Flying home from Texas——-I never tire of this land and sea and ice scape.
And then flying to Kodiak . . .
I brought back with me hugs, words, stories, so much shared with the women and men of Faith Family Church in Texas. There is nothing like Southern Hospitality! They really know how to do it!!
Here are a few of the beautiful women I got to share the weekend with.
AND—the fearless and tireless Miss Tamara, the vision-er and force behind the ANCHORED conference.
My cup was emptied out—-and filled again with love.
But how do we live a life of love in this Age of Outrage? Even the most peaceful people-pleasers among us pick up a few haters along our way. Especially online readers, followers and “friends.” What do we do?
How do we love these PIP’s, the Perpetually Irate People in our lives? And love them we must. They are our neighbors, even our onscreen neighbors. (But love doesn’t always mean what we think.)
Here it is, Sweet and Short:
7 Ways to Love Your (Online) Haters
1. Love them by doing for them what they have not done for you: listen respectfully before reacting. Align yourself with their words first rather than against their words so you can hear them first. Despite the hate and the hurt, there may be truth and corrective there that you can profit from. IF so, then----
2. Love them by thanking them for their interest and time, and for that helpful piece of advice or corrective. Identify what was helpful. (I’m not talking about someone telling you there’s lipstick on your teeth . ..) Shower grace upon gracelessness (Yes, this is HARD!)
3. Love them (and love yourself) by sometimes staying silent, no matter how outrageous the accusations against you. Don't feed their dis-ease by responding. Most of the time, they cannot hear you and they are not interested in your experience of those events. Some of these are dear people with mental and physical health issues and trauma in their own lives. If you respond, you’ll likely prolong your pain and theirs.
4. Love them by listening between the lines for the real issue, the deep hurt that they're speaking and acting from. If the Holy Spirit prompts, respond kindly and with concern, not to the issue at hand, but to their own experience and well-being. “I’m sorry you’re struggling with difficult feelings right now. Is there some way I can help you?” They’re expecting a fist fight. Give them a hand on the shoulder instead.
5. If this person has contacted you on social media, Love them by calmly and respectfully inviting further dialogue with them through email rather than a public site. But only if prompted by the Holy Spirit, only if you believe further communication can help THEM (not you) and only out of concern for them rather than for a righting of your own reputation.
6. Love them by reminding them you are a real human being with a family, a dog, a broken dishwasher and kids you're trying to get through school. Help them recognize you are not a disembodied issue. You are not a political position. You are a human being with feelings and struggles just like anyone else. (And make sure you see them the same way!)
7. Love them by praying for them. Yes, really. Their inappropriate response makes it clear that they are likely more hurt and damaged than you are. You’ve been given the Holy Spirit. You’ve been given all you need to do this. They likely have few resources, while you have many.
HOW do I know these 7 ways? Partly from failure. When I’ve lost it, when I’ve fought back teeth and nails, I’ve truly lost, even when I “win.”
(BUT—-do NOT let haters shut you down from speaking truths you know must be spoken. If I listened to all of mine, I would have stopped writing 20 years ago.)
The whole world is gasping for grace and love. Who needs it more than anyone? Yes. The haters.
As the Lord has flung his profligate mercies upon us, let us do the same for them.
Friends, would you share a time when anger or enmity was met with grace? These real stories SO encourage us all!