13 September 2013

Love Those Who Insult You

Sub Tuum.

Children are notorious for insulting other children. Schoolyard taunts, spreading rumors and gossip, and other forms of verbal cruelty are commonplace among children and youth. It is an unfortunate byproduct of the immature brain of a child. As children grow, their brain undergoes a process of maturation. This is a very delicate and impressionable time. Their inappropriate commentary and actions provide opportunity for parents and teachers to set boundaries and help the children learn and grow. Note that I say they provide an opportunity. Some completely abdicate their responsibilities or are forced to do so by societal pressure. The result typically is a lack of full development of the child into an adult. Sometimes, despite the best efforts of even the best parents and teachers, children don't fully mature emotionally, and they remain cruel and exhibit bullying behavior into adult life. Sometimes this is a lifelong pattern. 

More often than not, these adult bullies are highly insecure and seek to build themselves up by tearing someone else down. Have you ever achieved some sort of success or made an accomplishment, only to have someone immediately start attacking you for it and putting you down? Sometimes it is someone you don't even know or haven't heard from in awhile who comes out of the woodwork just to try to burst your bubble. I suspect if I asked all of you to raise your hands if you have experience adult bullying, I would see a lot of hands raised. 

The internet has greatly enabled these adult bullies. It is easy for them to troll the internet and post from the relative safety of internet anonymity. Many who wouldn't dare to say something to your face instead post it on the internet. How cowardly that is. Then again, that's what bullies are...cowards. As my mother always says (and your mother probably says it too), if you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all. 

As Christians, we should love and indeed pity those who insult us. That doesn't mean we should tolerate the behavior and "be a door mat." It does mean that our way of dealing with it must be rooted in Christ's love. Remember that our Lord said to love our enemy. Remember that Saint Stephen prayed for his persecutors even as he was being murdered. Pray for your persecutors. Pray for those who insult you and are cruel to you. Pity them for the tremendous void that is inside them and for the burden of cowardice that is their cross to bear. If someone hurls an insult at you, let it be to you like the flail was to our Lord during His Passion. Let that suffering you endure be for the poor souls in purgatory. Let yourself be taken up and be filled with the joy of Christ!