Blockin' Out The Haters & Finding Peace In Divine Mercy

Thursday, April 13, 2017

I was sitting up in bed tonight, listening to music on my phone and scrolling through social media (as I often do), when I came across a comment someone had left on my blog's 'Contact Me' page that I, for whatever reason, had not noticed before.

This person who commented did not like me or my blog, haha. That was obvious. He called me "a character," accused me of white privilege, and shamed me for "backtracking" after a piece I wrote in my full time writing position for a political blog online.

 This isn't the first hateful comment that's been directed at me on the internet, nor will it be the last. Especially in my current job, I've been on the receiving end of more than a handful of nasty tweets and social media comments. It's simply in the nature of being a political writer today. I think most of my colleagues would agree that this is true.

 It's a little ironic though, because as I find myself on the receiving end of such comments online, I'm reminded that I've been the subject of similar scrutinies in my personal life—my real life—as well. Recent events have increased my awareness of a truth I've been vaguely privy to for some time, and have given it a greater foothold than it has had in the past: that some people just don't like me.

 I've always had a strong personality. Growing up, that fact won me both friends and enemies. Kids can be mean. Like, really mean. I got a little taste of that in junior high. Sometimes, I feel like those same opinions of my character have followed me - first, into high school. Then, into college—and now, most recently, into my mid-twenties.

 That seems silly, right? It seems silly that I could feel threatened by the same voices that spoke out of turn when I was 12 and 13—more than a decade ago. But for those of us who've had this kind of experience, in whatever form it takes, I think it's important to find peace here.

 I said recently in a Facebook post: There will always be people in this life who do not especially like us. There will always be people who are judgmental, or rude, or who gossip, and there will always be people who are just simply mean. But we have to find peace in this place. We have to find peace in the knowledge that the Lord sees into our hearts. 1 Kings 8:39 says "...for You alone know the hearts of all the sons of men." We have to find peace here—in this place where the Lord's opinion is the only one that matters.

 Sometimes how others treat us is more about them, but sometimes, it really is about us. Humility starts when we accept our own weaknesses and leave them at the foot of the cross, where Christ reminded us that His power is perfected in those weaknesses. And that's what confession is for: to actively pursue that humility, that awareness of our own imperfections and our own inclinations to sin, so we can pick up and try again tomorrow.

 Peace in this truth gives us freedom. Because once we realize the truth, which is that only the Lord's opinion matters, and that our worth is founded in HIM—not in what others' think or say of us—we are free to be "in the world but not of the world." We are free to live with the approval of the Lord in mind, rather than the approval of the world and our peers.

 Whenever a fellow sister or priest criticized another to Mother Teresa, it is said she often met their gossip with something to the effect of: "I'm sure if you or I had been in their situation, we would have done much worse." We would do well to seek the best in people's hearts and pardon the wrongs they commit. The mercy of the Lord is limitless; our mercy for one another should aim to achieve this same goal.

I'm a far from perfect person. I deserve much of the scrutiny that's thrown my way. I am hopeful in the Lord, however, who sees my heart and hears my confession. I believe in His love, I believe in His mercy, and I'm grateful His cross has made all things new.

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