I once had a guy come into my office. He was pretty negative and he was very combative in his conversation. I did my best to keep my temper, because it certainly seemed like he was trying to goad me into an argument. Our relationship had normally been very cordial and as far as I understood we had a good bond. I did know he did not like the military very much. On this occasion he spewed an assortment of anti-military rhetoric. It was really over the top. Although he seemed to be trying to provoke me, I didn’t bite.
After his visit, I spoke with a counselor trying to understand what had happened and to formulate an appropriate response. I felt I needed to have a crucial conversation with him to clear the air and reestablish appropriate boundaries in our relationship. I mentioned to the counselor that I knew that in the past this individual had suffered from some type of mental illness. When the counselor heard that, he said, “Don’t argue with crazy people.” It was good advice. This was not a battle that I needed to fight. It was fruitless to do so. I just needed to let it go.
I have another friend who argues for any perceived slight; everything is a fight. He badgers waiters and waitresses, medical professionals, lawyers or anyone who in any way has not met his own personal standards. It is all about him. Needless to say, he doesn’t have many friends. He’s had several failed marriages. People avoid him like the plague. He can’t let anything go.
When it comes to life, I have learned that you have to choose your battles wisely. Everything isn’t worth a fight. Some things you just have to let go. That is hard for me. I’m very competitive. It’s hard to let a challenge just pass me by. But, everything is not worth a fight. This has been a lifetime learning process for me. Earlier in life, like my friend, I’d battle for everything. I’m sure people must have tired of my constant combativeness.
In the long run, what is important in life is people. They are made in the image of God. He loves people. When I battled for everything, it didn’t foster good relationships and didn’t get accomplished what I wanted to get accomplished. It didn’t value others because it became all about me. I probably could have gotten a lot more done by treating people with love and respect. I think that’s what Jesus was getting at when he said, Matthew 7:12 (Phillips) “Treat other people exactly as you would like to be treated by them – this is the essence of all true religion.”
Don’t argue with crazy people. Let it go!