Don’t be a jerk.

The other day my 9-year-old son informed me of the meaning of JERK –

  • Junior
  • Educated
  • Rich
  • Kid

If this was the image you had in mind by reading my title (Don’t be a jerk), reimagine it. I also don’t mean Steve Martin from the movie “The Jerk” (see below).

Steve Martin is the Jerk on Andy

Instead picture one of my first bosses.

When I was in high school, I worked for my uncle for 2 summers. He owned a construction business with a small crew of guys overseen by a foreman. I withhold his name because he was a jerk.

Maybe it was because I was the owner’s nephew. Maybe it was because I was more than green (not skilled at ALL).Maybe it was because I was young (16 & 17). Maybe it was just because he could be a jerk. Whatever the reason, he was a jerk.

He yelled at me all the time…ALL the time. I couldn’t do anything right…ANYTHING. In fact, he repeatedly told me the only thing I was good at was mixing mortar. Very up lifting.

Instead giving me life, he tore me down. Constantly. He was a jerk.

Being a jerk doesn’t pay.

So Hanun seized David’s ambassadors and shaved off half of each man’s beard, cut off their robes at the buttocks, and sent them back to David in shame. -2 Samuel 10:4

If my story of being jerked around by a jerk doesn’t connect with you, maybe the above story will. While we can’t understand the shaving the beard thing in our culture; we all get being de-pants-ed and made to walk back home.

It is also a great example of why it is no good to be a jerk. We never know the capability of the person we are being a jerk to. King David’s men were absolutely humiliated.

This Hunan dude is a jerk.

David responds by sending in the special forces then the entire army. David brings them into submission.

David was not a man to mess with. With David the old saying “Crime doesn’t pay” could be changed to “Being a jerk doesn’t pay” (This isn’t the only time David deals with jerks and idiots in a similar fashion).

Who are you influencing?

Hanun, the king who humiliated David’s men (and indirectly David), was in a position of influence. He was in a place to help or hurt his people. My high school foreman was in a position of influence. He could have really helped me feel good about myself. He could have taught me valuable skills and abilities.

You too are placed in a position of influence. You are influencing your children, your spouse, your friends, your co-workers, employees, etc. How you treat people rubs off on those who you influence. It also affects how others treat you. Hanun had a simple and easy opportunity to make David an ally. Instead he makes an enemy.

You have opportunities every day to make allies. Are you instead creating enemies?

On the surface, this seems like such an easy topic. Treat others with respect, but think about how you have treated the people in your sphere of influence who have made mistakes this week.

Were you a jerk? Did you tear them down and make them feel smaller?

Did you a give life? Did you correct and build back up?

We all know what it feels like to be torn down and beat up. Don’t be a jerk. Be a life-giver.

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