The post infuriated me.
I can’t remember exactly what is was about, but I know how it made me feel about this man who wrote it: what a jerk! How dare he! He called me a what??? He said I would burn forever in where?? Of all the . . . Who does he think he is? How dare he call his website a “ministry!”
I vented to my friends. I vented to my wife. I vented on Facebook.
I finally vented on the blog’s comment roll. I let out my frustration at his closed-mindedness, bigotry, false logic, and unscriptural nonsense . . . by doing what came naturally (all too easily!): quoting my own chapter-and-verse.
Equally nonsensical a thing to do.
What did I expect would happen? Did I think the person concerned would see my reasonable argument and change his entire way of thinking, realign his worldview with mine? Did I expect gratitude for showing him the right path?
“Thank you so much for caring about me so as to show me the way of truth and correct my errant thinking.”
Whatever I may have expected, I got back exactly what I put in–more verses, more quotes, more illogical reasoning, ad nauseam.
I realised soon that I was never going to convince him, and he had absolutely no chance of winning me over to his way of thinking.
The hardest decision I made that day was when I decided to leave his last vitriolic comment hanging without a reply. (How I wanted to slam him one more time!) I metaphorically washed my hands of him and moved on.
I haven’t heard a word of him, from him, or about him since.
What did he hope to gain? Repentance? Conversion? Freedom from some ill-founded idea of spiritual accountability for my soul? A fight?
No. I think it’s far simpler than that. It’s what most folks who rave on and on in social media, who write reams of hateful and unreasonable comments on blogs, and who call in for a rant on any radio talk back show are seeking:
People want to think what they say is important, what matters, what people need. Sometimes I think this is their way of unloading all the crap from their life–it’s sort of like cheap therapy.
All they want is to feel validated.
And so they post this twaddle on the Internet hoping they can find like-minded individual who will say “You’re so right!” and this will validate their truth, encourage them, and acknowledge their value.
And people like me will validate their truth because nothing says “You’re so right” as loudly as someone who is clearly sent straight from hell telling you that you’re a basket case and have no idea what truth is. Many with this mindset regard response like mine as persecution and proof that they are on God’s side.
Because we all know Jesus told his disciples that they were to rejoice when they are persecuted to righteousness’ sake.
As long as there is a platform to do so, there will be people who will seek to be heard. In their ignorance, they will say things that are spiteful, untrue and sometimes hurtful.
In the spirit of goodwill, we must choose to walk away. They have been heard. Maybe one day they may choose to listen, they may decide to open their eyes and mind, and they may understand more fully the truth that has for so long been right in front of them.
Perhaps I will, too, someday in the future, see things more clearly and walk in a new direction.
After all, we all only see a small part of the awesome mystery which is called Truth.