Monday, August 27, 2018

Unpleasantly Rough - Cruel or Severe

Last week I got a message via Facebook Messenger that stated that my online persona was harsh.

The writer was quick to clear up that they weren't calling ME harsh - but rather they were posing the question of this:

"Why are you and Laura seeming to be approaching these discussions in a way that reads harshly online?"
Oh... I gotcha. WE'RE not harsh people - we just play them online. Cool...

I asked some clarifying questions - was this one time or all the time? - they let me know they felt they had seen this attitude of ours in several places.

I was headed out of town for a few days and I tried to push it out of my mind - but it kinda nagged at me the whole time. Were we really these harsh people?

I had looked up the word "harsh" to get it's true meaning - cuz everybody who knows me knows i am a word geek... and it said "unpleasantly rough" and "cruel or severe."

Wow.

And Laura in this? Well she was just ticked.

Today I decided to respond - basically saying "Hey - opinions are opinions... they're subjective and I have never heard this from anybody else but was willing to take it at face value and ya know - maybe dig in to see if anybody else felt that way - but that their conversations online didn't need to look like mine and really probably shouldn't if they felt I was harsh."

This was met with the response of "you're losing your influence and you have significant influence over a large audience" along with an insinuation that we may not be glorifying God through our actions and words and then my personal passively aggressive favorite:
"It may not seem like it right now, but we are really for you and Laura..."
Oh... geesh. What does against us look like?

The irony of all of this though... is this:

A little under a year ago the sender of this message had reached out to us - asking for prayer. Seems they had come under attack by their church for some of their social media posts they were making that were advocating for racial justice and equality. They had decided to shut down their Facebook account in the face of this and were asking us for prayers.

I didn't call them weak or cowardly. I didn't question their allegiance to that cause or cast doubt on their approach and how it would impact their network.

Instead... I just prayed for them. And not just me.. Laura did too and the goofballs even recorded a prayer for them and we sent it to try and encourage them.

And then - in early June - the last I had heard from them - they sent me a message to let me know their situation had changed and they were about 7 weeks away from being able to use their voice in social media again - and even said:
"It's going to be nice not to have to look over my shoulder or feel like I have to think and think and think about how my post can be misconstrued or how it might be pro- or anti- this or that or who. CANNOT WAIT."
And yet here they sat - a little over 7 weeks later - telling ME that my posts were being misconstrued or seen as harsh... driving me to look over my shoulder and think about how my posts were being received, etc., etc., etc...

Yeah... I was a combination of dumbfounded, confused, shocked and hurt.

So why post this? Well - a couple reasons...

One - I write to process and I record everything here on our blog. Helps me to read back through things in our life to see where we were and what we were walking through. So there's that.

Two - I ABSOLUTELY LOVE recording times when God shows up to encourage His people - especially in the face of adversity or conflict - when we may be seriously questioning our own selves.

And today He was busy.

As this weighed on our minds today and we tried to respond and get past it - Not one, Not two, Not three, Not four... but FIVE different individuals - on their own with zero awareness of this situation - reached out to us to offer encouragement, seek advice or input from us or to just let us know they were with us in this fight for justice.

And I smiled... because I saw what He was doing and how He was doing it.

And so we stand encouraged.

As I looked back over the prayers I had sent to them when they were walking through their own struggle - I came across this that I had said:
"As a devoted follower of God - it's almost a given that at times you're going to find yourself on the opposite side of those you thought represented you. Don't worry...

Your Savior has already been there and done that. You're in good company."
Tonight - I am choosing to heed my own words from then - and stand strong in His name!

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