A recent post to the Jack’s Winning Words blog gives good advice on how to deal with those who might verbally disabuse you – “Never wrestle with pigs. You both get dirty, and the pigs like it.” (George Bernard Shaw).
Those who verbally bully others or who’s overt disparaging remarks seek to hurt you are the pigs in your life and they love it when you react to their attacks – when you wrestle with them. Those types of people do what they do in hopes of “getting a rise out of you.” They want you to come down to their level and wrestle in the mud of hate or prejudice with them.
In Matthew 5:39 we read – “But I say to you, do not resist an evil person; but whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also.”
I suppose that this verse could be interpreted literally; however, it is useful in a figurative sense also. Turning the other cheek to those who have verbally caused you harm is choosing not to wrestle with pigs, not to get down in the mud with them.
It is difficult to resist the reaction of lashing back at someone who has just hurled an insult at you; however, if you can bring to mind Shaw’s advice, there will likely come a smile to your face as you imagine wrestling with pigs. Nothing disarms the would be verbal bully like a smile in response. They just can’t figure out how you can take the abuse and respond with a smile. Resist the urge to throw in a little “oink”, even if that comes to mind.
Remind yourself that the taunts or hurtful remarks are coming from a negative person and heed the advice of Hugh Dillon – “Life is too short to spend in negativity. So I have made a conscious effort to not be where I don’t want to be.” Think about it. Do you really want to be down there in the mud, wrestling with pigs?
Instead, perhaps you can focus upon the words of Dr. Martin Luther King – “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” It is sometimes hard to love thine enemies as we are instructed to do; but nothing that I’ve ever tried to do in response to some personal attack has worked better than showing forgiveness and love to those who tried to drag me down into the mud with them to wrestle in hate.
So figuratively turn the other cheek today and find it in your heart to forgive. Once you have stopped the urge to get down and dirty with the pigs, you must find the strength to forgive them. H. Jackson Brown, Jr. put it well when he reminds us – “Never forget the three powerful resources you always have available to you: love, prayer, and forgiveness.”
Use your resources today.