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Eric's Sunday Service; How To Treat An Obnoxious Person And The Like

Updated on July 17, 2016

Diamond Back Rattler - Talk about obnoxious.

Some things that are obnoxious are just plain better left alone.
Some things that are obnoxious are just plain better left alone. | Source

Some folks we love are just plain obnoxious.

In the late ‘70s my then fiancé and I travelled about 300 miles to obtain a dog. He was a Chow Chow, cream and goldish colored with a purple tongue and a mane. He looked much like a miniature lion. His name was formally Kublai Kahn of Xanadu. He had a marvelous pedigree. He was advertised as obnoxious. And though he was ostensibly worth thousands he was given away to us for free. This due to his obnoxious character. Strange he was, once he dove through a window in our home got all cut up but just wanted to hang out on our front porch and so there he was when we got home. A couple of times chewed through wood things like doors. Man o man I loved that dog and we had him for about 16 years through good and bad. He was obnoxious but we loved him. He was extremely loyal and great through 3 small children.

Some folks are just obnoxious and go through people like Kahn did fences. Just chewed them up and spit them out as though it was nothing. I think we can love such people as I love Kahn. But how? Jesus said something to the effect that loving good folk is of no great gain, loving enemies is the really good stuff. And there is a wonderful proven effective technique of praying for one’s enemies to make things better. The story of the good guy saving the bad guy because it was the right thing to do never gets old. In my life nothing has been as instantly rewarding as helping two resolve a dispute between them. Fighters are all entertaining but peace makers are the ones we ultimately want to hang out with after gaining some wisdom.

In a real sense life would be less exciting without obnoxious people.

Beautiful to me

Maybe we should walk a mile in their shoes

Just a little effort to empathize.
Just a little effort to empathize. | Source

Are we on solid ground?

For a period of my life I was self-destructive in many ways. Cut me some slack, a lot of people go through this phase of life. Come to think of it, I was obnoxious during that period. It was like a snowball rolling downhill headed for Hell effect, the more I was obnoxious the more I hated myself. The more I hated myself the more obnoxious I became. But there were areas where this problem did not exist. For some reason I was still great with children. For some reason I was still an adequate provider. (I had a job that somewhat rewarded the obnoxious) Seemingly my wife still loved me. When it was clearly time to get better through some work and hard reflection I started a journey. . The ultimate cure for such a mental/emotional/spiritual malady was learning to love myself with warts and all.

So if we look real hard at the obnoxious we will find a few things: They will have some redeeming qualities; They will not like themselves; They will still have some capacity for love. There is a phrase that seems to be a truism. “We will love you until you can learn to love yourself”. There is just something about being loved that begets love. My children adore the funny short poem that goes like this, “beans beans the magical fruit the more you eat the more you toot. So in order to capitalize on that I taught them, “love love the magical thing the more you give the more you bring”. The notion is true.

We can in fact love the person with a serious problem. We are such a funny lot, we fall all over ourselves getting to support and love someone who has had a heart attack. But when they are really sick at heart we shun and avoid them. The scar that we can see brings sympathy and compassion. The scar that is invisible brings contempt.

Here is an interesting type of obnoxious. Religious grandiosity or hyper religiosity linked to bipolar and psychosis disorders. It is just what it sounds like. Make no mistake faith can have a great therapeutic influence on patients. But there are so many delusional cases that it makes it on to the diagnosis charts. Now a medical provider has to be thoughtful and vigilante here. The religiosity can be helpful or very harmful. But how about us lay people? People that are just plain obnoxious in pounding their religious “beliefs” at you are either very touched by a spirit or are basically delusional. I am fairly learned in such matters. And for sure sometimes I cannot tell the difference.

Here is the point: It really does not matter on how we must treat them. Both deserve our love, or maybe they don’t and we are just required by what is right to show them love anyway. Now we must temper that by not enabling and not letting us drag ourselves down. It would seem that looking into this area of inquiry can help us to properly treat the less drastic occurrences of obnoxious. Sometimes looking at the extreme helps us deal with the mundane.

Take a good look at yourself

Faith of a Mustard seed

Big old Mustard Tree
Big old Mustard Tree | Source

Wisdom to know the difference!

OK, maybe we don’t care for the obvious method of dealing with the obnoxious. Sometimes doing the right thing just stinks. And sometimes it is just plain hard to know what the right thing to do is. I just love this short version of the Serenity Prayer by Reinhold Niebuhr (1892–1971):

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,

Courage to change the things I can,

And wisdom to know the difference.

That kind of says it all about dealing with the obnoxious in ourselves and in others. I long ago added a little something, something: God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, in love,

Courage to change the things I can, in love,

And wisdom to know the difference, in love.

So for me when I am of my right mind and spirit dealing with the obnoxious requires that I do it in love. A whole lot easier said than done. That old favorite teacher of mine kind of directly tells me to practice something. It goes like this; If the dude slaps your cheek go ahead and give him the other cheek to slap, and then do this 7 times 70 times. Right!!! You do it, I am not up for it. And while you are at it, I am going to steal your jacket and then you must give me your shirt.

Sorry but us common folk just cannot do that. But we can keep our eye on the prize. Again we can look at the extreme and take away something for the mundane.

You know I can rarely give a sermon without talking about another great teacher – my six year old. Were you aware that a six year old can ask 200 how and why questions a minute? In the ordinary it would seem impossible but six year olds can do miracles. And I just got to tell you that that many questions is obnoxious and nobody but a Saint can deal with them all with love. However with the power of love which is also miraculous, a normal parent can satisfy the curiosity of a six year old. I reckon we can do it with those obnoxious sales people that call or knock on our door during family dinner time. Perhaps we cannot do it perfectly but at least trying will allow us to move on without carrying the negative onward.

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    • Ericdierker profile image
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      Eric Dierker 12 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      I can feel your hugs all the way down here in the coastal Sonoran desert. We spent time in a Northern Arizona Riparian Region above Sedona. Nothing but wilderness noises for days. Picking fresh fruit and eating it right off the tree or vine is awesome.

      I am working on this "honest to God" concept. Going a ways back and making things as right as can be is tough work. But it truly is a happier road.

    • Rolly A Chabot profile image

      Rolly A Chabot 12 months ago from Alberta Canada

      Hi Eric...

      When I revisit in my finite mind the days of mindless drinking and drugs and how many people I stepped on to stay afloat. Your message is a reminder His grace is all encompassing. I made my amends where I was able. Today I like to think of myself as well for better words... I am slowly composting...

      Hugs and Blessings

    • Ericdierker profile image
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      Eric Dierker 12 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Lawrence, I always liked that comment also. You seem to have that quality that sees the best. Seems to me that just seeing the flaws in someone is like a bad habit.

    • lawrence01 profile image

      Lawrence Hebb 12 months ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

      Eric

      A friend once told me. "Whenever I'm pointing my finger, I need to remember the three fingers pointing at me!"

      This was really good and practical.

      Let's keep on working at this.

      Lawrence

    • Ericdierker profile image
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      Eric Dierker 12 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Devika, that is very good advice.

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 12 months ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      I had contact with all types including obnoxious people. I stay away from such people and hope they improve.

    • Ericdierker profile image
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      Eric Dierker 12 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Hi Dianna, thanks for dropping in and leaving such important sentiments. The crazy notion of "praying for our enemies" really works. At least for me it does.

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 12 months ago

      I have run across a few obnoxious people in my lifetime. I agree that we can learn something from interacting with them. Love them anyway and pray for their well being!

    • Ericdierker profile image
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      Eric Dierker 12 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Frank, I am just screwy enough to make a list each night and pray for those folks. I got no idea if it helps them but it sure helps me sleep better.

    • Ericdierker profile image
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      Eric Dierker 12 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Dora I know that it is only temporal feelings that I get sometimes from overcoming my natural reactions to such folk. I try hard to make it a spiritual one and it brings me closer to God. And how wonderful is that rare occasion when it has that effect of passing it on to the one that really needs to feel the love.

    • Frank Atanacio profile image

      Frank Atanacio 12 months ago from Shelton

      LOL, I enjoyed this hub/sermon.. well written and kept me thinking of people I know who fit the bill.. keep up the good work in your sermons my friend..:)

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Isaac Weithers 12 months ago from The Caribbean

      "Show them love anyway. Now we must temper that by not enabling and not letting us drag ourselves down." Excellent counsel, Eric, and the Serenity Prayer is most relevant.

    • Faith Reaper profile image

      Faith Reaper 12 months ago from southern USA

      Hi Dear Eric,

      Your writing style is always so honest and real, which makes it so refreshing to read. Yes, we are certainly called to love all, even the obnoxious, which can be quite difficult at times, but what helps me is knowing that there is a reason behind the obnoxious that we have no clue about, and my heart is able to muster up love for that person, who is really hurting. Plus, I've had plenty of obnoxious days of my own throughout my lifetime too ...

      I remember that funny little song too, and I love your new version so much more ...how clever!

      I have a small tapestry in my home of the Serenity Prayer and when I wake up each morning there it is. Helps me to keep the right perspective on my "self" ...Plus, there is another small one hanging right inside the small foyer leading out to my garage that I see before I run out the door for my daily commute into the city for work. It has the Fruit of the Spirit ...Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness, and Self Control from Gal. 5:22.

      This keeps me mindful that "We are known by our Fruit."

      Peace and love always to you and yours

    • Ericdierker profile image
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      Eric Dierker 13 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Self reflection and introspection really helps us with the ugly trait of judging others harshly. Boy do I so often have a plank in my eye. Thank you for your comment Dr.

    • Dr CHE Sadaphal profile image

      CH Elijah Sadaphal 13 months ago from New York, NY

      I think the greatest lesson I have learned in dealing with obnoxious people is first to admit how obnoxious I am and then consider how I am interpreted by others even why I my efforts are sincere. This persuades self-scrutiny more than other-scrutiny, and animates the grace (or attempts at it) I thus show to others.

    • Ericdierker profile image
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      Eric Dierker 13 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Thanks Marlene, I shared that with my wife and she just said "see". It happened that something great happened to her at work. Prayers sometimes work right away.

    • Ericdierker profile image
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      Eric Dierker 13 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Thank you Denise. Strange how rudeness over the phone can just get to us. Sometimes I really procrastinate over making that -- "this is one of those phone calls".

    • denise.w.anderson profile image

      Denise W Anderson 13 months ago from Bismarck, North Dakota

      I just took a call from an obnoxious person. I can tell you right now that I was equally obnoxious! I have a tough time turning the other check and giving good customer service to those who don't deserve it. My automatic reaction is to put up a wall myself to protect my own feelings of self-worth. You are right in that those who are obnoxious don't feel good about themselves! It takes time after an incident like that for me to talk myself into feeling better, and then, it only lasts until I get the next phone call!

    • MarleneB profile image

      Marlene Bertrand 13 months ago from Northern California, USA

      Eric, I'm sending my love your way and praying for you and the loved ones in your household.

    • Ericdierker profile image
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      Eric Dierker 13 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Marlene, around my home we have had some serious ups and downs lately from financial issues to cancer. And we are just having a love fest. This default position of loving each other is just wonderful.

    • MarleneB profile image

      Marlene Bertrand 13 months ago from Northern California, USA

      An excellent message. I like how you brought the concept of love to life with, "... the more you give, the more you bring." That says it all right there.

    • Ericdierker profile image
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      Eric Dierker 13 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      John the sad fact that I have noticed over the years is that obnoxious people or people just being obnoxious don't even know it. I love sermons about sin and error, and folks look around and say to themselves - Not Me. Perhaps accepting our faults is the most freeing exercise there is.

    • Jodah profile image

      John Hansen 13 months ago from Queensland Australia

      This is a good message, Eric, and something I struggle with. The best I can do with obnoious people is to try to ignore them. I wish I could do better. I wonder if a certain person will read this hub. That will be interesting. Great work.

    • Ericdierker profile image
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      Eric Dierker 13 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      My biggest issue is with an elder sibling. Whew, what a pain. I have to take breaks from him.

    • clivewilliams profile image

      Clive Williams 13 months ago from Nibiru

      i don't have the patience to deal with such people. Some can be helped while some are just simply too obnoxious.

    • Ericdierker profile image
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      Eric Dierker 13 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Dana isn't our friendship great. It is nice to share about our inner struggles and know we are not so different from our fellows. We are bound by our issues and our inspiration. Truly a basis for Love, with others and with God.

    • Ericdierker profile image
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      Eric Dierker 13 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Well Bill, No matter the moderation, if I go about altering my mood and mind with substances I just plain create a gap between myself and others, God, Love and serenity. And that in turn makes me intolerant of others. Maybe OK for others but not for me.

    • Dana Tate profile image

      Dana Tate 13 months ago from LOS ANGELES

      This was a good message for me this morning. I have been trying for hard to show my "Christian Love" with obnoxious and pushy people lately and I am finding myself struggling with it. I think the Lord, has bombarded me with these types of people to teach me patience because I have trouble with this -fruit of the spirit- good message for me this morning but you are right love and prayer works every time.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 13 months ago from Olympia, WA

      I have grown up a bit, Eric. How I treat obnoxious people today is much different than when I was younger. I think I've mellowed a bit. Of course, not drinking helps in that process. LOL

    • Ericdierker profile image
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      Eric Dierker 13 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Thank you Manatita, And thank you for even mentioning me in the same line with Bill, a hero of mine for sure.

    • manatita44 profile image

      manatita44 13 months ago from london

      Eric, Ha ha. I like that. Chuckle ...Actually I'm reminded of Bill whenever you speak of your family. Must be a truly great bond. Higher blessings to you all.

    • Ericdierker profile image
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      Eric Dierker 13 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Manatita I think I was pretty good at being obnoxious. God sent wonderful ladies to cure me.

    • Ericdierker profile image
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      Eric Dierker 13 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Thanks Linda, I went right to it and read the whole chapter. What great stuff that is. I count it among my many blessings to have friends like you who share our love of scripture and apply it with love.

    • Ericdierker profile image
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      Eric Dierker 13 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Special blessings of good friends helps keep me on the right track, and I count you and Manitita high on that list. Thank you Ruby.

    • Carb Diva profile image

      Linda Lum 13 months ago from Washington State, USA

      Eric - How amazing that you would write about this today. The 2nd lesson in our worship service today was from Paul's letter to the Colossians, Chapter 3 -- "Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity."

      Says it all, don't ya think?

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Fuller 13 months ago from Southern Illinois

      It would be wonderful if we could overlook the obnoxious people around us. You gave us the key, love and prayer. I needed this message. Thank you. I might add that Eric C. and Joe C. are two of my favorite artists in the whole world. I agree with Manatita, great topic!

    • manatita44 profile image

      manatita44 13 months ago from london

      Obnoxious people? So many of us out there. What to do? watch (be vigilante, prudent, wise) and pray.

      Great topic and 'cool' Hub.