Earlier today, something interesting happened after I tweeted out a link to one of my most recent articles (“Ted Cruz Solidifies Christian Conservative Vote: Endorsed By More Than 200 Faith Leaders”).
One Twitter user — who had never responded to any of my tweets as far as I know — responded angrily:
Normally, I would have blasted this person for responding in such a hate-filled way. I’d call her a “troll” and dismiss her as a leftist lunatic. Perhaps I’d throw a few insults her way, and then simply laugh her off.
However, before opening Twitter this morning, I read a bit in my Bible. One of the things that stuck out to me was this quote:
So when I read this woman’s tweet, I immediately realized that this was one of those moment in which God calls upon us to show to Him, ourselves, and others that our faith is alive and well. We do that by performing “good deeds,” not by making fun of people and ridiculing them.
I then started to think a bit more about this person I’ve never met and with whom I’ve never interacted before. Why would a person like that respond so angrily to what is obviously a very calm, respectful tweet?
My answer was: she’s probably filled with hate, anger and perhaps even insecurities. Her response was a sign that all is not well in her life. Without knowing her, it was clear to me that she was troubled and spiritually ill. After all, a person filled with love and happiness would never lash out like that.
Getting angry with a person like that, or even insulting her, isn’t useful. Instead, it’ll just reinforce her beliefs about conservative followers of Christ being hatemongers. She needs help — help from the only person who can help someone like her: Jesus.
So, instead of blasting her, I decided to do something that Jesus calls us to do in many places in the New Testament: bless those who curse us and love our enemies.
After that I prayed for her and asked God to open her heart to His wisdom and His love, and to comfort her in her obvious distress.
The response I got shocked me — although it shouldn’t have:
That’s it. No anger at all, just a short “thank you.” The hatred she had for me only a few minutes earlier had dissipated before my eyes.
Now, a few minutes later she got fired up again by some of her fellow Bernie Sanders supporters and she once again lashed out at me for being a Ted Cruz supporter, but it proved to me that God orders us to bless our enemies not only because doing so is healthy and good for our own souls, but because it allows Him to do His amazing work in others. We basically set Him to work — not just on our behalf, but on His own. Whether they are (and remain) open to it is their decision; what we do is open the door to God, at least just a bit.
Not all our enemies will suddenly start loving us when we pray for them, but we are engaged in a spiritual battle — one that can only be won with spiritual weapons. The weapons we have available to us are God’s Word, prayer, love, and good deeds.
If we want to be warriors for Christ, we need to use those weapons whenever we are given the opportunity to do so. It’s easy to hate people back. It’s Christ-like to do the opposite and love those who hate us… even when they eventually turn on us again.
Disclosure: Michael van der Galien is new to the Christian faith. He accepted Jesus as his personal Lord and Savior only a few months ago, after having been a Sufi Muslim for nine years. You can follow him on Twitter and on Instagram, where he posts quote from his daily Bible study.