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When Someone Yells at You

Long ago, in one of my summer jobs during high school, I worked for a local construction company. One day, my foreman ordered me to drive an old dump truck into a nearby town and fill the huge water tank mounted on the back from a fire hydrant. I had never operated a fire hydrant, had never driven a truck that size, and I only had learner’s license at that point. But, one thing I had learned was not to argue with my foreman. So, I hopped in and took off.

Arriving back at the work site, I was driving along on the wrong side of the road. Relax! That’s where I was supposed to be. Our crew was paving one of the lanes so it was closed. I was fine until I met a car driving on the right side of the road. That meant that we were meeting head on. Fortunately, we were both going slowly and had no problem stopping.

The problem came when I needed to back that huge truck down half a mile of narrow one lane. That’s when the man driving the other car started yelling. Loudly! He was screaming and waving his arms. So, I stopped.

I stopped, I soon learned, just a few inches from rolling my rear wheels over the edge of a 10 foot drop into a small creek. I was already off the pavement and had half a tire hanging in thin air.

Sometimes, we need to listen to the shouting. It might be wisdom calling to us. Solomon wrote long ago, “Wisdom calls aloud in the street, she raises her voice in the public squares; at the head of the noisy streets she cries out, in the gateways of the city she makes her speech” (Proverbs 1:20).

Why would wisdom need to raise her voice? Why shout at us? Maybe it’s because sometimes that’s the only way to get us to listen.

Not all shouting is wisdom. Sometimes it’s just anger. Or jealousy. But, sometimes it really is wisdom. We have to discern the difference. That requires that we listen long enough to weigh what is being shouted.

A stranger yelled at me. Because I listened, he saved me from a crash (and unemployment). Next time someone raises a voice at you, pause and, instead of yelling back, listen, and consider. It just might be wisdom calling.


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