Thursday, July 22, 2010

Forgiving the Haters: Parental Discretion Advised

Parents: Please make sure young children are not viewing the screen with you as you read this blog post. Thanks.

Have you ever been faced with someone who outright hates you because you proclaim the Name of Jesus?

This week, I have met several of them on Twitter. In fact, although I had a Twitter account with 2,200 followers, I had to shut it down due to incessant harassment from these individuals.

I received photos like this, which I won't post here because it's so shocking, but go to this link:

I received messages like this on my blog:

"You do recognize that it's not the fantasy of a loving "deity" we're offended by. It's the crazy bitch who won't SHUT THE FUCK UP AND GET OUT OF OUR FACES. In other words, it's YOU."

And I received messages like this on Twitter:

"Jesus did not die for me, he should have asked first, I would have told him not to be an idiot. I forgive you for being a moron."

I watched as people pilfered through my blog posts like voyeurs, quoting, misquoting, maligning, criticizing, deriding. I was amazed that they went so far as to look up my contact information on my professional Web site and conspire to publish my phone numbers and call them (no longer good numbers, by the way). They came up with a Twitter hashtag campaign, WWHRD (What Would Heidi Raff(erty) Do?) to mock me and also talked about a parody Twitter account called Heidi Rat. They pulled up my body of work, magazine articles I've written during the past nine years, and circulated them to laugh at them.

Then, when I closed down my Twitter account and launched a new one with an incognito identity, they trolled through the timelines of known friends of mine on Twitter. They figured out who was talking to someone new and discovered my account. Then they published that account with my ID and continued their harassment throughout today.

Here's the thing.

They aren't attacking me.

Whether they know it or not, they are attacking the One who loves them.

Why do you think people go out of their way to harass one individual like that, with such venom and hatred? Why do you suppose they get upset when told, "God loves you," or, "Jesus died for you?"

Could it be that deep down, they hear the Voice of the One who seeks them, even in their bigotry, even in their darkest actions?


And here's what He brought to mind to me today, when all was said and done:

"You have heard that it was said, 'Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.'But I tell you, Do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if someone wants to sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. If someone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles. Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you.

"You have heard that it was said, 'Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.' But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your brothers, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? 48Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect." -- Matthew 5: 38-47


I will love my enemies.

I will pray for those who persecute me.

I will bless those who deride me.

I will pray for them, pray for their children, ask God to bless them and to wrap them in His arms.


He commands it.

And He loves them.

And I forgive them.

1 comment:

  1. I have a problem with myself. I don't worry about whether grown atheists are lost or not. I figure (and they respect me for it, I guess), if they are grown-ups, and they've done their homework, and they've concluded that Jesus' arrival on this planet was not some sort of singular event and that god doesn't exist (they reject the alternative, as they understand it, of an 'evil' god, forgetting that as soon as they reject god they've pretty much knocked the pins out from under any objective definition of 'evil') and gotten on with their lives.

    So I think: okay. At least they thought about it. Kudoes to them for that (Antitheistangie comes to mind).

    God may have an ace up his sleeve for later. I can't say. But, to those atheists who want a little intellectual respect and to be left alone in their POV, I say -- sure thing.

    And somehow still think this is a problem in me.