Mercy or accountability?

Discussion in 'Family Forum' started by Braden, Aug 30, 2019.

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  1. Braden

    Braden Puritan Board Freshman

    My wife attended an appointment earlier today, which was necessary for us to get government assistance as students/her unemployed and seeking work.

    The assistance was approved, but my wife was berated by the receptionist for being 5 minutes late to the point of dissociation (she basically shut down and was no longer able to function. A kind of aware unconsciousness, or conscious absence).

    Apparently, according to a friend who was a witness, this was a real disproportionate freak-out by the receptionist, based on "what's going on in [the receptionist's] life right now".

    I don't know if:

    A) we show mercy, having received mercy
    B) I lodge an official complaint as my wife's protector
    C) I lodge an official complaint as a concerned member of the public, because this woman is working with vulnerable people.

    What's the best solution? Do I have an obligation to my wife? I'm conflicted.
  2. Dekybo

    Dekybo Puritan Board Freshman

    What are your wife’s thoughts on the matter?
  3. Scott Bushey

    Scott Bushey Puritanboard Commissioner

    I can almost guarantee that if she is a state employee, they will not do much for her poor behavior.
    Last edited: Aug 30, 2019
  4. Jeri Tanner

    Jeri Tanner Moderator Staff Member

    Mercy and accountability aren’t opposites. Lodge your complaint.
  5. Edward

    Edward Puritanboard Commissioner

    Several points to ponder:

    You weren't there, so all of your information is second or third hand. So you shouldn't be the one to do anything, because you don't really know what the exchange was like. (Although you should be applauded for being willing to stand up for your wife.)

    Next, what is your desired outcome? The easiest solution for this would be for the agency to put in a policy if someone isn't there for their appointment, it is cancelled and they are put at the end of the list to re-schedule. (If one wants something from someone, be it a job, assistance, or something else, one should be there at least 15 minutes early for the appointment). Would that have been a better outcome than life coaching from the receptionist?

    Finally, was an attempt made to contact the office to advise that the appointment couldn't be kept in a timely fashion? Did the interaction start with an apology to the receptionist?
  6. Pergamum

    Pergamum Ordinary Guy (TM)

    If she's done that to your wife, she may have down it to others. Lodge the complaint.
  7. Jack K

    Jack K Puritan Board Professor

    The default response for a Christian confounds the world: it is to show charity and surprising mercy to a person who is unkind to you. A Christian loves his enemies, even in response to hurtful actions.

    This doesn't necessarily mean you just let it go: Perhaps you will decide that the receptionist would actually benefit from a reprimand (though this seems a stretch). Or maybe you have good reasons, beyond empty speculation, to believe others are regularly being harmed by her and her superiors are unaware. Or maybe the harm done to your wife was so severe and damaging that pursuing justice is a necessary mercy to her. In such situations, your concern for others might cause you to make a report.

    But most typically, a person who reports something like this is doing so out of concern for himself or anger at being hurt. The very different, startling response from a Christian who feels such anger is to answer in love. It is difficult, but powerful.

    So ask yourself why you want to make a report. Are you sure it really is for the sake of others, or is it for yourself? Then follow the glorious path of laying down your own life out of love for others, whichever choice best accomplishes that.
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  8. A.Joseph

    A.Joseph Puritan Board Sophomore

    I work for the state on the developmental disability side. On occasion, I have assisted families on the low income/disability benefits side of the fence and have come close to getting into it with a fellow state worker (in another division). I think they are groomed to behave in that manner... let it go
    Last edited: Aug 30, 2019
  9. Braden

    Braden Puritan Board Freshman

    My apologies, let me clarify:

    I acknowledge that being late is wrong. But to get abusive over a late appointment to the point where you force a dissociative episode in the person you're dealing with is not a proportionate response.

    That's my angle.
  10. C. M. Sheffield

    C. M. Sheffield Puritan Board Senior

    Brother, the world can't be responsible for knowing what might set us off. There are many spiteful and mean people in the world. And there are kind and generous people in the world. And there are many more that fall somewhere in between these two extremes. And necessity requires that these very different people function together in the broader society for the good of all.

    It is likely the case that the woman who went off on your wife should learn to be more patient and understanding. But it is not likely that any action on your part is going to make that happen. It may also may be the case that your wife (notwithstanding her many admirable qualities) may need to grow a thicker skin and strive for greater resiliency in such situations.

    Husbands are indeed called to defend their wives against those who would abuse or harm them. But they cannot shield them from every unpleasant encounter they will have; nor should they. I would use such an opportunity to remind your wife of man's depravity, God's sovereignty, Christ's mercy, and her need to model it to the worst offenders.

    For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps: Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth: Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously: Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed. For ye were as sheep going astray; but are now returned unto the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls.—1 Peter 2:21-25
    Last edited: Aug 31, 2019
  11. Chad Hutson

    Chad Hutson Puritan Board Freshman

    My concern would be for my wife and why she is "dissociative" as a result of a verbal confrontation. Why should we expect better from a godless world? Why let someone who is obviously miserable make you miserable as well? Not to sound harsh, but have some perspective. There are kids dying of cancer, Christians are being imprisoned and persecuted, and so many more tragic and/or wicked situations in the world. We live in a fallen world that is under the sway of the enemy of our souls, why should we expect to be treated fairly, properly, or as we would like to be. John 16:33 "in the world you will have tribulation."
  12. Kinghezy

    Kinghezy Puritan Board Freshman

    Avoiding repeating post 5, 7, 8, 11, and 12.

    Let's highlight this. We don't know what is going on with the receptionist, but you have already been clued in that there is something. Did a family member die this week? Did she recently receive a cancer diagnosis? You could give her the benefit of the doubt on this, and move on.

    I think you may have missed @Dekybo question to you.
  13. Edward

    Edward Puritanboard Commissioner

    I wasn't there, so I don't have personal knowledge of the details of the exchange. But if I understand your post, you weren't there either, and thus don't have personal knowledge of the details of the exchange. If someone submits a complaint, it should be done by one of the two people where there. Now, if you want to draft something up based on your understanding, fine, but the person who signs it needs to verify the details and be willing to stand behind it. Is your wife willing to go through the stress of a full administrative process (and perhaps litigation) if it comes to that? Testify under oath and possibly face cross examination? If she can't take a chewing out from a receptionist, what do you think the results would be if she faced an aggressive lawyer while on a witness stand?

    Now, the receptionist's bosses could think one of two things about her. First, they could think that she is a problem and would welcome additional ammunition to try to get rid of her. Or second, they could view her as their first line of defense against the clients they have to deal with on a daily basis. (See @A.Joseph 's post above). You got what you wanted. But if you mess with a valuable member of the team, things can happen in a bureaucracy. Flagged for review, a computer input error that may take months to straighten out. Are you sure you want to, in the words of the old saying, "fight city hall"?

    Finally, my suggestion would be that you instead focus on your wife's mental state.
  14. Jeri Tanner

    Jeri Tanner Moderator Staff Member

    A complaint doesn’t have to be all that! Just a note to whoever is in charge telling them about the incident- not asking for or really even expecting that anything at all will be done. And the note should be informal and and in a Christian spirit. I agree Braden that since you weren’t there (which I hadn’t caught when I posted) the note should be from your wife. And I don’t think you’re under any obligation to do anything at all about it but chalk it up to bad acting and let it go.
  15. OPC'n

    OPC'n Puritan Board Doctor

    Was the friend the receptionist’s friend or your wife’s?
  16. Edward

    Edward Puritanboard Commissioner

    At that point, it is just venting. Before one complains, one should already have in mind the desired result.
  17. Jeri Tanner

    Jeri Tanner Moderator Staff Member

    Well, maybe so. In my thinking the desired result wasn’t punishment of any kind, just letting them know their employee behaved wrong. In the hope that maybe the employee would be spoken to and not do it again, or at least for a while. Spare some other poor soul the chewing out.
  18. Edward

    Edward Puritanboard Commissioner

    Then the letter should have something like. "I request that the employee be counseled and given additional training on interacting with the public."
  19. Jeri Tanner

    Jeri Tanner Moderator Staff Member

    Good enough.
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