Peter: When he was insulted, he returned no insult.
Me: But HE wasn’t on Facebook.
As a Christian, I am tasked with being Christ-like at all times and in all circumstances. Yes, even on social media. Over many years and many interactions, I’ve come up with a three-step process for dealing with perceived insults online.
Step 1: Try to make it not insulting.
When I read a comment, and I get that little flash of indignation at what appears to be criticism, or insult, or <cringe> unsolicited parenting advice, I try to figure out a way I can read it that would take the edge off of it. Could it be a joke? Or a misunderstanding? Or a typo? What if I imagine that there’s a smiley face emoji at the end? Then I reply to the comment in that light, assuming the best. I’m shocked at how often the person replies with a laugh or words of agreement, and it seems that the charitable interpretation of the comment was the right one!
Step 2: Make excuses.
Sometimes there’s no getting around a comment’s intent to be insulting, but, unfortunately, that doesn’t give me license to be insulting in return. So I remind myself that it’s pretty unlikely that this person is actually upset with me. In all likelihood, she is overwhelmed by the circumstances and situations in her own life that have little to do with something *I* posted on Facebook. Once I convince myself that it’s not really about me, or not ALL about me anyway, it’s easier to forgive.
Step 3: Move on.
I try to determine if the best course is to try to engage the person, or just delete or hide or keep on scrolling. I pray a quick prayer to the Holy Spirit before I make that call.
Come Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of Your faithful and kindle in them the fire of Your love. Send forth Your Spirit and they shall be created. And You shall renew the face of the earth.
In this month of Pentecost, it’s an especially good habit to cultivate!Once I convince myself that it’s not really about me, or not ALL about me anyway, it’s easier to forgive. // @kendra_tierney Click To Tweet
Let’s repeat the prayer to the Holy Spirit many times today.
Kendra Tierney is a forty-two-year-old mother of ten and wife of one living in and working on a big old fixer-upper house in Los Angeles. She’s a homeschooler and a regular schooler and is relishing the new freedom from carpooling that’s come with a sixteen-year-old in the house. Her new book, The Catholic All Year Compendium, Liturgical Living for Real Life is here. You can find her first book, A Little Book About Confession, here, her blog here, and her word art here. She is a contributing author to our Works of Mercy Study: Misericordia.