Not Everyone Likes Me
“Meekness” is one of those Bible words that nobody likes. There, I said it. That’s because meekness is often misinterpreted as weakness. However, real, Biblical meekness is better defined as “power under control”. In other words, a type of humility that is especially derived from self-discipline. It’s no longer celebrated but should be.
I grew up in the 80s and 90s and for the most part it was ok to disagree. Friends appreciated differences and cancel culture would have seemed ridiculous. When differences arose, I was always encouraged by my parents to consider the other person’s position and perspective, to “put myself in the other person’s shoes”.
Prior to the age of social media, real-life conversations were the norm. In person, written and phone communication were our only options. Misconstrued text messages and threads of hastily typed comments pounded out by strangers behind screens were not yet a thing. There is very little healthy discourse happening in the digital world, especially among those who have never met in person. Our desire to be “right” tramples right over the other person’s shoes.
Call me old school, but I refuse to participate in conversations on screens. In my opinion, they are best used for quick messages, sharing about business, and posting pictures of my kids.
Does that mean opinions don’t matter? Not at all, but if my opinion is shared for a reaction, I can hardly be upset when that happens. If I am “entitled” to my opinion, then I better be ready for others to be entitled to theirs.
In our home we teach our kids that people can and will attack your actions, words, and decisions no matter what. However, when one’s reputation is built upon solid Godly character, those attacks cannot stand. When we are growing and rich in the fruits of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control, our perspective shifts from victim to victor despite reactions from others. This comes not from pride, but from the meekness discussed earlier.
So how do we respond to the inevitable fact that not everyone is going to like us all the time? With grace and humility. If a relationship matters, then it is important that we seek to do the hard work to preserve it and pursue reconciliation when necessary. We’ve got to ask ourselves, “what if I’m wrong? and “what part did I play in this?”.
Let’s make room for real conversations and seek to listen and understand. We will miss out on so much if our only mission is to be right.
And strangers? We certainly cannot control the actions and words of others who don’t even know us, but we can make sure we’re not inviting unnecessary conflict (especially behind our screens). Choosing words carefully and restraining from spewing every opinion can do wonders in preserving integrity. Exchanging entitlement for gentleness and self-control often results in unexpected openness that might just result in healthy conversation.
That said, we must surrender the results and focus only on doing the right hard thing.
The THINK acronym is a tool we use for spoken words with our kids, but is a great practice before posting, responding, commenting etc. no matter how offended we feel.
T- Is it True (let’s be sure we check on this one- news stories don’t count)
H- Is it Helpful? (Are my words going to help solve a problem or create clarity for someone else?)
I – Is it Inspiring? (Am I building up or tearing down?)
N- Is it Necessary? (Is what I’m sharing actually NEEDED to help further healthy conversation and speak truth?)
K- Is it Kind? (The big one…the way I say it matters)
May we be TRUTH seekers. In a world where it has become normalized to define truth on our own terms, we can commit to seeking facts and truth above feelings or narratives that are fed to us. When we become less focused on our emotional response and filter each challenge through God’s infallible Word, we don’t need the world’s approval nor response.
Please don’t hear me saying to sit down and be quiet. Arguably, our culture is lacking wisdom and discernment because too few critical thinkers are sharing their voices out of fear. Important things are worth taking a respectful stand.
Truth spoken in love with humble boldness is imperative to fight for what matters. Not thoughts, feelings, and opinions (our own or others), but truth. If cancellation is the result of speaking or living the right hard thing, then so be it. In the end, Truth always wins.
Remember, power is best used for good when under control.
Emily Saunders - Keeper