A Quick Recap
In a recent post, I talked about Dealing With Threats and Demands, and in that post, I wrote the following:
One of the big moments of last week was when I was threatened over a post I had written here on this blog. I was attacked for the truth I had written and was told in no uncertain terms that I should take it down, or else. I replied with something akin to,
“Nope. Ain’t gonna do it.”
The threatening person in question, up until that point, never actually approached me; the person simply tried to get word to me second hand. The person didn’t have the courage to address me directly, either by email, comment, text, Messenger, phone, pigeon, smoke signal, or telegram; they obviously felt safer using other people.
My accurate and factual post remains, in perpetuity, unchanged and unedited.
Then Came a Comment!
But then, like out of the blue – albeit the height from a dog’s tail would be more likely – a twisted, half-digested gift fell right into my lap! The person who made threats finally got up the gumption to submit a comment on this blog! Should I approve the comment? Should I take advantage of the opportunity to publically correct some wrongs?
Unfortunately, not only because of spelling and grammatical errors which might confuse a visiting reader (what is it with people who don’t even bother to use spellcheck?), the commenter’s accusations, although hilariously inaccurate, were too slanderous and risked divulging personal information and names that would embarrass or hurt innocent people. Therefore, as much as I wanted to allow the comment in order to publically address the person’s asinine deposit of verbal bovine excrement, prudence demanded otherwise and it remains in the “unapproved” file.
After all, it’s my blog; I can decide what’s allowed.
What Would You Do?
But imagine for a moment that you received a vulgar, vile, insulting, even threatening comment on your blog, Facebook page, Twitter account, etc. What if you were accused of spreading lies? What if you were accused of being party to unethical or criminal behavior, or worse?
Believe it or not, most veteran Christian bloggers have encountered that stuff with those who hate religion, think teaching your children about Jesus is child abuse, and insinuate everyone in ministry is up to no good, even dangerous. But what we’ve learned is that there’s a time to respond and there’s a time to walk away. Consider the following two proverbs:
Proverbs 26:4 – Answer not a fool according to his folly, lest thou also be like unto him.
Proverbs 26:5 – Answer a fool according to his folly, lest he be wise in his own conceit.
It’s a matter of context.
In Proverbs 26:5 what we see is a situation where a foolish person needs to be corrected, else he will go on thinking what he believes is the best thing since sliced bread. He needs to be put in his place by those who know what they’re talking about.
On the other hand, Proverbs 26:4 addresses a different situation, like one in which many Christian bloggers find themselves when debating antagonistic atheists. The atheist will constantly ask for proofs which they summarily declare invalid, intentionally push your buttons, misrepresent your beliefs, and ultimately try to humiliate you by causing you to act un-Christlike and lash out in anger. In these cases, it’s better to walk away and ignore or block the troll.
There are times to respond, like when you know it could make a difference. But there are other times when your accuser isn’t looking for common ground or a second opinion. Any response is equal to “casting your pearls before swine” (Matthew 7:6). Before long you’ll find yourself wallowing in the same stinky mud.
The Best Response
But let’s just say that a Cruella de Vil-like person (the Disney villain who had a thing for Dalmations) was your antagonist; hypothetically, of course. Cruel, evil, and devil-like (“if she doesn’t scare you, no evil thing will“), she enters the public square and demands you see things her way. She calls you names, insults your character and challenges you to prove she’s wrong. Do you respond in kind? Do you treat her with more disgust than the spotted dog skins around her neck?
It’s tempting, isn’t it? Yet, is she not created in the image of God. Is she not inherently valuable based on the precious blood of Christ that was shed to redeem her soul? If she’s real, not a cartoon character, then of course she is! So, despite however she may slander and misrepresent you, regardless of her depravity, God still loves her.
When we think of every person, including our enemies, as not only potentially lost souls facing an eternity in torment but souls Jesus came to save, it should soften our desire for vindication or revenge.
What if all the lies and attacks and smears were the result of a sick, bitter, and delusional mind incapable of rational understanding? Wouldn’t it just be best to stand down and let God handle it?
- “To me [belongeth] vengeance, and recompence; their foot shall slide in [due] time: for the day of their calamity [is] at hand, and the things that shall come upon them make haste.” – Deuteronomy 32:35
- “Therefore thus saith the LORD; Behold, I will plead thy cause, and take vengeance for thee; and I will dry up her sea, and make her springs dry.” – Jeremiah 51:36
- “Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but [rather] give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance [is] mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.” – Romans 12:19
Too often, in a fit of indignation and pride, we think it appropriate to defend ourselves and our character. The only problem is that if we are not careful … really, really careful … we rob God of the glory by denying Him the opportunity to come to the aid of His saints and we make ourselves look mean, petty, and spiteful.
When all we’ve done is try to love and help other people with the truth; when, to the best of our knowledge, nothing we’ve done or said (or written) contradicts Scripture or relevant facts; when decisions were made only after seeking advice and wise counsel; then give the job of defense to God; the Lord knows how to silence our enemies better than we do. He may even change them.
Until then, show kindness to the Cruella de Vils whenever you can, even if it means laughing them off and blocking them (that’s what I’m going to do). Who knows, maybe they will see how you avoided humiliating them in front of the whole world and say as King Saul did to young David:
“Who else would let his enemy get away when he had him in his power? May the LORD reward you well for the kindness you have shown me today.” – 1 Samuel 24:19 NLT
For the record, King Saul later fell on his own sword and tongues can be sharp. Just saying.