My dear “Ku-Ju-Chi-fu-fees”,
You’re into the swinging 20s. Congrats! But…
In the blink of an eye, you have pocketed two earthly decades and are launching yourselves into your third. Congrats!
Now’s a good time to talk to you about human relationships. But rather than texting you like we always do, I thought I’d write you an email instead. (What’s that Jae? You calling your dad old?!)
I also wanted to wait til Caleb turned 20 before I wrote, as you’d both be older and can better fathom what I have to say. And I hope after reading these series of emails (starting with this one), you’ll keep them with you always, and re-read them again and again.
[That’s right. I’ll be writing you 11 more of these in the coming weeks and months!]
You see, I wish your grandpa had told me these truths I’m about to share when I was entering adulthood and the working world. It would have saved me a lot of grief as I navigated the labyrinthine complexity that is Human Relations these past 40-odd years.
But here’s hoping my loss is now your gain.
…beware “The Toxic 12”!
As I turn 61 this year, I can confidently say that I’ve seen the depths of depravity the human heart is capable of. No, I’m not referring to murderers and terrorists. Those are too obvious, and thank God most of us aren’t likely to have any direct contact with them in our lifetime.
Who you DO need to beware of in your day-to-day encounters though, are those who aren’t particularly ‘dangerous’, at least not initially, but who will over time, suck the very bone marrow out of your life and spirit, rendering you confused, disillusioned, broken and bitter, especially if you spend any extended length of time with them.
Which is why I refer to them as “The Toxic 12“.
Take careful note as I describe these diabolical dozen, and keep a lookout for them as you meet different people in your path of life. As far as possible, never engage these folks directly. My advice is that as far as possible, steer clear and move quickly away from them!
These top my “Toxic 12” list because they also topped the list for Jesus.
In His ministry, these are the only ones who cause Him to ‘lose it’ and ‘tear into them’. And you guys know by now how gentle Jesus was right? (All those years of nightly devotion, reading of Bible verses, and prayer when you were kids had better pay off now!)
So, for Jesus to reserve His harshest words for these folks, you know they are the worst. (Re-read Matthew 15 to refresh your memory)
Now while I’m sure I needn’t tell you what’s the meaning of a hypocrite, you do need to know that as you enter adulthood and the working world, these are the ones most difficult to detect when first you meet them. Cos by the time they reach adulthood, they would have honed their craft of hypocrisy to perfection.
They are usually in appearance the most unassuming, even kind. They always have a ready smile, and never lack the right thing to say at the right time and place.
But make no mistake, watch cautiously over a period of time, and their true colours will eventually emerge. It’s like how we identify a tree – by its fruit. Which as you know, takes time to bear.
What you need to look out for is how their actions and words tally. Ask yourself the following:
- Do they practise what they preach?
- Do they change their tune or behaviour depending on who they’re with?
- Do they say one thing to you but something different to someone else?
- In the workplace, do they talk bad about someone behind their backs, yet sing praises of them when face-to-face?
- Do they insist people should adhere to certain rules and regulations, yet bend/break those very same rules and regulations themselves?
The sad truth is…
Hypocrites lack something core to interrelationships among people: integrity. And as I have told you both many times, integrity is who you are when you think no one’s looking. Take it from your old man (yes Jae, if I call myself old that’s fine), being upright and staying true to what you profess is far less tiring than keeping your lies consistent; something hypocrites have to maintain their whole lives!
You must understand that many in the toxic list, especially hypocrites, probably had challenging childhoods. They were likely raised up among toxic family members who helped shaped who they are now.
If you do end up getting entangled with hypocrites, try to bear this point in mind, and show compassion if you can. But never to the point where you fall prey to their lying ways ya?
As I said, the best is to keep a distance and steer clear.
In my next letter, I’ll talk about the second group of toxic people: the “Perfect People“
Oops, I hear your mom calling, so gotta go. See you both soon!