I still have a long way to go, but it helped when I moved away. Even before that I, too, realized that “sometimes what seems like an insult, may actually be constructive criticism that we would be wise to listen to,” as you put it. I’ve sometimes felt threatened when somebody addressed something I wasn’t proud of in myself – I subconsciously felt ashamed of it and hated to be called out on it because that meant it was true, and didn’t exist only in my imagination.

    Even when the insult is undeserved, it’s a good idea to remember that there’s a grain of truth in every lie. While we should not let insults hurt us, I find it useful to check for the grain of truth in it.

    Thank you for reminding me of this. I’m looking forward to the next post!

  3. Hello from a new reader! 🙂

    I loved this essay! I doubt it will be generally well received because it is fashionable to be egoistic nowadays, but I completely agree that ignoring or even accepting insults is not just the Christian thing to do (which is reason enough in itself), but also the best policy if one is not a believer. As you pointed out, reacting violently to insults only makes matters worse and the ‘culprit’ is no less likely to be insulting the next time around. If we, however, react with grace and understanding, the other person might actually feel ashamed and apologize, change their approach, or eventually even stop being insulting in the long run. Even if that is not the case, we are only responsible for our own actions and soul. While insults are bad, the person who insults, as you mentioned, is often just hurting.

    I come from a family where wrath was considered an appropriate response to anything unpleasant, sadly, so I’m still battling with my reactions to personal attacks, insults included. I still have a long way to go, but it helped when I moved away. Even before that I, too, realized that “sometimes what seems like an insult, may actually be constructive criticism that we would be wise to listen to,” as you put it. I’ve sometimes felt threatened when somebody addressed something I wasn’t proud of in myself – I subconsciously felt ashamed of it and hated to be called out on it because that meant it was true, and didn’t exist only in my imagination.

    Even when the insult is undeserved, it’s a good idea to remember that there’s a grain of truth in every lie. While we should not let insults hurt us, I find it useful to check for the grain of truth in it.

    Thank you for reminding me of this. I’m looking forward to the next post!

  4. Hello from a new reader! 🙂

    I loved this essay! I doubt it will be generally well received because it is fashionable to be egoistic nowadays, but I completely agree that ignoring or even accepting insults is not just the Christian thing to do (which is reason enough in itself), but also the best policy if one is not a believer. As you pointed out, reacting violently to insults only makes matters worse and the ‘culprit’ is no less likely to be insulting the next time around. If we, however, react with grace and understanding, the other person might actually feel ashamed and apologize, change their approach, or eventually even stop being insulting in the long run. Even if that is not the case, we are only responsible for our own actions and soul. While insults are bad, the person who insults, as you mentioned, is often just hurting.

    I come from a family where wrath was considered an appropriate response to anything unpleasant, sadly, so I’m still battling with my reactions to personal attacks, insults included. I still have a long way to go, but it helped when I moved away. Even before that I, too, realized that “sometimes what seems like an insult, may actually be constructive criticism that we would be wise to listen to,” as you put it. I’ve sometimes felt threatened when somebody addressed something I wasn’t proud of in myself – I subconsciously felt ashamed of it and hated to be called out on it because that meant it was true, and didn’t exist only in my imagination.

    Even when the insult is undeserved, it’s a good idea to remember that there’s a grain of truth in every lie. While we should not let insults hurt us, I find it useful to check for the grain of truth in it.

    Thank you for reminding me of this. I’m looking forward to the next post!

  5. Hello from a new reader! 🙂

    I loved this essay! I doubt it will be generally well received because it is fashionable to be egoistic nowadays, but I completely agree that ignoring or even accepting insults is not just the Christian thing to do (which is reason enough in itself), but also the best policy if one is not a believer. As you pointed out, reacting violently to insults only makes matters worse and the ‘culprit’ is no less likely to be insulting the next time around. If we, however, react with grace and understanding, the other person might actually feel ashamed and apologize, change their approach, or eventually even stop being insulting in the long run. Even if that is not the case, we are only responsible for our own actions and soul. While insults are bad, the person who insults, as you mentioned, is often just hurting.

    I come from a family where wrath was considered an appropriate response to anything unpleasant, sadly, so I’m still battling with my reactions to personal attacks, insults included. I still have a long way to go, but it helped when I moved away. Even before that I, too, realized that “sometimes what seems like an insult, may actually be constructive criticism that we would be wise to listen to,” as you put it. I’ve sometimes felt threatened when somebody addressed something I wasn’t proud of in myself – I subconsciously felt ashamed of it and hated to be called out on it because that meant it was true, and didn’t exist only in my imagination.

    Even when the insult is undeserved, it’s a good idea to remember that there’s a grain of truth in every lie. While we should not let insults hurt us, I find it useful to check for the grain of truth in it.

    Thank you for reminding me of this. I’m looking forward to the next post!

  6. Hello from a new reader! 🙂

    I loved this essay! I doubt it will be generally well received because it is fashionable to be egoistic nowadays, but I completely agree that ignoring or even accepting insults is not just the Christian thing to do (which is reason enough in itself), but also the best policy if one is not a believer. As you pointed out, reacting violently to insults only makes matters worse and the ‘culprit’ is no less likely to be insulting the next time around. If we, however, react with grace and understanding, the other person might actually feel ashamed and apologize, change their approach, or eventually even stop being insulting in the long run. Even if that is not the case, we are only responsible for our own actions and soul. While insults are bad, the person who insults, as you mentioned, is often just hurting.

    I come from a family where wrath was considered an appropriate response to anything unpleasant, sadly, so I’m still battling with my reactions to personal attacks, insults included. I still have a long way to go, but it helped when I moved away. Even before that I, too, realized that “sometimes what seems like an insult, may actually be constructive criticism that we would be wise to listen to,” as you put it. I’ve sometimes felt threatened when somebody addressed something I wasn’t proud of in myself – I subconsciously felt ashamed of it and hated to be called out on it because that meant it was true, and didn’t exist only in my imagination.

    Even when the insult is undeserved, it’s a good idea to remember that there’s a grain of truth in every lie. While we should not let insults hurt us, I find it useful to check for the grain of truth in it.

    Thank you for reminding me of this. I’m looking forward to the next post!

  7. Hello from a new reader! 🙂

    I loved this essay! I doubt it will be generally well received because it is fashionable to be egoistic nowadays, but I completely agree that ignoring or even accepting insults is not just the Christian thing to do (which is reason enough in itself), but also the best policy if one is not a believer. As you pointed out, reacting violently to insults only makes matters worse and the ‘culprit’ is no less likely to be insulting the next time around. If we, however, react with grace and understanding, the other person might actually feel ashamed and apologize, change their approach, or eventually even stop being insulting in the long run. Even if that is not the case, we are only responsible for our own actions and soul. While insults are bad, the person who insults, as you mentioned, is often just hurting.

    I come from a family where wrath was considered an appropriate response to anything unpleasant, sadly, so I’m still battling with my reactions to personal attacks, insults included. I still have a long way to go, but it helped when I moved away. Even before that I, too, realized that “sometimes what seems like an insult, may actually be constructive criticism that we would be wise to listen to,” as you put it. I’ve sometimes felt threatened when somebody addressed something I wasn’t proud of in myself – I subconsciously felt ashamed of it and hated to be called out on it because that meant it was true, and didn’t exist only in my imagination.

    Even when the insult is undeserved, it’s a good idea to remember that there’s a grain of truth in every lie. While we should not let insults hurt us, I find it useful to check for the grain of truth in it.

    Thank you for reminding me of this. I’m looking forward to the next post!

  8. It seems to me that god gets angry with Christians who are two faced the most. Good on the outside but harbouring sin on the inside. I’ve found this challenge difficult. I am guilty of lacking faith, suppressing what is truth. But I find those thing in DH too. I can overlook some offences and forgive a little more today, because I understand that Christ would be pleased if I did. Still trying to practice holding my tongue and being slow to anger. We are a work in progress.

    April can I ask what you think? I interpreted haughty eyes as pride and arrogance. Acting Lordly but being unloving. I interpreted “hands that shed innocent blood” as also including physical and verbal abuse. (Proverbs 6:16-19) not sure if that’s wholly correct. Do you have any more insight?
    ThxTam

  9. The power of the word “ouch”!

    I had the opportunity to put this Dare to the test yesterday. My husband made a comment to me, and it hurt me ALOT. I am very sensitive and the slightest thing can at times be too much. I went to respond, but immediately thought of this challenge. So all I said, quietly was “ouch”. And then nonchalantly walked out of the room to finish the laundry I had been folding.

    He followed me into the next room and wanted to know why I said “ouch”, it really bothered him. So I said that his comment had hurt and made me feel XYZ, rather then fight I just said “ouch”. To my surprise he apologized for his comment, and said he probably should have either worded it differently or perhaps not said it all, because I took it in a way he never meant me to feel.. He hugged and kissed me, and then helped me finish folding the laundry!

    In the past, I would have responded with a sarcastic comment which would have started a very nice battle. This time, it didn’t even have a chance to start.

    Don’t underestimate the power of a small little word.

  10. Good morning April…

    Glad I am getting to dare number 9 today..and moving onto dare 10 after I comment about dare 9.

    My hubby is never insulting verbally…but the hardest thing for me is his sarcasm. I never have understood sarcasm and hubby likes to try to be funny or make people laugh..or just likes to talk sarcastically because he is that type of person. However, on a smaller but equally important scale I am the one who usually was insulting. Not neccessarily verbally insulting, but sometimes just insulting my hubby by my nonverbal communcation, looks I would give him, frustrations that would make me snap at him, and sometimes yelling, scolding, naggging him about ways that ne needs to change.

    Yes my hubby can be sarcastic. That is part of who he is. But however, when I let his little comments fester in my mind, heart, and thoughts, that is where I end up sinning.

    A month of two ago I told him that I don’t understand sarcasm and that it hurts me when he is that way towards me. Since then his words don’t hurt as much and he is getting better. A mentor couple of ours even a few years back pointed out to me about my hubby’s comments…so others could see it too.

    But the more I see my hubby start to change in regard to insulting me through his sarcasm, the more I start to see of Jesus working in his life and that makes me a happy wife.

    I also think he read your blog entry April on sarcasm and its effect on our Christian walk….

    Thank you God for doing this work in my hubby’s heart. May I seek to refrain from nagging, scolding and raising my voice at my husband and others. I want to honor my husband and others by respecting them in a way that brings you glory. Give me the grace and empower me by your Holy Spirit to do just that. Amen

  11. This blog helped me a lot with this dare.
    http://peacefulwife.com/what-is-disrespectful-to-men/
    I began to see that when my husband spoke harsh to me, that I had done one of the things listed that men find disrespectful. I had no idea why he was getting upset sometimes! I would love if he would go over the list with me or make his own so I could see how he feels about some of them. Like the one “Did you remember to pack….?” I don’t think my husband would find that disrespectful but I am not sure.

    1. DaisyMae,

      I’m so glad that post helped you. HOW I NEEDED that list 5 years ago!!!!!!

      Some wives do print out the list and ask their husbands to circle/check the things that are disrespectful to them. Each husband has his own preferences. If he is game for doing that – I think it could be very helpful!

      And – some wives print out this list – and ask for the top 3 things that would mean the most to their husbands, or ask them to circle the ones that are important to them.

  12. Anja, i was reading your post and it seems you are having some perspective changes which is amazing, but i wanted to point out that we should not “accept” insults for truth or try to find the “truth” in it, for our identity and our worth lie with God, not in another person’s hands. Even if it is our husband’s hands. They are more likely to be acting or speaking from a place of frustration and trying to place their frustration on you. I think what peacefulwife is trying to get across is that we can -overlook- not accept insults, and see the reason or frustration behind the behavior. Then we can respond with compassion and grace and not with an intent to get the other person to change or feel guilty. None of us are perfect but because a perfect God sacrificed His son for us we are accepted, loved, and forgiven. Therefore we must learn through the power of Christ how to accept, love, forgive, and show grace through our lives.
    -hope this helps!

My grandmother is on hospice and won't be with us much longer (11-30-16). I will get to comments when I am able to but I need to be with family right now. Thanks for understanding.

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