I was recently cyber bullied. At least I guess that’s what it’s called now a days. I would just call it meanness. Yep. It was flat-out mean. I suppose this is one of the (many) negative aspects of social media. Don’t get me wrong, I love social media. Twitter, Facebook, blogs, etc. I love it all and use it all. I won’t get into the details of who bullied me or what they said, but I will say it was unprovoked, untrue and very, very nasty. This post really isn’t about how to be a good citizen on Facebook, although that would certainly be a worthy and helpful discussion. I want to talk about how we respond when faced with mean people. Whether online or in person. Does our own mean girl or mean guy rise up?
A few weeks before this happened to me, I was reading a Facebook post about one of my favorite authors and bible study teachers. This woman has changed my life with what she has written and spoken from the Word of God. She is a hero in the faith to me, one of the most important role models I have had. This particular post was to promote an upcoming event she was going to be at. There were hundreds of comments about this woman and 97% per positive and uplifting. But there was a small percentage of really unkind people saying some really unkind things about her. To use a term that’s popular these days, there were some haters. Right in that moment as I was reading all those comments, the Lord spoke to me and said that the day will come that I will experience similar personal attacks. And then He asked me how I will handle it when it comes. I quickly responded that I would be kind and loving and holy and forgiving, of course! And then without a second thought I moved on to the next post in my newsfeed, which was probably a recipe for how to make the world’s best BBQ ribs in my slow cooker, or something equally unimportant. Little did I know the same thing was going to happen to me, and very soon.
I was face to face with it. It was my turn to have my character assaulted. My turn to be lied about. There were a million thoughts that went through my mind in a very short span of time. I’ll admit, a few were unholy. But I had a choice to make. Once I gained my composure, which thankfully didn’t take nearly as long as it would have in my younger days, I knew one thing. I did not want to join this person in their ungodly behavior. Did I have the right to respond with equal venom? Yes. Yes. Yes. But if I claim to love God, I need to do what He tells me to do (1 John 2:4). And, to put it very simply, he tells me to be a nice person! To be kind and loving and to speak gently and to take the high road. Here’s the thing. It’s more important to me to be a good witness for Christ and to make sure He is proud of me rather than retaliate and put that person in their place with words that match or even top theirs.
So I shut it down. I shut down the conversation. I did respond, because nowhere in the bible does it say that we have to be someone’s doormat. I was kind and I was respectful. And that was the end of it. I shut it down. The devil would have loved nothing more than for me to start a ping pong match with this person. It was bait on a hook that I refused to bite.
It could be really easy to let something like that to ruin my whole day. Or week. Or maybe even longer. But because I knew that I responded the right way, I was able to shake it off. You see, if I had mishandled it, I would have kept replaying it over and over because I would not have been peaceful about it. But thanks to a good knowledge of the bible, I know who I am in Christ, I know how to handle mean people, and I know how to not let a mean person rule my emotions. I am thankful I have Him in my life to guide me and comfort me. To tell me when to shut it down and how to shake it off.
I have come to a place in my life that the only approval or applause that I need in my life comes from heaven. Nowhere else. If God is not ashamed of me, I don’t have to be ashamed of me. If he is pleased with what I do and what I say, that’s all that really matters. In the words of the very wise country singer Taylor Swift (grin), players gonna play, haters gonna hate, heartbreakers gonna break and fakers gonna fake.
But I’m just gonna shake it off (shake it off)!