…Just once in a while. Some television personality will make a slightly insulting comment about Christianity, or an organization will kind of make fun of Christians, or an artist will make a mildly blasphemous piece of art or music.
And some Christians will kind of, sort of overreact.
Now, I just called Christians out on something that a lot of us do. I know what you’re thinking already. Some of you are thinking, “Overreact? Christians don’t overreact at all! HOW COULD YOU SAY THAT AND BE A CHRISTIAN?”
I see all the things out there that you do, people that degrade Christianity. I get emails on a semi-regular basis from people making pretty amazing accusations about my life, thoughts, motivations, spirituality, maturity, and awesomeness. It doesn’t matter how many I get, they mess with me a little bit. I want to react negatively. But it never does any good.
There’s a lot of ways that Christians can react to haters. I’ve come to think that more than almost anything, people are defined by how they react to criticism. There’s a lot of good ways. And then there’s the ways that just reinforce all the negative stereotypes, the reactions that trip us up, make us failures.
Here’s my list of ways to fail at reacting to criticism.
Get really offended…all the time.
There’s no better way to react to criticism than to take it extremely personally. Really, when in doubt, make a federal case out of everything. Christians should constantly be acting like they are just finding out there are non-Christians out there somewhere. Everything all non-Christians do should shock and offend the delicate sensibilities of any Christian. Just to be safe, a Christian should probably be offended by most other Christians too. Your list of offensive things should resemble the length and detail of the list of items banned by airlines. The more often a Christian gets offended, the easier it will become to stay offended for long periods of time, when high-endurance offense is necessary.
Being offended should start to bleed over into normal relationships too. Some people say there’s something called “constructive criticism.” That sounds like an oxymoron to me, and I don’t tolerate oxymorons, or any other kind of morons. I only listen to someone when they have a constructive compliment for me. Honestly, I figure anyone would have a hard time coming up with constructive criticism when there’s so many more constructive compliments they could give me. But I digress…
Are you really mad, yet? Mad, like you’re to the point of hysterics? Like if people saw you in the street, they’d point at you and wonder if they should call the police to report an escaped mental patient? Good. Have you had time to think out a well-qualified statement of response? No? Good, fire away. Any pause to think about what to say is only a sign of weakness. Best to fire from the hip. Shoot now, ask questions later.
YELL REALLY LOUDLY!!!!!11
There’s nothing like a good old fashioned shouting match. Whether people are discussing abortion, war, gay rights, immigration, or anything slightly controversial, a point is always better served loud. Better yet, throw together a hastily made sign with an equally offensive slogan to prove your point and go protest at some event so everyone will know what a genius you are.
It’s tough to get offended by something on the internet, because you can’t yell at people as in the good old days. Still, when answering a critic online, it’s best to just tap the caps lock key…and punch the keys really hard as you type. It’s kind of like slamming a phone down.
Has anyone noticed you can’t give a cell phone a good satisfying slam? That’s unfortunate. If a guy can’t berate some peon subordinate on his cell phone while on a crowded public bus, and then punctuate his anger with a good loud slam of the reciever, than I don’t know what we can count on anymore.
You’re going to hell.
This is the ace in the hole. This is the final strike. While reacting in anger toward your adversary, remember that you are taking the moral high ground, and thus you are the winner. The best way for someone to come to your side is to remind them that God hates them, and He will continue to until the person shapes up.
Remember, you don’t have to limit yourself on who you say is going to hell. Is there some Christian who disagrees with you? He’s going to hell. Did that inconsiderate woman cut you off in traffic? She’s going to hell. Is that kid crying annoyingly because he dropped his ice cream cone? He’s going to hell. Chances are, if someone is doing something you don’t like, they are going to hell, and should be informed of that fact in one way or another.
The hell card is another one that only gets better the more you use it. Don’t be shy about it. Paint with it in broad strokes like an artist creating happy trees across a landscape. If one person is going to hell, chances are anyone remotely like them is going to hell too. Everyone loves broad generalizations and stereotypes, so please help keep them alive.
Throwing the hell card down also absolves you from any thoughts you might have that your adversary makes a good point. Why would you take someone seriously who’s going to hell? They’re decieved by the devil. Satan is clouding their judgement and they just can’t see how amazing you are in every way. Plus you are reinforcing all the stereotypes people have about Christians being intolerant and judgmental. Win – win.
That’s my list of ways to over-react and I’m sure there’s a lot more. What other ways can people fail at reacting to criticism at work, home or church?