Our theme for this month: “Changing the tone of the conversation”
Our Bible verse for today: “Finally, all of you be like-minded and sympathetic, love one another, and be compassionate and humble, not paying back evil for evil or insult for insult but on the contrary, giving a blessing since you were called for this, so that you may inherit a blessing.” 1 Peter 3:8-9 (CSB)
Our thought for today: “Do not respond to an insult with an insult”
Yesterday I got to practice what I preach. For five weeks I’ve been writing devotional messages about “changing the tone of the conversation”, and I’ve been encouraging all of us to practice restraint in how we converse with those with whom we disagree. Yesterday I got to practice that restraint.
Although there are many problems associated with the social media platform “Facebook”, one of the positive aspects of it is that it often reestablishes contact between people who haven’t seen each other in decades. Thanks to Facebook I have regular contact with old Navy buddies I served with in Vietnam. I have contact with cousins who I haven’t seen since I was a child. And I’m part of a Facebook group that includes anyone who grew up in my hometown of Edison, New Jersey. It was that site that brought me my challenge yesterday.
A few days ago I released my latest book “Getting Along without Going Along: Biblical Sexual Ethics in an Age of Controversy and Conflict” (available at http://www.JimMersereauBooks.com). One way I’m promoting the book is with posts on Facebook and by asking others to share my posts on their own Facebook pages. Yesterday I posted a promo for the book on the “I grew up in Edison, New Jersey” group page. Well, one individual who saw the post (a person I don’t know and who presumably doesn’t know me either), took exception to the Christian nature of the book and had something unkind to say about it.
I found it a bit ironic that a book whose primary objective is to get people to be kind in the way they discuss their differences, evoked an unkind remark from that guy. I chuckled about the irony of it for a moment, but then I had to decide how I would respond. My initial instinct was to fire off a snarky response right back at him, but that would have simply served to invite a sharp response back. It would also have damaged my credibility, since it would have been the exact opposite of the message I was promoting in the book. So I bit my tongue, resisted the urge to respond in kind, and simply thanked him for his response and wished him a nice day.
Responding to an insult with an insult is never helpful. As Peter taught us in 1 Peter 3:8-9, it’s much better to respond to an insult with a word of blessing. I encourage you to make it a point that when you are insulted, instead of returning insult for insult give them a word of blessing instead.