Eric Speir

Life and Leadership by the Book

How To Deal With A Jerk

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Everyone knows a jerk. Hopefully, you’re not the one that everyone knows! If you’ve been breathing long enough you will realize there is no shortage of them. Most of the jerks that you know don’t even realize they are one. The jerks in your life think they are doing everyone a favor or helping the organizations they are a part of but in fact, they’re driving everyone crazy!

Frustrated?

Believe it or not the Bible speaks a lot about jerks. In fact, the book of Proverbs quite often refers to them as fools. According to Proverbs a fool is one “who lacks judgment, sense or understanding.” Does this describe someone in your life?  What are some other characteristics of jerks?

I think by now you get the point of what a jerk acts like. If this is the case, then how should we respond when we encounter a jerk?

  • Ignore the jerk because he will only disrespect you. Proverbs 23:9
  • Refuse to treat him like he treats you so that you don’t sink to their level. Proverbs 26:4
  • Learn to keep short accounts and not keep score with people. Matthew 18:21-22
  • Kill them with kindness and treat them like you want them to treat you. Proverbs 25:21-22
  • Pray for them because you never know what’s going on in their lives. Matthew 5:44

In many cases you can’t escape people like this because they are everywhere. They’re at work, church, your extended family, coffee shop and just about anywhere else that you can think of. I remind people all the time that everyone is going to have a bad day every now and then. It’s no excuse for their actions but it does offer us some perspective. How will you choose to respond the next time you encounter a jerk?

What other ways have you responded to a jerk?

About Eric

I'm a pastor and writer. I like to help people to grow in their relationship with God. I live outside of Atlanta, GA. I've written a book, Stubborn Faith: 30 Day Devotional Guide For New Growth. It's available for free as a download on this blog. Feel free to follow me on Twitter at @ericspeir

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10 Replies

  1. I think it helps to remember that even jerks are people that Jesus loved enough to die for. They’re also people that are sinful… just like me.

    1. Eric

      That’s a good reminder for us. I try to remember that everyone is going to have a bad day every now and then. When I do this I learn to give people the benefit of the doubt.

  2. Great points I really liked, “Learn to keep short accounts and not keep score with people. This is such a key for not letting bitterness or anger come into your life.

    I honestly try and not associate with jerks but when I need to I try and find the best in them and look at them the way God does.

    1. Eric

      When we take the time to look at them like God does then it certainly reminds us that we are all human and are in need of grace.

  3. I certainly have encountered jerks in my professional life. I unfortunately have been that jerk and exhibited some of those characteristics that you mention above. But thank God that he is still putting me through the process! The best way to deal with a jerk, is not to treat them like they treat you. This is such a convicting move. Because he/she will see that you are treating them differently from what they are treating and hopefully it will lead them to treat you differently next time. God Bless.

    1. Eric

      You’re right Juan! When we take the time to treat them differently then it has a way of softening their hearts toward us. I remind people all the time that “hurting people hurt other people.” People who act this way have been wounded somewhere in their lives and this is their way of coping.

  4. Eric, usually I go with, “don’t stoop to their level”. Sometimes a “jerk” behaves so egregiously that it’s hard to “let it go,” but it hardly ever pays to take them on head-on. As you pointed out, usually, they don’t even realize they’re jerks. To the extent it’s possible to just go in the other direction, away from the jerk, that’s usually the best bet. The more permanently you can get away from them, the better. They will only waste your time and sap your energy. Paul

    1. Eric

      I have found that this is one of the best ways to handle it as well. I try to avoid stooping to their level. The only stooping we should be doing is helping someone up.

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