I think some people want to have enemies

I participate in a website called Quara.com. It’s a site where you can ask and answer questions. Any question on your mind. There’s often some really great questions that people pose. And other times, well, let’s just say they are leading questions where the person asking the question isn’t really interested in the answer.

I avoid the second type of questions – they usually lead nowhere good. But throw a really good question out there and I’ll bite. And read the other answers too – I’m interested to learn from other folks.

In the last week I took a shot at a question that I thought was a good question – it asked people to share their experience of changing from one way of thinking to another about politics. The folks who offered answers gave wonderful insight and were vulnerable. It didn’t matter if someone was sharing what caused them to go from conservative to liberal or from liberal to conservative. Folks were laying themselves out and sharing. It was great to see.

But not everyone thought that. There was one person who decided to attack folks. This individual decided that anyone who didn’t agree with them 100% was an enemy. I had some interaction with this individual. He decided to label me and belittle me. I didn’t take the bait though. I gave him the benefit of the doubt. He persisted in his attack. One of the things I told him was that I refused to see him as an enemy.

I don’t know what happened to him in the past that he decided to take people’s vulnerability in sharing and attack them, but I felt bad for him. I also don’t know how much time he devoted to attacking people who offered their experience, but several folks received his wrath. That’s just sad.

He wouldn’t back off either, always offering more vitriol. No matter how much mercy and grace I showed, he decided not to return the favor – instead seeing me as an enemy to be beaten and destroyed.

What do you do with someone who insists on seeing you as an enemy, when you refuse to see the person that way?

I think there are several things. 1. Realize that the person doesn’t know you. There’s no reason to have an emotional response to someone who does this especially when they don’t know you. It’s really not about you anyway. Something else has happened to this person that we don’t know about and they are lashing out anywhere they can.

2. Never respond in kind. Throwing it back in their face only escalates the situation and makes it worse. You have a choice as to how you will interact with people – especially strangers.

3. Offer grace and mercy. They don’t deserve it. So what. You don’t either. But you appreciate it when it is given to you. You may not change someone’s mind or heart – you don’t have control over that. But you do have control over your own heart and mind. I guarantee you’ll feel better about how you interact with people if you show grace and mercy, rather than anger.

4. If the person persists, find a way to get away. In this case, I reported the person to the admin. I don’t know what they will do, but I hope this person is removed so that no one else will have to suffer from being attacked. I don’t hope that in order to hurt this person. I hope that to prevent hurt from happening. And to free the person from being wound up and acting irrationally. Something triggered them and I’d say it is the most loving thing in the world to want what’s best for someone else – in this case that they aren’t going to go on and attack other people.

Some people just want to have an enemy. Some people don’t know how to define themselves except for identifying what they are not. That’s what enemies provide. Enemies also provide a scapegoat and someone to blame. They offer an outlet for anger, fear, rage, and more.

There are healthier ways to deal with these things. And I hope this individual is able to experience that. I pray that God would touch their heart and soften them so they can receive grace and mercy.

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