Ow…Ow…Ow…You’ll have to excuse my metaphorical limping, but I was just crucified this morning.
See, I wrote this article on video games, talking about how choice-based games (where you choose the outcome at various points) are boring and gimmicky if that’s all they are.
Never, ever, EVER say anything on the internet unless you’re willing to be crucified for it. Because I was.
A wild gamer appeared and took me to task, and it was not pretty. This person hit me from every angle and hit me over and over again. I’ll be honest, it was not fair. I was accused of things that aren’t true, slotted as a homophobic knuckle-dragger who wasn’t a real gamer, and called a villain in no uncertain terms. Even when I apologized for offending this person, the attacks continued.
I was reminded of 300. “You will not enjoy this. This will not be over quickly.”
I make jokes, but I don’t think I can accurately convey how much this exchange wounded me. To be ridiculed, dismissed by my peers, whittled down to a stereotype, accused of such mindless and cruel things. I must have paced my room for an hour trying to deal with it.
Originally, I was going to leave the conversation at the commentor’s last blow. Any reply would have been out of pain and anger; I could not write a response and call myself a Christian.
Eventually, I had to drop to my knees and beg God to heal me. The wound was that bad. During that time, I was reminded of the Bible verses that say to pray for your enemies. I said, “I can’t do that right now. I’m in too much pain. I’ll do that later.”
Then I saw a vision of Jesus on the cross, saying “Father forgive them for they know not what they do.” (Luke 23:34) Then Jesus looked down at me and raised a wry eyebrow, as if to say, “Get it now?”
Side note: You’ll find God is rather sarcastic with me, but that’s just how we talk to one another.
Jesus prayed for his enemies on the FRIGGIN’ CROSS! And as a Christian, I’m supposed to imitate him, so…I tried praying. But shortly afterwards, I realized I had to do more.
I. Had. To. Apologize.
READ THAT AGAIN! I had to apologize to the person who was mean to me!!
Why? Because when you brush away the barbs, the snideness, and the judgement…she was right.
She accused me of being biased. And I was. She accused me of forgetting a whole demographic of gamers. And I did. She accused me of belittling her. And I had. All unintentionally, but that only proved my bias: I had no idea my words would hurt somebody–and entire group of somebodies, perhaps. I’d forgotten them.
But what about all the mean things she said to me? I remembered when Paul said, “Would you not rather be wronged?” (or cheated or defrauded, 1 Corinthians 6:7). And I felt Jesus asking me, “Can you take it?”
That’s when I realized my experience was remarkably similar to Jesus’s. I was beaten, mocked, scorned, falsely accused, unfairly treated, and hung up for the world to see (yeah, this was on Facebook). But Jesus could take being wronged because his life wasn’t about personal gain.
It was about doing what’s right. Could I swallow my pain, forgive and even ignore it, and press on to do what’s right?
Not without God I couldn’t. Thankfully, he was with me.
So I confessed to this person that they were right. I apologized for devaluing them as a gamer. And I even asked them to show me those games I had overlooked and even dismissed.
I just now checked to see if they replied. They did. They gave me a game suggestion and linked it to me. No sarcasm, as far as I can tell.
Is this person sorry for what they said? Don’t know, don’t much care. Christian life is not about telling everybody else they’re wrong; it’s about doing what’s right regardless of what the world says and does. Tweet that.
I didn’t write this to brag about how awesome I am. I’m not. As I said, Jesus is the awesome one. He’s the one who helped me take up my cross. He’s the one who deserve the high-fives here. Without Jesus, I would have made things far worse. He is the only one who is good. He’s the one who deserves your praise.
So yes, this experience was excruciating (haha, etymology joke), but now my pain is gone. I have walked with Christ and done the impossible. And I’ve pushed past a bias I didn’t know I had. And it’s possible, just possible, that I made a friend out of an enemy.
I hope you remember this story the next time someone humbles you without your permission. Pause. Pray. Ask God if there is truth in their accusation. Ask God how to respond. Bite the bullet, hug the cactus, grab that really hot car door handle that’s been in the sun all day.
Because when you walk with Jesus, crying turns into laughter.
UPDATE: After posting this I realize I’d missed an entire massive comment. The commentor gave me a BAZILLION suggestions and seems pretty happy. Only God!