On Being Cheerful in the Face of Stupid-Heads

Ok, so “stupid-head” may not be the most charitable descriptor, but the point is: sometimes other people say or do things that hurt us or, at the very least, make us angry.

Of course, we have all heard that the Christian thing to do is to “turn the other cheek,” “forgive and forget,” and other clichés.  We also know that Scripture tells us that we ought not be surprised at trials and hardships—and that we especially shouldn’t be surprised at insults and persecutions that come as a result of our preaching the Gospel.  Jesus told us plainly, “If they persecuted me, they will persecute you” (John 15:20).

But knowing all of that doesn’t always make it easy to handle when you’re just going about your business, being who you are and, all of a sudden, someone calls you fat and ugly for simply suggesting that bikinis may not be the most modest of swim attire (Speaking in strictly hypothetical terms, of course 🙂 ).

Not that I’m trying to make myself into some prophet or martyr being persecuted “for righteousness’ sake,” it’s just that dealing with rude remarks and hurt feelings is part of the deal in life—for all of us.

My mother, if she weren’t the holy and kind woman that she is, would be the first to tell you that I have a fuse about the size of thumbtack.  I have most definitely been on the stupid-headed end of an exchange on more occasions than I wish to admit.  But here’s the thing about stupid-headedness: when there are two bullies in the conversation, the finger can easily be pointed at either one as being the bad guy.  When there’s only one, no finger needs to be pointed.  It’s plain as day who the stupid-head is, as well as who is the one being unfairly bullied.

All that this means is that we need to rise above.  We can’t engage in name-calling, heavy doses of sarcasm, or any other kind of verbal abuse even if it’s being thrown in our face (and it should go without saying that under no circumstances should we be the one to initiate conversations in any such manner).  It’s never going to be an effective means of evangelization if these elements are present, and our entire life is meant to be a witness to Jesus Christ.

It doesn’t mean we have to be so serious in discussions and/or play the wounded puppy if other people are mean to us.  It actually means just the opposite.  Stupid-headedness doesn’t know how to react to cheerfulness.  It expects the sarcastic reply or the insult hurled back at it.  It gets caught off-guard when we have the courage to not take ourselves so seriously as to get offended at every rebuke.  We know who we are: we are God’s children—who can be against us?

And of course, you always have the option to respectfully walk away from a conversation from a bully that simply has made it his or her goal to demoralize you.

Subscribe to CE
(It's free)

Go to Catholic Exchange homepage