Whenever I see a notification that she’s left me a message, I brace myself. Usually, she takes issue with something I’ve written, and wants to correct my faulty thinking. Of course, I believe she has the faulty thinking, so we generally message past each other as we stubbornly double down on our respective positions.
I thought of her a few days ago when John and I had our morning devotions together. We’ve been going through Proverbs, learning the value of godly wisdom. Chapter 16 talks quite a bit about human arrogance in contrast to God’s sovereignty and righteous judgment. One verse in particular grabbed my attention.
All the ways of a man are pure in his own eyes,
but the Lord weighs the spirit. ~~Proverbs 16:2 (ESV)
Immediately I thought of my online adversary. “She thinks she’s so right in always correcting me,” I muttered to myself, “but the Lord sees her angry, self-righteous spirit.” I comforted myself with the prospect of God humbling her. He could see the nastiness in her attitude, and I could trust Him to deal appropriately with her in His time.
As the morning progressed, however, the Holy Spirit started working on me. Perhaps my ways weren’t all that pure either. Perhaps the Lord would weigh my spirit instead of weighing hers. I hadn’t once considered either possibility.
The longer I pondered the situation, the more I began seeing how my posts probably make her feel. In all our heated interchanges, I’d never considered that my presentations may have come across as combative, almost forcing her to come at me with anger and aggression. Granted, she also vehemently disagrees with my beliefs, but I think that I can all too often express my beliefs with insensitivity. Thus, my ways lack purity and require the Lord to weigh my spirit.
Does that fact automatically exonerate my online nemesis? Probably not. But again, it’s the Lord, not I, Who weighs her spirit. Although everyone online sees her anger (and a couple of people from my church have privately commented to me about it), only He understands what lies behind her anger. As a result, He will weigh her heart in His perfect timing and manner. He will, I believe, deal with her in gentleness and mercy (as He has with me), but He indeed will hold her accountable.
Meanwhile, He doesn’t owe me any explanation for her hostility; He commands only that I pray for her and that I do my best to state my positions as gently as I can. And I must remember that even though all my ways seem pure to me, the Lord weighs my spirit.