We saw, yesterday, the surreal spectacle of the entire might of Boston Police Dept., hundreds of officers, hunting down Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, a lone 19 year old teenager, whose murders and maimings at the Marathon and later were unquestionably evil.
But I found myself thinking of a terrified fox, its heart bursting with exhaustion, followed by a hunt, tireless men on horses, with well rested dogs. Obviously, I didn’t want more murders, but with the human instinct to side with the underdog, I thought of his terror, felt sorry for him, and found myself praying for him.
My laptop was at hand, so I tweeted, “Let’s also pray for Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, a misguided, terrified Chechen boy hunted by the entire might of the US!”
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Oh my goodness! I was astonished by the reaction. I was characterized with filthy, filthy language I cannot bring myself to repeat; people hoped he would murder my family. People asked if I were crazy, suggested that I …oh incredible, abusive language. (Interestingly, apparently the abusive people weren’t even following me, but saw retweets).
Roy said it was if I lobbed a hand grenade into a mob, and just stood there. He said, “You must have expected it.”
I honestly did not. If anyone’s hung out a lot with Jesus and his words, there is nothing astonishing about praying for an individual hunted by hundreds. If this were a movie, presumably people would be crossing their fingers for him. It’s praying for our enemies; it’s what keeps us balanced and human and keeps our angry, limited hearts sane. Yes, praying for your enemies—it keeps you sane, and keeps your heart sweet.
I deleted the tweet within ten minutes, but it had been retweeted, and so I got some abuse for hours. Block. Block. Block. Delete. Delete. Delete.
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What stuns me most is that I honestly did not see it coming. Would I have tweeted it if I did? Not directly, no. Who wants to expose yourself to upset? But if I felt Christ wanted me to say it, I would have tweeted a direct quote from his words. Hey, you said it first, Jesus. Let them take it up with you.
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Instead I prayed a different prayer (privately this time!). Lord, give me wisdom in social media.
And mentally slowed down, imagined myself kneeling before Jesus, imagined his hands on my head, my brain, and particles of his divine power coursing from his hands through my head, through my brain, changing it.
And I got up smiling, knowing my prayer had been answered. I would be wise in social media. Which doesn’t mean that I would be immune to anger and hostility and negativity and criticism on social media (or life)–for who is? It just that I would use words not carelessly or foolishly, but with wisdom, reflection, and deliberation, as a power for good (and then, one can withstand negativity).
My prayer would be answered, instantly—or gradually. Though it might need to be prayed again. And again.
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49 The royal official said, “Sir, come down before my child dies.”
50 “Go,” Jesus replied, “your son will live.”
The man took Jesus at his word and departed. 51 While he was still on the way, his servants met him with the news that his boy was living. 52 When he inquired as to the time when his son got better, they said to him, “Yesterday, at one in the afternoon, the fever left him.”
53 Then the father realized that this was the exact time at which Jesus had said to him, “Your son will live.” ” (John 4 49-53).
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Taking Jesus at his word, the sublime simplicity of faith.
How easy it makes our spiritual lives. Ask and you shall receive. Ask, leave the package of desire in his hands, and go on your way.
For you have left it in very good hands. “This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. 15 And if we know that he hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of him.” (I John 5: 14-15)
And so, in simple faith, I know I will be wiser in social media.