The first piece of business I met with today over my morning cup of coffee was that some anonymous person had made a disparaging comment about me on someone else’s website.
Very disparaging, actionably libellous. I got trolled.
The editor of that website let me know, let me see the comment, and then removed it. I promised to do the same for him if it should come up. It was all done with discretion and good Christian sense.
This sort of thing happens, as he said, when we start to build a fan/follower base. Someone we crossed in our past, or someone who thinks they know us better than they really do – and stalkers and obsessed persons – can do us some harm, at least to our sense of peace. Because that person remains anonymous, we can’t fight back. It’s guerrilla action.
We can – and do – shrug it off. The criticism leveled at me was marginally true, but twisted and aimed to hurt, plant doubt in those who know me, make me look like a hypocrite and liar. (All of us are hypocrites if we claim to follow Jesus – because we will never do it perfectly in this world.) I’ve been slammed before; it’s not new. I am not devastated or injured. That is not what bothers me the most.
Jesus told us to reconcile with an opponent before we get to judgment. It is better to ask and give forgiveness without mediation. Judgment is a very public process; it keeps people in an adversarial position. Judgment is about rights, not about forgiveness.
But if I do not know who it is who has named me in a grudge, who hides his person behind an internet persona, who gives me no opportunity to listen and to be heard, then we can never agree in fellowship . The only judgment possible will be the Final Judgment, and He who is eternally righteous will be the judge. We cannot give and receive Christian forgiveness if one of the parties refuses to come forward, but slings mud over the fence, and then runs.
I want to be reconciled with anyone I may have offended, and if I am accused I want the opportunity to answer and apologize to the accuser. I cannot demonstrate to an anonymous accuser and critic that I am indeed attempting to walk the narrow path, with God as my helper. I do not deserve this rejection; I want to make amends and reconcile.