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Being virtual salt and light

Week 2

Today we’re going to look at a sample comment (below in the Blue text) that I wrote in response to the George Zimmerman/Treyvon Martin case, when racial tensions were being, shall we say, encouraged by the media.

Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” (Romans 12:21 ESV)

First off, I do not believe that most white people, or most black people either, are racists. Yes, there are some white people who hate blacks just because of the color of their skin. And there are some black people who hate whites just because of the color of their skin. But if someone does hate you because of the color of your skin, you will never overcome that by hating them back. At best, you will keep that hate alive and poison yourself with it. At worst, the hate will multiply and infect future generations who never would have hated anyone if they had not been taught to hate.

You will never overcome evil with more evil, any more than you can put out a fire by throwing gasoline on it. You overcome evil with good. At a minimum, be careful not to give any reasonable person anything resembling a legitimate reason to either hate or fear you. That just reinforces the stereotypes we’re trying to get rid of. But if you really want to overcome evil, then find a way to do good to those who hate you.

Will that work with everyone? Of course not! Some people are so twisted and bitter that they will go to their graves hating others no matter you do. But fighting evil with good will do more to overcome the blindness of prejudice and quench the fires of hated than all the counter-hatred in the world.

Now, of course, this is just one example. You don’t always have to include a scripture reference. Your response doesn’t have to be this long (two or three sentences will often have more impact than a dozen wordy paragraphs).

Today’s homework – pick out a news article and write a sample response. Don’t worry if it’s not perfect. We’ll work on some ways to improve as we go along. You don’t need to actually post anything online, yet. Just get it on screen, or on paper, where you can look at it.

One of the big dangers of electronic communication is that it’s far too easy to tap out a reply on your keyboard, and hit “send” before you’ve had a chance to think about what you’ve said. Start getting in the habit of writing first, taking time to look at what you wrote, and then consider if that’s really what you wanted to say. Go get a cup of coffee, think about it, try to consider it from the other person’s point of view. Some words, once spoken, cannot be easily taken back. Words posted online can be read by the whole world, and may haunt you for years to come (hint: if you ever get sued in court, the other side’s attorney may dig up everything you’ve ever posted online. So never post anything you’d have difficulty explaining to a police officer or jury). Have you ever said something to a friend, or spouse, that you wished you could take back? Have you ever tried to explain something, and had your words totally misunderstood? Or had something you said taken out of context? That’s what you’re looking for before you post anything online.

Please note that some people will deliberately misquote you, and twist whatever you say and try to use it to attack or discredit you (I’m sure there are some people who would read the above posting and accuse me of being a racist). That can’t be avoided. Your job is to make sure that reasonable people can clearly see that you are the one speaking in love, and judge for themselves who is ranting against you in hate. More about that in my next posting.