Russ Ray

Trying to become more like Jesus

What do you say?

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Oh give thanks to the Lord; call upon his name; make known his deeds among the peoples! Sing to him; sing praises to him; tell of all his wondrous works! Glory in his holy name; let the hearts of those who seek the Lord rejoice! Seek the Lord and his strength; seek his presence continually! Remember the wondrous works that he has done, his miracles and the judgments he uttered—1 Chronicles 16:8-12 (ESV)

I tweeted something yesterday. I’ve done it thousands of times before with little or no fanfare.

I didn’t think much about the tweet… just something I caught while I was in my Bible time and wanted to share.

I wasn’t too shocked when I got a response right away. Twitter is full of robots, after all. For example, if you ever mention Robocop in a tweet, you either get this:

Or this:

Neither make much sense if you haven’t seen Robocop.

But here is the response I got:

My initial reaction was to be insulted. I was trying to be encouraging, and here was this stranger (no doubt an atheist) going into business for himself on my tweet stream. I should have responded immediately with an angry retort, let him get in a response back so I know he read it, and then block him for good.

But then 7 words kept echoing in my head:

“beautiful friend”

“30 and pregnant”

“suddenly died”

When someone’s real pain is involved, it’s not so easy to fire back with both barrels, is it? What do you say to someone who’s grieving and angry?

I prayed on the way to work. I thought all morning what my response should be. This was going to be the most important 140 characters I had written in a while, because my response could dictate what Simon thinks of Jesus going forward.

In reality, I could offer no response that would bring comfort, encouragement, or truth in that small of a space, so the best I could muster was this:

To me, that statement acknowledges three things:

1. I don’t know Simon well enough to preach to him from across the Atlantic Ocean about a very personal issue.

2. I don’t know about the grieving process enough to empathize with what he is experiencing, besides the fact that it is severe.

3. The door is always open.

Still not sure that I handled it adequately, but I’m glad that I didn’t go with the easily-offended kneejerk reaction that I initially had.

Have you ever faced a similar challenge (either face-to-face or virtually, like this)?

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