I got some fan mail on my website the other day. This beloved reader wanted to know who I was, um, being physically nice to at the paper so they would run my column. They also called me a hack and followed up their comments with a second missive, just as derisive as the first. Maybe they aren’t a fan after all.
I will admit, my first reaction was laughter. I imagined some chubby guy sitting in his mom’s basement in tighty-whiteys taking out his frustration with God, the church and the world in general by hammering out his post with his stubby Cheetos-stained fingers.
Once I got past that, I got sad. Not for me, for him.
What makes someone so angry that they would lash out at a total stranger with such ferocity? I have read all kinds of things that I didn’t like, but never felt the need to make a personal attack on someone because of it. I know a lot of people who were hurt by the church, Christian parents, or people who claimed to be Christians. They carry a grudge against God because of what people have done, never realizing that God is just as mad at the ones who hurt them as they are.
I also became sad because in our society we have allowed the bad to drown out the good. How sad is it that when someone is courteous to us in traffic that it surprises us? Shouldn’t it surprise when someone ISN’T courteous? Shouldn’t it be the norm that children behave in public rather than act like spoiled brats with no self-control? No, unfortunately we have let the inmates run the asylum. We have let the negatives scream so loudly, and bother us so muc,h that we forget to appreciate the good things around us.
When is the last time you told someone you appreciate them? Remnant has been doing a sermon series on Old Testament heroes like David, Samson and Moses. As a part of that series we are reaching out to local heroes to recognize them for their efforts. Most people in public service, whether it is politics, education or public safety often hear 100 negative comments to every positive comment. It is easy to get weary in well-doing when all you hear is a barrage of negative.
So take a moment this week and tell someone you appreciate them. Send your child’s teacher a nice card letting them know that you are appreciative that they watch your brat, I mean little angel, all day. Drop a note to the Sheriff, local Police Chief or Fire Chief, telling them thanks for keeping you and your family safe. Send your pastor an email letting them know that you are growing in Christ and thank them for their leadership.
Let’s do our best to reclaim the conversation by pointing out the positive instead of the negative. You’ll be surprised how much better your day goes when you see the good instead of concentrating on the bad.
As for my detractor, I guess what he doesn’t realize is that I didn’t start writing this column to make money. If I did I messed up, because I’ve never been paid by anybody for it! I don’t write it for fame, I am still as internationally unknown as I have ever been. I started writing all those years ago because I wanted to get a life-changing message of hope to people who need to hear it. He may hate it (and maybe even me), but he read it. I win.
Still hacking out columns… Jerry