If you have spent any time online in social media or otherwise, you have encountered them. They pick fights, they insult, attack and seem they only have one job: to rub you the wrong way. During the recent GC session there were some that made it a point to enter into conflict instead of dialogue. Here are four items to consider, when considering the antagonists in your social media life:
- It’s not your job to change their mind.
Engaging antagonists is a waste of time. That is easier said than done. It takes some restraint not respond in kind. It takes much more restraint to not answer at all!
I find myself making two mistakes:
I want people to love me.
I want people to see the light.
Maybe because at one point I was an insensitive, unloving person and God found me, changed me (still is!) that I am hopeful He can do the same for others. I have to accept the fact that while God’s power is unlimited, He has given me the precious gift of boundaries. Boundaries help define your limitations and send a clear message to others about where you stand.
- Ask yourself why.
As always, questions to yourself about yourself are helpful. Especially questions that start with “why”.
Why the fixation on antagonists? I ask myself that question often.
Here are some others:
Why do I try to change people’s minds despite the continuous and copious examples to the contrary? Why do I struggle with criticism? Why do I think it’s my job to change others and save the world? Why do I feel that I have to respond at all?
Spend some time talking to God about this today. Maybe it’s because my identity is so tied up in what I do and what I believe that any criticism is seen as an affront to my core. I propose a better way. Wrap yourself up in Christ. Your identity is Him. Him! God likes you. That should be sufficient. Why isn’t it?
- Understand the main difference between a hater and a true friend.
I don’t want to be surrounded with yes-men (or women). I want to have friends that will call me out when they see a mistake, sin or slippery slope. True friends have three things in common:
It’s private. They don’t assume the worst. They prefer private conversation instead of public argumentation.
It’s helpful. They don’t only point out where you might be in error, they offer to stand by you as they provide solutions.
It’s balanced. They address you not only when you mess up, but often provide affirmation and congratulations.
Haters are none of the above. They relish public argumentation, care more about their case than you and usually comment only when they need to make a correction.
- You can see the other side without needless confrontation.
Here is another why. Why do you think it’s YOU who must confront, change and connect with people that only are looking for fights not relationships? You can read all about the other position without needless confrontation.
Hoping for a better way forward. Anyone can be a Christian. Not everyone can be a disciple.
John 13:35 “Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.”