“The bigger they are”

In last week’s article, we looked at the value of negotiating for a win-win in the midst of personal conflicts.  Through today’s article and related Scriptures I hope to show that our personal loss may be the first step toward a relational win with others.

Consider the following discussion prompts.

  • In Matthew 5:38-48, the Lord says that personal retaliation is counter to living God’s love with others.  According to the context and specifics of this passage, how might even greater service to demanding people result in greater praise to God and help to them?
  • The book of Proverbs refers to a “man of understanding” twelve times (Proverbs 1:5, 10:23, 11:12, 14:6, 14:33, 15:21, 17:10, 17:27, 17:28, 19:25, 20:5, and 28:2).  Discuss the themes the potentially destructive power of anger, the need to listen beyond surface issues to heart issues, and the call to be gentle and strong at the same time.
  • Read any of the following Psalms:  10, 22, 49, 44, 74, or 79.  How do each of these prayers that are sometimes angry toward God end?  Study the flow of each psalmist’s prayer and discuss how God’s willingness to hear even our foolish anger can result in our repentance, trust, and continued obedience.
  • Read James 4:1-12.  When we are being verbally attacked, what would our humility and grace look like?  How might we submit ourselves to God, resist the devil, and not judge our neighbor without avoiding them?

Now consider this week’s article.


Global ransomware attack has made $49,000 – but the attackers will have a hard time claiming it 

“The Bigger They Are”, by Chaplain Jeff Dillard (16 May 2017)

As many of you know, there was another cyberattack this weekend. Rob Price of Business Insider captured some poetic justice of the incident. Given the vulnerable nature of some targets, “it wouldn’t be just the FBI coming after the attacker, but the NSA, GCHQ, New Zealand’s Government Communications Security Bureau, the Australian Signals Directorate, and Canada’s Communications Security Establishment… In other words, the WannaCry attack has, in a strange way, been too successful. Had it been just another moderately effective ransomware campaign, it might have flown under the radar. It certainly wouldn’t be receiving the global coverage this weekend’s attack has. But once it started forcing children’s ambulances to get redirected, it changed the game.” (http://www.businessinsider.com/wannacry-ransomware-attack-49000-3-bitcoin-wallets-2017-5) This reminds me of a basic principle employed by skilled martial artists and counselors: using the other person’s momentum to your advantage. That which seems most overwhelming may be most helpful.

Many of us perceive seemingly overwhelming attacks every day over the breakfast table, in an office teleconference, on first base in a community softball game, etc. Bodies tense, voices raise, and gestures become more animated. And, because it’s human nature to protect ourselves, we usually fight back, turn away, or wait it out. Any of those could protect us. But what if we encouraged them to keep coming at us in order to help them? That is counter-intuitive, but it is sometimes most helpful.

First, we need to understand than intense emotions – bad, mad, sad, or glad – are fueled by intense loves. I remember being a young teen and exploding on my Mom “because” she let me sleep in and my pancakes were too cold to melt my butter. Actually, I overslept her second reminder to get ready for the 5:30am bus ride to school. I valued control in my life, and I was scared I would miss the bus (a two-hour rural ride) and start a cascade of stresses for the rest of my day: Mom’s ire for having to reschedule her day to take me, the shame of a parent dropping me off, etc. Anger is easier because it focuses blame on others. Admitting fear or sadness is much harder, for both show personal needs.

Second, by remaining intellectually and emotionally vulnerable under attack, the other person is more likely to slow their mad monologue and begin to dialogue. Just as intelligence agencies may only ID the attackers if the attackers follow through, we may only identify the root concern of our “attackers” if they follow through. But the hormones that accompany intense emotion often make it difficult for any of us to get to the bottom line. So the more we can help them feel safe to talk with us, the more likely they are to express the real concern in time. For only then can we begin working a solution together.


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10435502_855049431182935_4536762765713190951_nUnless otherwise indicated, Jeff Dillard is the author of all posts in this blog, the goal of which is your greater joy in Christ through leadership and counseling.  Jeff and his wife, Lauren, have been married since 1995.  By God’s grace, they have four wonderful children and two grandchildren.  Jeff was ordained by the Presbyterian Church in America and commissioned as an Army Chaplain in 1998.  He has Master’s degrees in Divinity, History, and Counseling.  Since 1998, he’s had the privilege of equipping and encouraging others’ faith and service to the Lord Jesus by leading congregations and counseling in multicultural settings across the United States.  Seven of those years have been in Germany, Korea, and Iraq.  For leisure, Jeff enjoys simple time with his family, exercise, playing guitar and trumpet, and trying foreign foods with friends.

Please note that the contents of tools4trenches do not necessarily reflect specific beliefs or practices of organizations in which Jeff works or worships.

You can also follow Jeff on Facebook or Twitter.

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