Monday, October 10, 2011

Is this a witness?

Recently a Facebook friend not only complained about the slowness of some people, but deleted my response that for a few of us slow people there isn’t much worth rushing for. I don’t know what was offensive about my remark, but what made the incident even more interesting to me is that this person kept the post that made fun of the “abnormally obese” people who, I presume, are also slow, and horribly inconvenient.

Normally the posts of this first person are cheery, and encouraging. I don’t know the person really well – we met through a mutual acquaintance. But I believe the person is a Christian, and that most of the time, the heart is in the right place.

And who am I to complain about complaining? After all, I use my Facebook and my blog to multiply my whining to a world mostly uninterested. People can go back and look at my status updates and tweets and see that I am not always charitable or Christ-like in what I write, and those who have to endure me in person know that I do not always edify with my words. So who am I to talk?

Well, I’ll tell you. I’m a person who doesn’t understand how a Christian can delete a post, that is not an attack or criticism, but can keep the post of someone who vilifies the overweight. Can’t help but take that personally, since I’m the one whose input was deleted and also one of many who are, in no uncertain terms, fat.

A lot of talk these days seems to be about the idea that “words hurt.” But it is like some sort of abstract concept that a bunch of people come up with to protect their feelings, and avoid actual concern over (let alone interaction with) what Jesus called “the least of these.” Okay, maybe I’m taking that phrase out of context, but didn’t Jesus say that what we did not only for, but to, “them” we did to Him?

Here’s the thing: I’ll get over this. No one is perfect, and I would like to believe that the two people involved have no personal ill feelings for me or want to hurt others. I suspect most of us would be mortified if we knew the real results of some of our supposedly “harmless” acts. But will the next person “get over it”? Will the next person they carelessly harm or ignore, someone God is foolish enough to love as much as them, will that be the one who is a believer with problems bigger than a minor inconvenience, something that takes longer to write about than to adjust to? Will the next person be someone on the cusp of faith, who only needs an encouraging word or a deleted response to push them to a critical decision about Christ? About life in general?

I hope I remember all this when I find myself in the same position. (And sure as God is God, I will!) Because it really isn’t about our feelings. It is about who and what we represent. And if what we are about isn’t bigger than ourselves, then not much really matters.

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