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A few weeks back I suddenly found myself being attacked on the Internet. I had posted something on my Facebook page about a personal achievement toward a goal I have about natural living. I got the requisite several "likes" from friends, but then I got something more; a comment from a Facebook friend. A man I attended church with. I'd been to his son's birthday parties. We'd eaten dinner together. And his was not a like.

He attacked me. My morals. My ethics. My intelligence. Repeatedly. Even when I asked him to stop. When I asked him to bring it to a private conversation so the greater world didn't have to see our disagreement. He refused.

I was shocked. I had seen this kind of thing on social media before, but fortunately never experienced it. It was horrible.

I kept thinking, "If I just respond kindly...if I just answer his questions... if I can just turn away wrath with peace...this will all stop. He will see what he is doing and stop. Surely he can see that he is being unfair and abrasive...surely!"

But it didn't stop.

And since it wasn't a conversation, or a discussion, but just a beating of my "wrong" beliefs, I stopped. I deleted the post. I called it off. I "unfriended" my attacker.

But while this happened, before it was done, I broke.

I was at church and a woman who sees me once a week at Bible study came up to me and asked, "Jonelle, are you okay? You look...fragile today."

And I cried. Because I was fragile. Because when people come against you and beat you down, you break. You have cracks and bruises that no matter the original intent, whether truly out of concern for you, or out of a malicious or misguided attitude, remain. As people, we are crushed. We bleed. Internally or externally, people break.

I want to challenge all of us: you, me, everyone, to not break other people. To value them enough that we would not seek to crush or bruise. That we would not take glory from making others into fragile, nearly shattered beings. That we would not need to "win" by having them break to our opinions or our beliefs.

That even if we have the chance to take the knock-out blow that we stay our hands.

Is our opinion worth that? Is our belief worth that? As people who follow One who tells us that the Spirit reveals truth, shouldn't we let Him deliver the piercings of the heart that cause real change?

I don't want to be known as one who crushes, but as one who points to the One who puts people back together.

Until next time,

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  1. Julie

    I had this happen to me too, and it was a friend who had very strong beliefs about something (I can't even remember what now) and with words like "kindly disagree," she proceeded to belittle my belief without a smidgen of love. It was just so shocking. I deleted my words and asked her to not contact me for a while. Well, that was probably 5 years ago now. It's a friendship gone, and I still don't really know what happened!

  2. BeachyMum

    What a timely post!

    We're grateful for your family business. It must be challenging at times to view written criticism, but thanks to all of you for your contributions.

  3. Pingback: Don’t believe the lies | Sonlight Blog

  4. Warren Baldwin

    It is hard to understand why/how people can do that, but it happens frequently. I think it is safe to say they come from a posture of extreme brokenness themselves. it doesn't make it any less painful when it is directed at us, but it may help us process the experience. Sorry it happened.

    I've recently been re-reading Great Expectations by Charles Dickens. His main character, Pip, meets a pretty girl. She is rude and harsh to him and he goes off to cry, a very unnerving experience for a teenage boy or young man. Here is what I like about Dickens, and what separates him from most modern novelists ... he doesn't just tell this story, he has Pip reflect on his personal trauma and process what happened to him by the young girl. Every time I read this section (numerous times), I pause myself, and think about emotionally disturbing situations, like the one you described. Something in your friend's life is unprocessed and unredeemed, and it spills (explodes?) on other people. Your response comes from a position of greater strength, even though it is still painful. You aren't contributing to his brokenness, and you are offering hope for further redemption. Though the episode still smarts, I'm sure, you can at least take comfort in knowing you've tried. Good job, good post.