Top 10 Ways to Know that You are Passive Aggressive:
1. You use happy face emojis / emoticons in sentences that aren’t happy 🙂
2. You use “lol!” after an insult you don’t want to be taken as insulting. People who write “lol” after making a cloaked insult sure aren’t fooling anyone, lol!
3. You use “just sayin'” in any sentence, ever. Just sayin’.
4. You would leave your church without telling your pastor you are leaving (or why you are leaving)…(or you’d lie about why you’re leaving)…Seriously folks, we can handle it and in fact long for it so we can know how we can improve. I promise you it will make that awkward moment we run into each other at the Kroger dairy aisle much less awkward for both of us.
5. You unfriend people on Facebook as your solution to a conflict (hint: blocking me would be much more effective; then I won’t see your face along with “you share 25 mutual friends” in my suggested friends-to-add section the next time I open Facebook)
6. You use your Facebook posts to anonymously vent at someone who obviously knows you are talking about them. Yes, I knew you were talking about me…
7. You confront people via email or text rather than in person (hey it’s better than not confronting at all, right?)
8. When invited to participate in something, you simply don’t respond rather than saying ‘no’ (the “maybe” / “interested” button on Facebook Events is passive aggressive paradise!)
9. When asked a question, you give vague answers instead of speaking directly (this is also called “lying”)
Oh and #10, Writing a blog post about passive aggressiveness as a way of confronting people who have been passive aggressive toward you! Had to beat you to the punch in the comments section. I hope this one isn’t true of me, but you never know! I suppose if it is true, I’m only doing the favor of speaking in their preferred method of communication. In all honesty, I try to never blog “at” a specific individual. I’ve been accused of this in the past and I promise these connections are coincidental (or on a good day, maybe the Holy Spirit?).
In all seriousness, passive aggressiveness is a major stealth sin plaguing the American Church. We bash on overly aggressive people in sermons, but never talk much about passive aggressive folks (who are probably doing much more damage under the radar). I say ‘American’ because you’ll find many other countries where people are much more direct and find our passivity offensive and strange. I think this is a byproduct of our country’s superficial culture and in the church world, a result of the unlimited variety of local churches we have to shop from in America. The luxury of just hopping to a new church when conflict arises was simply not available to our 1st century brothers and sisters. (There was only one church in a town in the New Testament–no wonder so much of the New Testament is written toward getting along in the unity of Christ)
When you boil it down, passive aggressiveness is just a nice way to lie, a lesson we teach our toddlers not to do yet we are guilty of long into adulthood, we’ve just disguised it so we don’t have to deal with it.
I get it, you’d rather lie or avoid the issue than hurt someone’s feelings. But that’s still lying! And it certainly doesn’t help anyone or anything grow or mature–and in the Church, isn’t that what we are supposed to be about?
The roots of passive aggressiveness aren’t pretty: insecurity, fear, pride. The truth is, the Bible and Jesus are very anti-passive-aggressive.
Matthew 18:15-17 “If your brother or sister sins, go and point out their fault, just between the two of you. If they listen to you, you have won them over. But if they will not listen, take one or two others along, so that ‘every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.’ If they still refuse to listen, tell it to the church; and if they refuse to listen even to the church, treat them as you would a pagan or a tax collector.
…Pretty sure “go and point out” had nothing to do with texting or Facebook messages or emoticons, but instead had to do with this strange, ancient thing called sitting down with someone face-to-face and having a loving, respectful conversation.
Matthew 5:23-24 “Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother or sister has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to them; then come and offer your gift.
…If we actually applied Matthew 5:23-24, it’s doubtful most of us could ever attend church ever again.
Gal. 2:11-14 When Cephas (Peter) came to Antioch, I (Paul) opposed him to his face, because he stood condemned. For before certain men came from James, he used to eat with the Gentiles. But when they arrived, he began to draw back and separate himself from the Gentiles because he was afraid of those who belonged to the circumcision group.The other Jews joined him in his hypocrisy, so that by their hypocrisy even Barnabas was led astray. When I saw that they were not acting in line with the truth of the gospel, I said to Cephas in front of them all, “You are a Jew, yet you live like a Gentile and not like a Jew. How is it, then, that you force Gentiles to follow Jewish customs?
…I don’t think anyone could have accused Paul of being passive-aggressive! And imagine the repercussions if Paul felt it best to let Peter slide on this one.
Galatians 6:1-2 Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently. But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted. Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.
…Nobody should want sin around. Let’s talk through it and restore one another rather than lie about it, letting it fester and spread.
We lie about sin because we’re busy pretending like we don’t have any or we should be shocked to discover it. This is the opposite of a grace-saturated culture! Jesus showers us with his grace so we can shower one another with grace. But grace can never be given and healing can never happen when a wound isn’t exposed and treated.
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