I just got another hate letter on my blog. This time it was vituperative.
It hasn't happened a lot, but it's happening more often these days. I have gotten other comments from people who disagree with the way I write and think, who correct my grammar, who accuse me of things I never did or of being something that I am not. And today a man telling me that I am spreading false religion, fantasy - that I am a blasphemer - "pure blasphemy based on doctrines from the very pit of hell."
That got me going a bit.
I often feel very vulnerable as a blogger. You have to be vulnerable. You are putting yourself out there. You let people peek in and see what you have inside your heart and your mind. Not only are you expressing your inner thoughts, hopes, aspirations, beliefs and desires, but you are allowing other people to engage in conversation about those things. It requires a LOT of trust. And I don't think all the people out there realize how much trust this takes to be so vulnerable. Yes, I can moderate comments that come to me or contact form submissions so that the people don't post horrible things publicly on my blog. But it still comes to me. And sometimes people don't just unknowingly hurt you with words, they try to hurt you with words.
So what do you do?
How can you be brave when you are the backlash of somebody's lack of love?
It is hard not to lash back. I think we should say the truth. But I also think that true bravery isn't just saying what you want to say back in the face of someone who attacks you. Christ was truly brave when He said nothing back to those who would not understand. And most haters, attackers, abusers and trolls will not understand. Being brave with these people means not responding. It will only tear you down to respond. You will waste your time and the emotional capital that you could use to do more good. Lashing back at them will only make you feel bad about yourself which will then deteriorate true and lasting bravery. So yes, say the truth, but with people who won't understand, just hold your peace. Also:
1. Speak Truth - but not always back to them.
"Defend your beliefs with courtesy and with compassion, but defend them." (Jeffrey R. Holland) Seek the Spirit as you pick your battles. Some battles are pointless and shouldn't be started. Sometimes you say the truth you want to say to the person who hates you, and sometimes you say the truth outloud, but only to yourself or a supporting friend, but make sure you remember to speak truth.
2. Remember your foundation in Christ
"What would Jesus do? will not always bring a popular response." Remember that He is your Rock and your Redeemer and when you speak truth, you stand with Him. No matter what the haters say, if you stick to truth. He will help you and stand with you and be in your midst as you defend Him and the truth He has revealed.
3. Remember your divine Identity
Don't forget where you came from or where you are going. You are a child of God. Don't ever forget this and what this truth comes with.
4. Remember that even though God can get angry, He is not an angry God.
People may make threats and tell you that God will strike you down and your judgement will be just. Remember that God is loving. He is love personified. He is not a hater. And remember that the people who hate you do not come from God, but are inspired by a different source. "That which doth not edify is not of God, and is darkness." (D&C 50:24).
5. Surround yourself with people who really know who you are.
This one really has helped me. The person who hates you, doesn't really know you. They haven't sat down and eaten food with you or gone to a service project with you or walked with you on your mission or struggled to study Spanish with you or sung with you in church or gone on a road trip with you. They just attack. Find people who know you. Spend time with them. They will help you remember who you are. Especially find the ones who will point you back to Christ.
6. Listen to happy music.
This one seriously helps! These attacks can bring a lot of negative emotion. And though you can't always control your emotion, you CAN control your thoughts (which can bring different emotions). Happy music can help put good thoughts in your mind to replace the negative feelings with positive.
7. Dance it off.
Pair the happy music with wiggling your body and it will solidify the positive emotions. There is science behind it. Pairing an emotional thought with a physiological motion is powerful.
8. Smile, and laugh at something silly.
Just smile. And if you need help with this click here to look at some hilarious animals.
9. Forgive them for they know not what they do.
Forgiving people heals you. If they knew the truth and if they knew you, they wouldn't do those things. They need love. Forgive them. Remember though that forgiving them doesn't mean condoning their attacks. Block emails, report abuse, get them out of your hair. But have compassion for people who don't have a clear picture and forgive them. It will help you.
10. Keep Sharing Truth
Don't stop sharing truth. Keep blogging. One of my friends who has done a lot of good told me "when you start getting hate mail, you know you are doing something right." I agree. People will pop up when you share truth and we must KEEP sharing truth. The internet is the rooftop that we are to shout the truth from. It is the platform that will reach more people more quickly than any other method out there. Don't stop blogging and sharing the truth you know through the internet.
We all could waste a LOT of time trying to explain to people what they don't understand. But when we know that they won't understand, just hold your peace like Jesus. The Jews thought they were doing the right thing when they put "a blasphemer" to death. Did they understand? I could try to make people see what I see. In the end, it won't work. Until Jesus comes again and the playing fields are leveled, there will ALWAYS be someone who does not see clearly. I don't condemn them. I don't think God does either. Someday there will be a great awakening and all will know the truth.
But until then, just Be Brave.