We all know people who are especially sensitive and susceptible to harm. There’s a wonderful term in civil law for these sorts of people: egg-shell plaintiffs. An egg-shell plaintiff is someone who is harmed more seriously by an action that other plaintiff’s might be. They’re like Humpty-Dumpty. If they fall off the wall, they’ll shatter into so many pieces that “all the king’s horses and all the king’s men” won’t be able to make them whole.
Humpty-Dumpty church members and Humpty-Dumpty coworkers are part of life in a broken and fallen world. In civil law the fact that you harm someone and they are harmed more by the action than most others would be, isn’t a defense. In other words, you cause the hurt (even if you feel it’s over the top) then you’re liable to make the person whole.
The same is true in the church and the workplace. Harm an egg-shell coworkers and its on you to make it up to them–even if you think their reaction is over the top. However, it pays to learn quickly and well who these people are.
And once you know, be careful. Make sure the spiritual leaders in your church are aware of who these folks are and develop and plan to intentionally care for them and prepare for the next time they fall off the wall.
At work, take a similar approach. Make sure to invest in your relationship with them so that next time they come off the rails you have a credit balance in the relational sphere.
It’s impossible to avoid Humpty-Dumpty, but she doesn’t have to ruin your day.