Friday, December 30, 2016

Having to Say Something

December 30, 2016

Trolling social media seems to be an obsession with some people, and it rarely is productive of anything good and worthwhile. Linda was looking at a post I had sent her that said simply that the writer had asked God why he had been led through such deep waters, and God answered, "Because your enemies can't swim." Nice sentiment; pretty innocuous. But some of the comments were vitriolic.

It's sad when someone feels it necessary to criticize someone's sentiment, especially with such vehemence. It reveals a lot of pain for which there has been no healing. I had Facebook conversations with such a person a few years ago. He was hard-nosed atheist, and at first, I looked forward to having conversations with him about matters of faith and unbelief. I soon learned that conversations were not what he had in mind. He was out for religious blood.
I challenged him one day, and he took the bait, revealing a history of abuse that truly saddened me. I wish I could say I made a difference as I patiently listened and responded to his comments, but I finally had to unfriend him due to personal verbal attacks on family members and the foul language he refused to stop using.

I miss the conversations. It's not often I get to discuss theological and philosophical issues with people whose viewpoint and world views are so different than mine. It is much more stimulating than preaching to the choir. Linda's experience tonight brought all this back. I used to think that people on social media really wanted communication. I learned that what they really want is an outlet for their anger and resentment. Of course, that is a generalization, but too frequently, it's true. I am grateful tonight that years ago, Jesus delivered me from my anger and from the need to correct everything and everyone wrong in this world. It's like preaching: there is a big difference between having to say something and having something to say. Usually, it's best to follow Abe Lincoln's maxim that it is better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to open one's mouth and remove all doubt.

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