Growing up in East Texas a lot of older folks in the cotton fields would tell me that a person needs to develop some thick skin if they’re gonna make it through this life. I tried to follow their admonition and learn to let it roll off my back as troubles made their appearance. Sometimes it worked, sometimes not.
Unfortunately, from the next door neighbor to the Middle East, not many folks seem willing to let conflict roll off our backs. It’s hard to pinpoint when it started or why it’s getting worse. It may consist of a big part of a city under siege from agitators to neighbors coming to blows over tree trimming. People reach across burger counters angry at poor service or no pickles on a sandwich. Deranged drivers intentionally veer into parades of people as they suffer from some slight by another person. A fired employee returns to work to kill several former fellow employees to exact rage on his former bosses. One girl sucker punches another at a basketball game; one father punches a youth referee for a supposedly bad call.
It appears the whole world is suffering a bad case of thin skin. An accumulation of perceived hurts drive the divorce rate close to 50%. Turnover on jobs climbs as people seek to find that perfect work climate where everyone is kind and forgiving. Jobs go begging as potential employees refuse to enter the work force or work a short time and depart again.
Who knows the cause of it all. Used to, we knew old Joe had his quirks and annoying habits at work, but we let it slide and did our best to get along. Today people don’t seem as inclined to overlook and forgive annoying fellow workers. They file grievances and lawsuits on people who offend them. Seems like pressure is coming from all directions. Work environments seem to be more toxic. Economic pressures in all areas of our lives seem to help shorten our fuse. Constant change in our schools, churches, and homes tend to make us feel anxious and unsettled. Peace of mind grows harder to find. Instability reigns as old standards fall to the wayside. Everything is harder. Seems like nothing can be taken for granted. Spiritual importance in our lives seems to have declined according to national polls.
Around the world more countries feel free to threaten or attack neighbors. Turmoil within countries erupts as one group tries to dominate another. No one seems to be willing to forgive and forget. Countries spy on one another increasing the threat of possible invasion leading to world-wide conflict.
Some people tell us that as more people revert to living on their phones and social media, they are losing contact with real people. We’re forgetting or never learned the skills of interpersonal relationships and how to deal individually with fellow workers and classmates. We demand our way rather than trying to find a peaceful resolution.
It may be that our once strong nation has fallen into decline and encouraged all the forces of darkness to attack us and our way of life. It seems that evil forces want to divide our world so that it can be more easily controlled and destroyed as we know it now. These growing days of anxiety and increased fearfulness may be telling us that it’s time to look outside ourselves and seek help from higher powers to once again help establish stability and normalcy to what is becoming an unstable mess.
By Dr. Juan Harrison