“…but they will give an account to him who is ready to judge the living and the dead.” (1 Peter 4:5 ESV)
With an attitude of entitlement sweeping the nation, it seems like encounters of the unpleasant kind are more frequent. No sooner had our son John related his experience with a stranger’s ugly display of anger than I had something similar happen.
Long story short, the other morning the crew arrived early to do a full day’s work on our property. My smile quickly faded as the boss uttered his first words, “I don’t want any aggravation.” (Huh? Did I hear right?) Sounding confrontational, he continued, “I was up ’til 11:30 and I’m not in the mood for aggravation.” (I was stunned.)
Then more verbal blasts of ice water before he got what he wanted; a response. The entire conversation took thirty seconds before the boss signaled for his crew to move on to the next job.
The man referred to himself as a professional. He showed who was in control. He left because he could. It is wonderful when things like that occur after spending time with the Lord. Have you ever had something similar happen?
I met the next day for breakfast with my mentor, the coach. When I described the weird scene of the customer (me) being upbraided before a big job, coach said, “He is an independent contractor. That’s what they do.” What a profound insight! If an employee would have pulled that stunt, he might have been fired–or maybe not. It’s rare for company representatives to purposely antagonize customers.
Later, I gained some added perspective from a friend in the same business. “This is probably what was going on,” my friend said. “He had second thoughts. He realized he bid too low, then when he looked at all the work, knowing he might lose big on this job, he needed a way out. You had to release him from the agreement. Then he could be free to make easier money elsewhere.”
It was a theatric performance. Was he really angry? Was he aggravated or just acting like it?
Anger as a manipulation: How many times have we seen that? The husband wants his independence, so who hears the tirades and receives the brunt of his insults? The mother of his children, the wife he vowed to love, honor and cherish; she is the target. It is because she stands between him and his idea of greener pastures. The break-up must be all her fault. Women may do the same thing.
At church, a member grows increasingly dissatisfied. He is itching to check out the new fellowship in town. He cannot just go quietly. There has to be someone to blame. He wants his independence so he initiates an incident with a key figure. An argument ensues that causes heads to turn.
“What made him go off? Why the grandstand performance over something that seemed petty?” The staged conflict was to justify doing what he had already made up his mind to do.
Before breaking through the German lines at Bastogne, World War II general George S. Patton launched into a loud rant against his headquarters staff. Afterwards, his aide-de-camp approached him. “Sir, the men don’t know if you’re serious or acting.” Patton replied, “Good. They don’t need to know.”
Was it an act? He was in command, answerable to no one but himself, so it didn’t matter. The ends justify the means.
Next post, we will look again at the Independent Contractor Christian. We will see another way the “I’m the boss,” attitude reveals itself and why it provokes God’s genuine anger.