It’s Not Personal

 

I tread carefully when it comes to offering thoughts and opinions on controversial issues.  The recent election was no exception, keeping my personal beliefs off social media.  I’ve seen the destruction it can cause—the friendships broken up, the families torn apart and the degrading nature of the back and forth.

 

Yet somehow I still managed to get sucked into the virtual vortex of social media mayhem when I posted what I felt was a completely innocent bit of information.  Let me explain…

 

I belong to a Facebook neighborhood page, which is similar to a neighborhood block watch, social media-style.  Majority of posts deal with issues surrounding safety and crime.

 

One evening there were 4 squad cars (within my sight, which means there could have been more) and several police officers on our block.  My husband and I stepped outside to see what was going on.  It was clear they were busy and not interested in having a lengthy conversation.  I was given a short description of the person they were looking for and that they would be searching through backyards.  We went back inside our home and that’s when I posted something about police activity and the description I was given.

 

It only took minutes before the post turned into a racial issue, which then morphed into a personal attack on me.  I was called a racist.  I was challenged on why I didn’t ask the police officers for a more detailed description.  Someone posted a picture of Trayvon Martin with the admonishment to “remember him.”  It quite literally got out-of-hand.  And just like that, I was sucked in.

 

It’s so easy to play defense when these types of things happen.  Being wrongly or falsely accused of something hurts.  Or it can stir feelings of anger (which was my initial reaction).  I couldn’t, for the life of me, understand how an informational post could turn into a racial conflict.

 

So I responded.  Not to the supportive comments but to those I viewed as ignorant.  I wasn’t going to let them get away with it.  The problem with this method is it doesn’t diffuse the situation.  And it certainly didn’t diffuse my emotions.

 

I know I’m not a racist.  I know it wasn’t my place to question the officers…I had to let them do their job.  And I know that the death of Trayvon Martin had absolutely nothing to do with what was happening on my block.

 

But I also know this nation is on edge.  We are at war with each other.  Hatred and division permeates our streets and yes, sadly, even our homes.  Yet this is a spiritual battle.  The people who made hurtful accusations against me…they are just flesh and blood.  Satan was using these circumstances to fuel a fire that I could have chosen to put out.  Eventually, I did just that by deleting the entire post.

 

This experience was a powerful reminder of Ephesians 6:12:  For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.

 

Regardless if it’s a disagreement on social issues, a conflict between a husband and wife, an argument with a co-worker or any other type of contention…stamp this on your heart:  DON’T TAKE IT PERSONAL, EVEN IF IT FEELS PERSONAL OR IT’S THE OTHER PERSON’S INTENTIONS TO MAKE IT PERSONAL.

 

The bottom line is that if we believe God’s Word, then we know that it’s a spiritual conflict.  And those can only be handled one way—through prayer.  It may not take away the sting of hurt or the feeling of rejection…but it will bring peace, not necessarily to the situation but it will to your heart.  It’s much easier to get out of yourself and stop the conflict from escalating by remembering Satan will do everything in his power to divide and destroy.  We have a choice to be part of his plan to create problems or part of God’s plan to create peace.

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