Difficult people: The bull
Some people are difficult to deal with because they act like bulls. They intimidate others to get what they want. It’s a power play. They bully people they think won’t challenge them. Here is old wisdom for dealing with bulls: “A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger” (Proverbs 15:1 KJV). A calm response to a bull doesn’t need to be a weak one. You don’t want to bellow back at a bull, and you don’t want to turn your back on a bull. But bulls will back off when they see your strength.
During my career, I faced down some bulls. Sometimes I didn’t see them coming, and they blindsided me. I learned to ask raging bulls, “What have I done to offend you that you are treating me this way?” That usually invited some calm. Bulls threatened to sue me, pull their kids from my school, and report me to ecclesiastical authorities because they thought I was coloring outside the lines. I learned to say, “I am always willing to meet with you and discuss your concerns and try to arrive at a solution. But do not threaten me.” A bull hung up on me once, so I called her right back and asked her never to do that again. Another bull kept criticizing this, that, and the other thing, so I finally asked him, “Can your ministry stand up to the kind of scrutiny you are putting my ministry under?” I never heard from him again.
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