Some might think I live in a bubble because I’ve homeschooled my kids for the last 5 years…they’d be wrong. For the first 18 years of my life, I attended public schools. I also worked in the “real world” as a waitress for many years and later as a receptionist, Administrative Assistant and Business Sales Rep. During those years, I made friends with all sorts – gay and straight, Mormon, Jehovah Witness, Muslim, Buddhist, Atheist and every denomination from Charismatic to Fundamentalist to Methodist and Presbyterian.
I sincerely enjoy people and anyone who is kind to me, I quickly adopt as a friend.
I have never been shy about my faith - 100% of those I listed above, I discussed faith with and probably 25% of them I gave a Bible to as a gift.
And never – never once was I ever called intolerant, judgmental or a hater. Why?
Because when we are able to get to know people in real life –real flesh and blood, we are able to know a person’s heart, accept them as they are and understand differences without getting angry.
But the on-line world is a whole.different.story!
Did you know that 7% of our communication is words, 38% is through vocal tones and 55% through NON-VERBAL elements like facial expressions, gestures and posture.
This means that when we discuss “hot topics” on-line, 93% of our heart as we communicate (the non-verbals) are missing.
I believe this gets Christians into hot water – FAST!
A 140 character tweet that contains “truth” as we call it - can sound judgmental or hateful to someone who sees you as…judgmental or hateful.
A Facebook debate where we add our 2 cents, in the most gracious way we can, can come off as intolerant.
It is incredibly hard to speak “truth in love” on-line! This is why I’m continually putting hearts and smiley faces all over my social media. It is my attempt to give some non-verbal love.
Before I share how I handle these labels, I want to share some of what I have faced on-line. I have received hundreds of comments and emails with insults. The first time it happened, I was devastated…it was five and a half years ago on a post about my daughter and this woman commented and said ~ “I hope your daughter becomes an atheist and never speaks to you again.”
Total shock! I only had about 50 followers at the time and it came so out of left field that it troubled me for weeks!
But as my blog grew – the volume of insults grew too. With each new insult, I was a little less shocked.
Here’s an example of some negative comments I have received on my Women Living Well Youtube Channel:
- I hate you. You need to be slapped, promoting these erroneous morals that destroy progression in our modern world.
- Keep this in mind: You make the world a worse place. You are the reason for war. You are the reason for violence. You are the reason for all of the willful ignorance in the world. YOU are the cause of EVERYTHING evil involving gender equality. YOU.
- How sad that you treat a book that has been rewritten and proven false to be absolute truth. I feel pity that you will never know real life by throwing it away. Stupid doesn’t begin to cover your retarded beliefs. Here’s hoping you grow a brain and are unable to have children to grow up into this self-destroying dogma.
- Cuckoo! Cuckoo!
- You are a foolish woman!!!
- It’s preposterous to claim you follow God’s word literally. You follow what your warped surroundings have ingrained in your twisted mind.
- Crazy that my post didn’t make it! Can’t deal with the true contradictions of your flawed bible, you ignorant creature?
- You’re an idiot bigot.
- You want to brain-wash your kids into your silly myth and keep them from the truth.
- I find you Highly annoying and egregiously idealistic…I am pretty sure you are no Provebs 31 woman, and everything you claim that is so amazing to you is actually so far from reach and unattainable that your constant lust for perfection causes you severe emotional break downs.
- God’s word? What bull sh**! What the f*** would you know what god wants?
- this is retarded. , F*** your ideas , F*** your literal bible translation, and F*** you.
And just last week – I got a long ranting email – this is a short excerpt:
You are so fake and obnoxious in your videos. Your over-sized fake smile with your giant gums is so annoying that I’ve stopped watching your videos entirely.
For years, this has surrounded me – at times, I’d say it has even jaded me. I have always been one to assume the good in others…but I’ll admit, I see things differently now. I live in the midst of spiritual warfare everyday.
I used to speak more boldly…and I thought that maybe my choice to soften a bit was maturity…but now I realize it’s not maturity – it’s fear. I have a lot of fear inside of me.
And I have cried out to God – how in the world do I respond to these people?
Luke 6:27-36 (NIV)
Love your Enemies
27 “But to you who are listening I say: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, 28 bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. 29 If someone slaps you on one cheek, turn to them the other also. If someone takes your coat, do not withhold your shirt from them. 30 Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back. 31 Do to others as you would have them do to you.
32 “If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners love those who love them. 33 And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners do that. 34 And if you lend to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, expecting to be repaid in full. 35 But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. 36 Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.
We follow a crucified man…the crowds hated Jesus to the point of death –of course we’re going to be labeled and insulted.
Being a follower of Christ means…
we must humble ourselves.(Philippians 2)
we must deny ourselves. (Luke 9:23)
we must live the crucified life. (Galatians 2:20)
“I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” Galatians 2:20
***Pause for a moment…is there a person that God is bringing to mind that you need to extend mercy to? This person has wrongfully labeled you, either in real life or on-line, and you are hurt, angry and have shut them out.
Be kinder than you feel.
Luke 6:35 says – “your reward will be great” if you extend mercy.
I have a feeling the Holy Spirit is bringing someone to mind for all of us. Do you feel that nudge? Don’t ignore it!
We have a direct command from Jesus –”Pray for those who mistreat you.”
Go heap kindness on them! You will be blessed!
“If your enemy is hungry, feed him;
if he is thirsty, give him something to drink.
In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.
Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”
Walk with the King,
The other posts in this series:
Speaking the Truth In Love
The Authority of Scripture and 5 Ways to Defend Truth
The Ultimate Cultural Sin –Intolerance
How to Respond to the Labels – Intolerant, Judgmental, and Hater
What is Sound Doctrine?
Should Christians Simply Unite Around the Gospel?
Can a Woman Be an Elder or Pastor?
Should a Wife Submit To Her Husband?
Can Good Works Save You?
Wolves in Sheep’s Clothing