Recently, I had someone say something extremely crude and unkind to me online – it really wasn’t for any other reason than to upset me and make me feel awful about myself. This person wasn’t somebody I was close with at all, so I didn’t know why he found it necessary to go out of his way to insult me. This wasn’t something that surprised me, though – he knows I come from a family of believers and he knows I’m a strong Christian, so he wanted to try to tear me down. It worked for a bit – I couldn’t stop thinking about or getting angry about what he said. I wanted to reply to him in anger… the flesh is weak. I didn’t want to be insulted again, though, so I did what any 19-year old girl in the 21st century would do in this situation – I blocked him on Facebook. Desperate times call for desperate measures! That would “show him.”
I’m saying these things in a jovial manner, but in all seriousness – getting angry at him and trying to remove him from my life was not the right course of action to take. There are so many biblical scriptures that tell us to love, forgive, and pray for those who insult us – Luke 6:28, Matthew 5:44, and Colossians 3:13 are just a few of the many. Well, that’s easier said than done – but it’s something we are instructed to do by the One who knows every heart. We aren’t called to just accept insults without standing up for ourselves, but we are called to respond to those who hurt us with an overwhelming love that can only come from Christ Jesus.
Thinking back, I know that earlier that day he had posted a status about how he lost someone close to him. I’m sure his comment to me was just him acting out in anger because he had so much bottled up pain and, as someone who is not a follower of Christ, he did not know how to handle earthly sorrow. I also started to think – what if I was one of the only believers in His life? Sure, he’s bitter toward Christianity and seems to hate all Christians – but so did Paul. I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that I will see this person face-to-face again, and so my prayer is that I can show him such love and forgiveness that it will point him to Christ Jesus. I’m still learning how to love others who hurt me, but I want more than anything to glorify God in all I do. I know that this man said some pretty harsh things to God, but God still loves him. We need to love the unlovely as God loves the unlovely; that is the way we will lead others to Christ.
We, too, were once sick in our sin and full of “dirt” until the Holy Spirit intervened and we were given an eternal peace, an eternal love, and an eternal destiny… and I’m so thankful for that!
Erin Culleny is a new member of America’s Keswick’s full-time staff. Erin serves as a Marketing Assistant and Staff Writer. She had served on Summer Staff since 2011, and this past summer had the unique opportunity of co-directing Children’s Ministry with one of her best friends. She is very excited to continue to build relationships with the guests and be very involved in the ministry.