The tirade was visible from a distance. I have no idea what he had done. I do know that his manager did not agree. His gestures and facial expressions were enough to clearly communicate the message. When one added his voice – volume, tone, and content – to the equation, it was clear that his anger was off the chart! The customers nearby were watching in amazement. I could not spot any expressions of anger on their faces or in their body stances. They appeared to be reacting much like I was – stunned and sympathetic to the person on the receiving end of the tirade.
I know what it is like to lose my temper. It has not happened in awhile, but I remember. I close my eyes and feel the overwhelming emotional energy that flooded my body and mind. I am struck by two lingering memories.
In moments of intense frustration, it seemed like I lost control. Something or someone was acting. It was not the Bill I know. I am not suggesting that I was not accountable for what I did. Rather, it is a candid admission that I had lost touch of the essence of what makes me who and what I am. This is never a good thing.
Additionally, I look back and wonder about the outcome of my actions. Did the person on the receiving end understand and learn from what I did? I doubt it. The emotional bruising alone would have dominated the moment. Was there an opportunity for change? Again, in the heat of the moment, any positive outcome was lost to the reality of the trauma that follows when one attacks another.
I had lost sight of the individual in the process. S/he is the one tasked with achieving a goal. After my actions, the task remains where it was before. Whatever opportunity to make things right while reaching for excellence has been made more difficult.
A wisdom point remains with us. “Be tender with sinners, but not soft on sin. The sin itself stinks to high heaven.” (Jude 1.23)