A short while ago, I was faced with a dilemma. I posted something on my Facebook wall. It generated a few “likes” and a comment. The comment was from somebody who had taken offence to what I had posted. The offence was caused because the post tended to stereotype women into a specific field and this person did not fit the stereotype. Where I would of said something along the lines of “Wow – I’m unique, I don’t fit the mould on this one” the person who left the comment seemed genuinely upset about it to the point where she offended my belief by using the name of my Lord and Saviour as swearing in the body of her comment.
Now the dilemma that I was faced with, somebody (who is not a Christian) used one of my posts to say something I am against and I don’t want my on my Facebook wall. The way I see it is I had 5 options.
- I delete the comment without saying anything. If I do this however, I am basically censoring somebody else’s opinion. Everybody has the right to the freedom of expression, and in a strange way I am no better than the person who posted the comment because I didn’t show her the love of Jesus Christ. Instead I am showing her narrow-mindedness.
- I delete the comment and send the person a message telling them that the comment offended me and hence why I removed it. I am still censoring the person and in this case they know why. In the persons mind they’ll probably think “Stupid Christian, taking offence to every little thing.” – I still didn’t show the person the love of Jesus Christ, and I am not favourably representing the Christian faith to her.
- I challenge the person by informing them publically that I did not appreciate the comment, but leave it up. This will probably result in an argument that nobody will win. – I still didn’t show the person the love of Jesus Christ, in fact I am promoting an argument.
- I ignore the comment, leaving it up on the post. In this way I turn the other cheek and refuse to play the game. – I still didn’t show the person the love of Jesus Christ, although I took a more “neutral” stance on the matter.
- I turn the cheek on the part that I take offense to, forgiving the person for offending me, and reply on the comment in a positive way, showing love in the process.
I chose to do #5 and did the best I could in the circumstances, praising the person for being unique and not fitting into the stereotype, and gently explaining that the stereotype probably fits 90% of my female friends – myself included.
This isn’t the first time I have had to deal with somebody swearing on my Facebook wall in response to one of my comments. The last time I was, unfortunately, more immature than I am now and I confronted the person about their language, telling them politely that I did not appreciate it. This wasn’t so bad, except I did it publically. It would have been better if I had done it privately.
So what do we do when faced with people who offend us? We do what we were told to do in Matthew 5:39:
But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also.
Notice how it says: “do not resist and evil person”. Naturally if a fellow Christian was to do what the woman I mentioned above did, then I would confront them about it, but since the person who commented is not a Christian, different rules apply.
So if you are offended by somebody, take a breath. Is that person a Christian? If so then confront them privately about the offence once you have collected your thoughts (try do it the next day only). If the person is not a Christian, turn the other cheek and show them the love of Jesus Christ instead.