Losing Your Cool

Paul looked straight at the Sanhedrin and said, “My brothers, I have fulfilled my duty to God in all good conscience to this day.” At this the high priest Ananias ordered those standing near Paul to strike him on the mouth. Then Paul said to him, “God will strike you, you whitewashed wall! You sit there to judge me according to the law, yet you yourself violate the law by commanding that I be struck!” —Acts 23:1-3

Okay.  No matter how much God wants us to love our neighbor or our enemies (which may be the same thing in some neighborhoods), the plain truth of the matter is that some people are just jerks.  They are ignorant, selfish, idiots who should be removed from the roster.  There is no way around it.

Jerks come in all flavors.  There are the jerks who drive 10 mph under the speed limit.  There are empty-headed dweebs who simply cannot stop talking on their cell phones.  There are cashiers who want to chat with the person ahead of you in the line even though you have a carton of ice cream melting on the conveyor belt.  There are US senators.  The list goes on and on.

God doesn’t put up with jerks.  In fact, he’s come up with a whole bunch of nifty ways to deal with them.  He sends plagues, for one thing.  There’s nothing like putting flies or frogs in somebody’s shorts to make a point.  God drowns jerks, blinds jerks, fries jerks, buries jerks, and just plain strikes them dead.  All of these—and more—provide him with a sense of deep satisfaction.  And since he’s God he gets away with it most of the time.  (He was bummed out a bit after the flood incident.)  It’s clear that God can only put up with jerks so long before he blows a gasket and toasts somebody.

For the most part, it’s probably a good idea to be nice to people.  The Apostle Paul himself, however, puts some limits on niceness: If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone—the key concept here being as far as it depends on you. This means that if the other person is being a jerk you’re pretty much off the hook.  Take advantage of this Biblical loophole whenever possible.

There are ways to be prepared for jerks.  As we’ve seen, Paul is really good with insults: “God is going to kick your butt, you plaster-faced ninny’ would be a modern paraphrase.  A well placed insult is easy to apply.  The only thing to avoid is lame insults that make you look like an idiot.  For example, if somebody steals your parking space at Target, don’t roll down your window and say something like, “Way to go, you churl.”  This will probably be lost on everybody and make you look like a librarian with constipation.

There are a few good websites where you can pick up some doozies.  One good site is Insult-o-Matic where a program will generate customized insults of many kinds, including

· Classic insults
· Evil fortune cookie insults
· Pirate insults
· Psychiatric insults
· Redneck insults
· Shakespearean insults
· Simple insults
· Yo momma insults

So go ahead, nuke ’em.  And God bless you today.

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