My wife can always tell if I like the taste of something by looking at my face. If I am given something I don’t care for my face will surely frown and she will say, “I know you don’t like this.” In most cases she is correct.

Not only does she judge my reactions to taste by my facial expressions she can also read my expressions concerning situations involving people. It must be because we have been married over 40 years and she has studied me or been around me enough to know what I care for and don’t care for.

I often wonder if people I do not know can judge my reactions as well. If they do, then I may be in a world of trouble.

Having to deal with the public was my primary responsibility when I was publisher of a newspaper. There were many instances when I came in contact with people that were angry, obnoxious, belligerent, and just down right mean. They came to me and was going to have their say and I was going to sit there and listen to them rant and rave. For the most part these people were few and far between because most people want to be treated the way they treat you.

I am amazed that the people wanting to rant and rave would generally settle down after they had their say. When all of the bickering was aside we usually had a civil conversation and worked out their problem, which usually wasn’t as big a deal as they thought it was.

When you are confronted with people that are belligerent to you, how do you act? Do you retaliate or do you simply listen and let them complain? I have found that many times a soft, gentle, friendly voice will calm the situation. When someone came into my office and I knew beforehand they were upset, I offered them a cup of coffee, soda, or bottled water. I would ask them to sit and then begin our conversation.  Doing this seemed to take the edge off of their uneasiness.

Please don’t misunderstand, this doesn’t work for everyone. Some people are there to take out their frustrations and they weren’t leaving until they told me about them, which was okay, because it was my job to insure that all was correct and handled properly. Even though I listened to them I often wondered what my facial responses were. People can usually be judged by their mannerisms or how they move or sit in their chair.

These were always prayerful concerns for me. After the person would leave I would silently pray for them and me, hoping I made the right choice. Very few times did anyone ever leave the office upset.

How do your actions render your thoughts? Are you quick to jump on someone that has come at you with words you don’t care for? Are you a person of tolerance and one that will listen before acting?

I pray that you are because so many conflicts can be avoided if only one person will respond with gentle actions, kindness, and listen.

Prayer: Thank you Lord for the many years you gave me in newspaper management. I pray that I served you well and will continue serving you until the day you call me home. Amen.

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