There are a lot of times when I don’t know how to respond to something someone is baiting me with. A few days ago I was baited with a question, and this person was trying his best to belittle someone and call them less than human. Within the context I was in, there was no way I was able to respond without causing an issue for others around me. I wanted to say any number of things to make this person feel bad about themselves for holding such a view, but most of all I wanted an apology. Unfortunately for me, I was not the person who had been insulted, and the other person just acted as though the comment had not been made. I now find myself in a place where I wish I had said something, but equally glad that I did not compound the problem. If someone is looking for a rise out of you or an argument, then not putting fuel on the fire might be the only way to stop it before it starts. Sometimes getting involved just makes things worse, or gives someone ammunition to continue a line of conversation that should be stopped.
This is not the only time I have found myself baited on issues. People make certain assumptions about how others will react. This is often based on what perceived beliefs that person holds are. They then pick an opposing view and then try to have some fun, regardless of their true beliefs or if they have even given any thought to the subject whatsoever. Many people hold their opinions because it is what ‘everyone thinks’, and because if you don’t think that way there must be something wrong with you. How can solutions to problems be found if we all think alike? Giving a stock response is sometimes the worst thing you can do. Even if you wholeheartedly disagree with someone, at least try to see where they are coming from in order to give a measured response. Make sure you consider the context you are in as to the appropriateness of the response too, and whether no response or a continuation of the discussion in another context would be more appropriate.
If you want people to treat you with dignity and respect, then you need to treat people with dignity and respect. Regardless of your opinion as to whether you feel they deserve it, simply by being human people deserve respect. If people could talk together without trying to be mean-spirited to one another, then this world would be a better place. Just because you can put others down and do them harm actually means that you should be the bigger person and behave in a manner that does not demean them or you. There are many times when I have wanted to give a childish response to someone, but I am glad even for my sake that I have not. If you want people to take you seriously and listen to your opinions, then you have to behave in a way that makes them want to listen.
Honesty, integrity, trust. All these things have to be worked upon your whole life. If you are worthy of these titles then people will listen to what you have to say and take it on board. I want my life to match up to what I believe. I want to be able to talk to anyone and make them feel like they are glad they spoke to me. I want others to know that God loves them regardless. I want people to know that there is hope even in the darkest of situations. 1 Thessalonians 5:14-15 says ‘Brothers and sisters, we urge you to warn those who are lazy. Encourage those who are timid. Take tender care of those who are weak. Be patient with everyone. See that no one pays back evil for evil, but always try to do good to each other and to all people.’