But I made a grievous error a year ago that recently escalated into my vilification. While I attempted an apology - replete with some explanation and a "sad smiley" (I was not so dumb as to not see how I had offended the person) what I got in return was character assassination (bigot, fool, etc.)
In other words, when the Spirit told me "Don't do it." I should have listened to Him. (Yeah. I got a spiritual "heads-up" before I gave my apology.)
Just so you understand the level of vitriol, the forum administrator came in and closed the thread, stating that this bashing was inappropriate and were exercising their "rarely used mod powers" to stop it.
Afterwards, I asked that my account be fully deleted, seeing that I was not doing what I was called to do on that forum - reach men with God's love in Christ - and knowing that Jesus DID say "If your [good thing, say your eye] causes you to sin [disobey my commands to love], cut it out [cancel your subscription, exit stage right, get the Hades out of there]."
So I left, a bit ashamed. But there was a good note: two people saw this as my good attempt to make right what I did wrong, so that was a positive.
I've been angry, ashamed, hurt, repentant, angry, sorry, upset, etc. in cycles every time I think on this. Today I got some peace. In fact, I started to laugh.
What did they accomplish by attacking me? My freedom.
What did Jesus say? "If they won't listen to you or your words, shake the dust off your feet when you leave that [people group]."
So their vilification gave me a reason to 1) Practice humility, and 2) Obey Jesus.
By obedience, we conquer our pride, and we conquer our shame, too.
Even Buddhists understand this. When a young monk watched as a man insulted his master, he was astounded at the master's calm demeanor.
"Master?" he asked. "How can you stand there as he says such vile things?"
"My son," replied the master, "if a man offers you a gift and you do not accept it, whom does it belong to?"
I'm afraid everything said about me is true, at least on occasion. But it is also true that God approves of me and has paid for me. He loves me and corrects me.
"Brothers, if we say we have not sinned, we lie and the truth is not in us."I admitted my sin. They just spewed more hate.
"Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, who walk not according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit."
"If we are faithful and confess our sins [say we are wrong], He is faithful and just to forgive us and cleanse us from all unrighteousness."
Which is more godly, I ask?
And if they judge me, who will judge them?
So I'm laughing today. I know it may sound cruel, but if you knew the "Fear of Jacob" like I do, you would be shaking your head. God doesn't mind if we screw up, but when you kick the guy apologizing to you in the teeth, you may find a terrific lesson coming your way.
"Do not fear men who can kill the body but after that do nothing. Fear Him who can throw both body and soul into hell. Yes, I tell you fear Him!"
Exit stage right.