Fools for Christ: Loving kindly online

But a tiny spark can set a great forest on fire. And among all the parts of the body, the tongue is a flame of fire.
James 3:5-6

Toxic environments take their toll on us mentally, emotionally, psychologically, and even physically. The heaviness, the unending negativity, the spiritual suffocation… A way out or a way through becomes a lost hope as we try to live and love as best we can.

We each can remember a past or present situation that is toxic in this way. I’d like to offer for your reflection a new toxic space that is victimizing all of us unawares. That negative space is created online by trolls, people who purposely or out of habit comment in social media and online news and blog articles with language that is insensitive, emotionally charged, and self-serving. These people’s “tongue” is their keyboard through which they anonymously spew out ill-informed remarks that create a cycle of anxiety and shut down the hearts of those who have to read them.

It is the fool who realizes the power of the tongue that can burn down reputations, hopes and dreams, and heart that lives with the vulnerable loving kindness that is the call of the disciple of Christ. It is the fool with the foolishness of the crucified Master who prays for those they meet online–whether they are virtuous or harmful. It is the wise fool who closes a page that is “on fire” with angry or derogatory comments in order to preserve the joy of spirit that is the blessing of the Christian. It is the fool that writes and comments with hope, offering readers a ray of light and love.

Such foolishness has its blessing here in a spirit that remains peaceful and trusting in the face of everything, and hereafter when “the meek shall inherit the earth” (cf. Matthew 5:5).

by Sr. Kathryn J. Hermes, FSP


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