Ok, I’m not a jerk. Or at least I don’t think I am. But I am absolutely sure that there is a little jerk that lives somewhere inside of me because it so easily comes out. I need to put that thing on a leash. Let me tell you why.
I walked into a meeting with a good friend the other day: a young pastor who has been doing great things and had asked me to mentor and walk alongside him. On the table set a book whose title I knew and whose author I knew all too well. He looked at me with a smile, pointed to the book, and said, “Have you seen this book?” And my little inner jerk took over from there and without a pause said, “Yeah I know this book and I know the jerk who wrote it. I know exactly what kind of person he is and I have no respect for him or the book.” I could see the smile and the air go out of my buddy.
I walked on in and got my coffee and came back out and the book was gone. As we continued our conversation about our designated agenda I asked, “What are you going to do with the book?” And he said, “Take it back.” I said, “No, no, don’t do that. You may love it. Don’t let my contrariness… and I explained why I held the opinion that I do, and did, and probably will for awhile.” He explained that he had bought the book for me and his dilemma was that he signed it. Well, guess how tall I felt. Pretty small.
I finally convinced him to give me the book, apologized for my outburst, for letting my little jerk off it’s leash, and I learned a valuable lesson. Each one of us can wound someone who, in the effort to honor us and love us feels like they have failed. When someone tries to do something nice for you, no matter what it is, whether you want the gift or you think it has any value, make it a big deal. Put your little jerk on a leash and make your friend feel appreciated.