A Facebook friend of mine just posted a political graphic to his wall. It’s a snarky, mean-spirited photo that takes a stand on a particularly divisive issue and makes fun of those on the other side.
Guess what. I’m on the other side. And this graphic is WRONG WRONG WRONG WRONG WRONG. It’s so wrong. It’s wronger than wrong.
As I was fuming over this WRONG post he made, inspiration struck. I suddenly realized I had the perfect response—intelligent, well reasoned, and maybe a little bit snarky. With a one-line comment, I could put the graphic’s originator (and, by extension, my friend) in his place.
Oh, I couldn’t wait to hear his reaction to my perfect comeback. I felt like this:
Ever have one of those moments when the perfect comeback just comes to you at exactly the right time? Oh, it’s a beautiful thing.
But just as I was about to type it out, I heard a little bit of throat clearing from the Holy Spirit.
“So,” said God nonchalantly, “what’s up?”
“Oh,” I said, “this guy. He’s just SO wrong. Man. You wouldn’t believe—oh, well, I guess you would believe—but still. He’s really wrong. So anyway, I came up with this great response—ha ha—it’s perfect! Yeah, it’s a little snarky, but he deserves it. I mean, you agree with me, don’t you, that his argument is completely messed up and that this post is hateful?”
“How do you think he’ll react to your comeback?” God asked, ignoring my question.
“Well…” I said, knowing full well where this was going but not really wanting it to go there, “He’ll probably be upset.”
“And he’ll change his mind?”
I considered this. “Well, no. I suppose not. He’ll probably just be irritated at me and refuse to acknowledge that I’m right. But he’s WRONG! And this is an important issue! Don’t I have a responsibility to say something?”
God didn’t answer that either. At least, I didn’t hear an answer. Instead, the Spirit seemed to reply with another question: “Why did he post it? What is he thinking?”
As if I’m supposed to understand such stupidity as this guy posted. “I don’t know. It’s stupid. It’s terrible. It’s hateful.”
“Think about it. You’re always talking about putting yourself in others’ shoes.”
I thought about it for a moment. “Well,” I replied, “I guess he genuinely believes that his side has a better solution to the problem. I’m positive he’s wrong, but he obviously believes it pretty passionately. Maybe he’s worried that bad things will happen if my side wins the debate, just like I’m worried about what will happen if his side wins. But that’s still no excuse for posting something that ridicules those who disagree with him.”
“Have you ever ridiculed people who disagree with you politically?”
Ugh! Why does the Holy Spirit always manage to bring it back to my own mistakes when it’s so much easier to sit in judgment of others?
In this case, though, I was pretty sure I was in the clear. I honestly don’t post those kinds of images on Facebook. But just as I was about to respond, a few images flashed into my mind. I remembered certain YouTube videos I’ve laughed at, jokes I’ve told, and Facebook images I stayed silent on publicly but privately giggled over with friends—all at the expense of people I disagreed with.
With those memories in mind, and Jesus’ words about stone-casting ringing in my ears, my response to the Spirit’s prodding went something like this:
So I didn’t write my snarky response. I sat down and wrote this blog post instead. And I was reminded, once more, that my neighbor’s sins may look a little different from mine, but we’re all in the same boat.
Yes, I want to make change on the issues I care about. But when I can’t do it in a way that’s kind, compassionate, snark-free, and understanding of those who disagree, I think I’m better off keeping my big mouth shut.
P.S. God does not actually speak to me in an audible voice. This dialogue is my interpretation of a conversation with God. Dear God, if I’ve misquoted you, please forgive me and don’t sue me for libel. Thanks.