It never occurs to many of us—or maybe it occurs, but folks don’t care—that many people online are operating from a place of pain. The public bravado conceals a private vulnerability.
In reality, we are not created to endure an avalanche of hate. Few people have the thick skin they might believe they possess. So we fire off broadsides and reel from the response.
I must confess, the more I learn about the lives of people online and off, the more I see the profound depth of Christian commands to love our enemies, to bless those who persecute us, to respond to evil with good, to turn the other cheek. It’s about so much more than our witness. It’s part of Christ’s love (and ours) for our neighbors, including our enemies.
To me, one of the most poignant of all scriptures is Isaiah 42:3. Prophesying the coming Messiah, Isaiah declares, “a bruised reed he will not break, and a faintly burning wick he will not quench.”
That person you call an enemy is so very often a bruised reed—even those enemies who can seem most aggressive, most outspoken. Shall we break them in our righteous response? Because remember, the alternative to turning my cheek is striking his. One alternative to blessing is cursing. One alternative to kindness is cruelty. And cruelty destroys lives.