That’s the christian motto, right? Or is it the Boy Scout motto? I forget.
Christians should always be nice. We should use nice language, smile a lot, be happy, turn the other cheek, did I say smile a lot? Happy, happy, happy.
I am not suggesting we be nasty, but I have noticed that sometimes christians squirm at the least bit of conflict or difficulty. The reality is that life outside the christian bubble is not always syrupy sweet, and sometimes life within the christian bubble is not all that sweet either.
You know why spiritual abuse is so dang unworkable? Because you were dealing with someone who was not playing fair, while the entire time you were trying to play by christian rules.Some of the most inspirational reading I have done over the last few days has been about a couple of books from the business world – The No Asshole Rule, by Bob Sutton (ht Bill Kinnon) and Snakes in Suits, by Paul Babiak (ht to Robbymac).
The No Asshole Rule talks about interacting with people who leave you feeling demeaned, belittled, and de-energized. The author has taken a lot of flack over the title of the book, but I agree with his defense regarding the word choice. Rather than simply an attempt at vulgarity, “no other word quite captures the essence of this type of person.”
The other book, Snakes in Suits, further discusses the bullying personality type that operates in this way and explains some of their methodology. In describing abusive pastors, people often describe a person operating in a degree of personality disorder, sometimes using the word sociopath or narcissist.
Obviously it wouldn’t be fair to describe everyone you dislike as a psychopath. However, the awareness that sometimes you are dealing with a person whose behavior and methodology are outside the norm can be extremely helpful.
There are aspects of this pattern and the systemic issues in church in particular that facilitate and encourage these personalities that intrigue me, but I am hesitant to write further about it because, let’s face it, it is not a very nice topic.