I write for a number of sites on a variety of topics, everything from pursuing your dream to raising teenagers and politics. Because I am a writer, I invite (whether I like it or not) opinions and comments from others.
Thankfully most of the feedback I receive is good. But sometimes it isn’t. Anyone who works in a field or a ministry where you are likely to get feedback of some kind, you know that there is always the chance someone won’t agree with you. Or they may not even like you.
With the political site that I write for, I get some crazy stuff. One time I got a very lengthy email that started out this way, “How can I get a hold of a Nazi leader here in Minneapolis, Minnesota?” I don’t think I have to tell you how strange the remainder of the email was.
Then on another site where I write about pursuing your dream, a reader apparently took the time to look into my other work and saw I was a Christian. That person decided I needed an email correcting my views and how Jesus would have been a liberal and so on. The very views this person was declaring I had, were not expressed by me anywhere. He had just assumed he knew what I thought.
The reason I share all of this is because it provides a foundation to the real message of this blog. It’s about turning the other cheek…turning the other cheek when people say unkind, cruel or untrue things about you (or to you).
Sometimes we can get so wrapped up in the words of others that we begin to dwell on them. Depending on your personality, you will react a few different ways. For some, dwelling on the negative things said about them causes them to begin to believe it must be true. You start looking down on yourself or you begin to question who you are and what you do.
For others you become hurt. The hurt can be so deep that you give up or you allow yourself to sink into depression. And still for others, you become angry. You are ready to lash back at the person and give them a good word whipping.
Can I tell you something? No matter how you choose to react to the negative things said about you, the other person is doing perfectly fine. They aren’t wrapped up in feeling bad or angry or depressed. In fact, they have probably long forgotten whatever they said about you.
This is something God has really had to help me with because in all honesty my initial reaction would be anger. I would be ready for a good comeback, yet 99% of the time I know that I am to remain silent.
Do you know how hard that can be for some people, me included? It is almost gut-wrenching to sit back and not defend myself. It seems unfair and unjust. Don’t I have the right to say something?
All I have to do is think about Jesus. Did He not have the right to say something, yet He remained silent. When He was falsely accused and called names, He didn’t respond.
The only time I have ever felt led to respond to one of the emails I have received was when I got the one about how Jesus was liberal. I can’t recall the exact words but I said something along the lines that I was sorry he had made all of these assumptions about my beliefs but that he was wrong with just about everything he said.
You know how I knew I had responded the right way? I didn’t get a reply. There was nothing to be said. Didn’t Jesus sometimes speak others into silence? Remember the woman the Pharisees were about to stone to death because she had committed adultery? Jesus told them that whoever had been without sin could throw the first stone. No one replied. He spoke them into silence.
However I personally believe that most of the time we are to say nothing. Silence sometimes speaks louder than even the vicious words of others. And even if you see no good come of your silence, you can at least have peace knowing that you are right with God.