I had a very important discussion with a young man today. He was playing football with some friends. Football is a contact sport, so there was a natural collision between players. The young man that I was talking with admits that it was a hard collision and he was banged up. He walked away with a sore knee and midsection. After the play, the two players were sitting in the bleachers when the other player made a disparaging remark. My friend wasn't sure what the remark was about but he didn't want to have any part in it. He stood up and walked away, more to show that he was fine, rather than to walk away from the taunting.
He didn’t understand why the other player had made the remark that he had. We discussed the reasons someone might say something hurtful to someone else. Maybe he was scared he had hurt you, maybe he was also feeling pain and didn’t want to admit it. Maybe he was afraid of what other people might say because he was tackled. As with most confrontations of this type, the maybe’s go on and on and the possibilities are endless. Then thing is, he probably didn’t know why he was doing it either.
When someone is taunting you, there is no reason to argue. Don't be drawn into an argument. Don't say potentially harmful things out of a place of confusion and fear. When someone verbally taunts you, averting a fight is the best move we can make. Whether we are on the playground, on the highway, out shopping, at work or at home. That person that cuts you off and then yells out their car window, that guy who always has something negative and nasty to say, the person who handles pressure badly and takes it out on those around them; you have seen it, maybe you have been them. Staying for a fight may feel like the best thing to do, but walking away is a wiser choice.
We should never be doormats either. Standing up for yourself in the face of conflict and adversity is also essential. Conflict and taunting are two different things. Knowing the difference is maturity. Having the character to walk away is sometimes bigger than anything that could ever be said with words.
Proverbs 20:3 MSG
"It’s a mark of good character to avert quarrels, but fools love to pick fights."