THREATS OFTEN BACKFIRE - The Warrior's Journey®


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On July 1, 2021, a story made the news about two Florida men who caught more than fish with their fishing poles. They caught a bolt of lightning – and survived.

Sam Buduris and Marlon Munoz were fishing on the Caloosahatchee River, near Fort Meyers. As a storm approached them, the two decided it was time to pack up their equipment and head home. They placed their fishing poles in holders and cranked up their engines.

But before they got going, even before it began to rain, a bolt of lightning struck one of their poles. The lightning damaged their boat, knocked out all its electronics, and killed the engines. But the fortunate fishermen were unharmed.

Eventually, Sam Buduris was able to start one of the engines. But it could only run at minimum power and propel the boat about 3 MPH. The lesson Sam learned? In his own words, “When a storm’s around, put the fishing poles down.”

This is not an isolated incident. Fishing poles often serve as lightning rods during electrical storms. This is especially true on a body of water, where anglers and their fishing poles are the tallest things around.

Fishing poles can certainly catch more than fish. They can catch some serious trouble. A fishing pole enables an angler to hunt fish. But it might also make him “the hunted” – by lightning.

This has a parallel in human behavior. The hunter can become the hunted. A person with a gun poses a threat to others and is therefore more likely to be gunned down himself. A big and bad hombre can be in more danger than the meek and mild individual – simply because he is perceived as a threat by others. Therefore, others will scheme against him. And even though he’s more powerful than they are, they’ll conspire together to bring him down.

It’s true that kindness and congeniality are perceived by narcissists, sociopaths, and psychopaths as weaknesses to be exploited. But be beware of always making a show of force as a defense. A show of force may very well trigger resistance from others. Far from making people cower, a show of force will incite hostility because it’s perceived as a threat. And threats will just as easily evoke a “fight” as they will a “flight.”

Even in the Bible we can find examples of how a show of force and bravado backfired. Rehoboam’s harsh and threatening answer to the ten northern tribes of Israel only evoked rebellion and lost him the kingdom (1 Kings 12:1-19). And when Israel made a show of force before the tribe of Benjamin, haughtily demanding justice, what was Benjamin’s response? Benjamin didn’t cower. They fought fiercely, resulting in a bloody and costly civil war (Judges 19-20).

We would all do well to heed Solomon’s wise counsel:  “A kind answer turns away wrath, but harsh words only stir up anger” (Proverbs 15:1). Sure, there are plenty of abusive jerks out there. But they’re greatly outnumbered by good and kind-hearted people. These will value your kindness and reciprocate with their own. And chances are, they’re probably hurting and yearn for a little kindness and friendship.

So put down those defenses and stop that show of force. Save your “big guns” for the people who warrant it – the jerks, the narcissists, and the psychopaths. But lavish love and kindness on those who need it most.


PRAYER:  Lord make me an instrument of your peace. Where there is hatred let me sow love, where there is injury, pardon; where there is doubt, faith; where there is despair, hope; where there is darkness, light;
and where there is sadness, joy.


O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console, to be understood as to understand, to be loved as to love. For it is in giving that we receive, it is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
And it is in dying that we are born to eternal life. Amen. (St. Francis of Assisi)


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