Haters

7 Ways to Love Your (Online) Haters

Alaska mountains--by plane.jpg

Flying home from Texas——-I never tire of this land and sea and ice scape.

Alaska ice+mountains from air.jpg

And then flying to Kodiak . . .

Kodiak--flying in--mountains.jpg

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.

Victoria--gloria.jpg
Victoria--Leslie and Rosemary.jpeg

AND—the fearless and tireless Miss Tamara, the vision-er and force behind the ANCHORED conference.

Victoria--Tamara+and+Leslie.jpg

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: 

Maddi and Elisha--messing his hair.jpeg
very angry man (funny).png


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.

hand-holding-yellow-maple-leaves-autumn-sunny-background-hand-holding-yellow-maple-leaf-blurred-autumn-trees-background-autumn-concept-selective-focus_1391-251.jpg
HIWW--friends%2BPaul.jpg
woman feeding birds in hand.jpeg

Friends, would you share a time when anger or enmity was met with grace? These real stories SO encourage us all!

Thank you,

Always,

Leslie

8 Ways to Love Your (Hateful) Neighbors

I am just back from sitting in a circle of whales. Five fin whales, the second largest whale in the world, galloped and blasted their immensity just feet away from my trembling body.  I am lousy with love. I see it everywhere this week:


















Which brings me to the topic at hand: Hate. And specifically, haters. We all have them in our lives.

If you hold to any political position and you enjoy discussing honestly and fairly with others, you have them.

If you are different from others in your family, you likely have them.

If you're a writer and you posit thoughts in an online journal or magazine or blog about a controversial subject---or, heck, any subject at all, you will attract them.

If you're a writer who writes from a position of faith, you're in the worst position of all: you're drowning in them. 


 Why are so many Christians so mean to one another? Why have we so little grace for one another? And let me be more specific: why are so many Christians so mean and graceless online?  




 Nearly every article I've published online has awakened the ire of two or more Perpetually Irate Christians who are trying to Save the World from Apostates. This week, one of my pieces (Yes, the gender piece) has received a lot of spread, discussion and shares---and some astonishing comments. As in, astonishingly hateful. As such things always go, the responses are based on misreading, misinterpretation, logical fallacies and projection of the commenter's own experiences and fears upon the writer. These two men go so far as to cast aspersions on my marriage, and of course on my faith and salvation. 



(One commentator feels sorry for my poor husband whom I'm clearly abusing and in charge of. If you know my husband, you will die laughing at this!!)


These kind of readers not only attack the writer, but they also lie in wait and pounce on anyone who might support the writer's view. 


How do we love these PIC's in our lives? And love them we must. They are our onscreen neighbors, at the least, and even if they're our enemies, we're still called to love. 






Here are some possible ways we can Love our Hateful Readers:

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 as you read. 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. Shower grace upon gracelessness (But only if you can do it sincerely.) 

3. Love them by staying silent, no matter how outrageous the accusations against you. Don't feed their dis-ease by responding. There are many dear people out there with mental and physical health issues whose only social outlet is the internet. Any response at all may prolong both your pain and theirs.

4. Love them by listening between the lines for the real issue, the deep hurt that they're writing 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.


5. Love them by calmly and respectfully inviting further dialogue with them through personal email rather than a public site. But only if prompted by the Holy Spirit 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 feelings, a family, a dog, and kids you're trying to get through school. In other words, help them re-attach words on a screen with the human beings who wrote them.   




7. Love them by praying for them. Yes, really. They are likely more hurt and damaged than you are. 

8. Love that reader and love your future readers by not allowing the hurtful commentators to steal your voice and shut you down. Too many writers I know have given up on publishing because of the haters. This is the least loving response of all. 

And do you know----like this, some attackers have become allies, some antagonists have become partners, some enemies have become friends? It is true.








One more thing. 

What do we do when other writers are under attack? Don't engage with the pit bull commentator. Write a note of encouragement to the writer herself in the comment thread. Let her know how much you appreciate their words.  Simple words of thanks mean SO much to writers. I have been the  grateful recipient of so many kind commentators. In the midst of the many doubts and hurtful words, those words help keep us going. 




There is never enough love or grace in this world. And do you know who needs love more than anyone? Yup. The haters. 

Go out and love them kindly and well. Onscreen and off. As the Lord has flung his profligate mercies upon us, let us do the same for them.