To paraphrase Tim Kreider in an Op-Ed he wrote for the New York Times, “people love to feel right and wronged“. Particularly when it comes to social media, many people either want to be right or else they want to be offended. It’s easy to hate those you disagree with.
For those that are Christians, though, we’re explicitly told not to do that. Matthew 5:43-45 says:
You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor’ and ‘Hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.
Of course, “love” is different than “agreement”. You can show love for someone, and still disagree with what they believe. Loving your enemy doesn’t mean becoming obedient to them.
In his book Jesus Outside the Lines, author Scott Sauls sums it up well:
When the grace of Jesus sinks in, we will be among the least offended and least offensive people in the world.
Whether you’re a Christian or not, you have a choice. You can show grace, patience, and love in the face of those you disagree with, or you can choose to feel wronged and outraged. Social media seems to show most people choose the latter, but I encourage you to take a breath and respond in way you won’t later regret.