It's been a difficult couple of weeks, for many reasons. Compared to many people, I have no reason to whine, and I promise not to--at least, not much! However, I am physically tired, mildly ill, fed up with the hellish heat that is inescapable at the height of the eight-month Texas summer, trying to recover from an overwhelmingly heavy workload last week, and worn down by a rather silly yet sad online situation. I'm praying on all counts. It's the latter issue that I have a need to "process" right now. This problem centers around some really bizarre, pathetic harrassment by someone who, due to her thinking I'm someone I'm not, has decided to smear me.
So far, "Psalmist" is fine. It's my other blog persona, which I keep totally separate from this one, that is being targeted. If she ever discovers this blog, I will have to take fairly drastic action. She comments to the other blog every day, sometimes several times, always in a manner almost certainly calculated to violate the comments guidelines that I had to post because of her VERY inappropriate comments. She is also the reason I had to resort to full comment moderation for the blog. I'd just yank the thing down, except that it's a ministry of sorts; I work hard to keep it safe for people to tell stories about a specific kind of experience, in the hopes that they grow stronger in the telling. Perhaps the unacceptable situations they tell about will improve as a result as well.
My biggest problem isn't actually with the person spamming and attempting to control the comments. My problem is my own attitude. It's very easy to become exasperated and, in that state, one of my worst faults--sarcasm--can escape if I'm not very careful. What to do?
Well, as I said, I pray. This series of unpleasant interactions has been the impetus for MUCH prayer! And sometimes prayer is answered quickly, in a way we can recognize and put to good use. That happened this evening. While praying over yet another comment that clearly needed to be rejected (calling someone--me--a "terr0rist" is against the guidelines. [Sorry about the zero, but I don't want keyword searches to help her make a connection to this blog!]) I know what the individual looks like, from a few months back when I stumbled onto her husband's ministry website. Just a short time ago, God blessed me with a vision, of a sort I get now and then, in which I saw this middle-aged woman as a little girl of about two or three years old. Tiny, dimple-faced, curly dark hair and laughing smile and eyes. Altogether adorable. And as has happened before, when there is conflict with someone, God has made it clear that *this* is how the Almighty sees this precious little one...and in my personally unique toddler version, how God sees me, as well. We're just little children in the sandbox of this sin-riddled world. Some of us play better with others than the rest do. Some are enfants terribles. Yet the sandbox is the only place for us to play together.
What this vision taught me is that God, the quintessential "permissive parent," doesn't issue time-outs or other kinds of punishment, nor are we spared the consequences of our spats. God also doesn't delegate punishment or manipulation of consequences to me. So while the "reject comment" button is my responsibility to use wisely and impartially, that's all that's necessary. I don't need to respond in any other way. I need to be prepared to graciously publish any comments that may, in the future, conform to the guidelines, even if they are constructively critical of me. And I don't need to feel guilty for rejecting a comment in which I'm accused of things I haven't done and in which I'm called a "terr0rist." I'd do it in a heartbeat for anyone else; I don't need to hesitate when I'm the target.
There she is again. Bouncy curls and charming smile. Chubby knees and ruffled socks with mary janes. Pretty red dress. High-pitched, musical laugh. Ah...no wonder her Creator treasures her so! Not only the beauty of a lovely little girl, but the beauty of an eternal soul, bought at the highest possible cost. Dear Lord, help me to see this daughter of yours as you see her, no matter how wide a barrier sin may erect between us. Please grant me the grace of this image every time I am tempted to "give her what she deserves." And would it be too much to ask that her heart may be softened as well, especially toward the dear child she has mistreated for such a long time? Her horrible words to her break my heart; I know they're devastating to the one she targets with them. Heal us, heal us all, O Great Physician. May the peace you promised, not of this world, flood our hardened hearts and melt away all our strife. For your own sake I ask it. Amen.