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Stop Whining!

Sat, Jan. 21, 2017 Posted: 09:01 PM

The title of a Christianity Today article from the year 2000 stuck in my mind and became a mantra of mine: “Get Thou Over It!” As author Jody Vickery wrote,

We believers are the most offended, wounded, upset, shocked, thunderstruck, consternated, and (the enduring favorite) outraged group of people on the planet. Is there something in the baptismal waters that makes Christians thin-skinned? Once I even read a letter from a correspondent that began, “My wife … was disturbed.” Well, pardon me. Didn’t mean to disturb the Mrs.

The problem has only gotten worse since the turn of the millennium. Like our society in general, evangelicals are taking offense at the slightest provocation, and the proliferation of Internet comment wars has produced hordes of appalled and insulted and dismayed Christians.

Did someone challenge a cherished belief of yours? Is it worth getting so worked up about it that your relationship with him is damaged? Did someone say something to you that feels hurtful? Chances are the person didn’t mean to hurt you. And even if she did, is it worth getting your panties all in a wad and letting it ruin your day? Do online commenters mock your faith? It is to be expected. But does your indignation reflect the message of the gospel?

You can’t control the nasty things other people say (although I don’t hesitate to call on the carpet the ones making the obnoxious statements). And you can’t help feeling the way you feel when you are the object of rude, demeaning, or offensive words. But you can choose not to take offense, not to retaliate, and not to brood over the insult in such a way that it makes you simmer inside.

And while you’re getting over “it,” try to get over your­self. In the words of Tony Gaskins, “The biggest hurdle in life is getting over yourself. Once you get over yourself, you can get anywhere.” Humor can be a good tool to defuse a sit­uation; making fun of yourself takes the punch out of some­one else’s attempt to ridicule you.

So if your outrage is a reaction to a personal affront, you need to suck it up and let it go or deal with it in a constructive way. If it is righteous anger, find a way to chan­nel it for good. As Jody Vickery says, “You could fuel enough furnaces for a Minnesota winter if scientists could find a way to con­vert all that religious indignation into a useful energy source.” When you feel the dismay or resentment rising, let it be a cue to seek a positive response and to call to mind this mantra: Get thou over it!

Diane Castro