It was an interesting online conversation.
A pretty well-known personality fielded questions about a published article. As always, comments ranged from helpful and educational to silly. This one caught my attention.
“You’re not the smartest guy in the room, are you?”
In the online world, a snarky remark isn’t all that unusual. It was the response that stood out.
“My friend, I’ve never tried to be smart, but I always try to be _____.” (I intentionally omit his answer.)
And that’s where I froze, because it’s true. He really is smart, but his interactions consistently convey _____.
I stopped because I wondered about the impression my online work leaves. If someone knows me only from my blogs and social media, how would they describe me?
It’s not that I’m driven by others’ opinions. I’m not trying to win a popularity contest, but I do represent something bigger than myself. When I claim to follow Jesus, I know some people might decide who He is based on my words and actions. To me, that’s serious stuff.
So that’s what got me thinking – how would I complete the question? Setting aside my feeble attempts at sarcastic humor:
I always try to be empathetic.
I try to recognize that everyone has a story. I want people to believe I’m willing to understand their feelings and walk in their shoes.
Empathy isn’t my natural impulse. I’m wired, it seems, toward anger. My initial reaction is always to debate and argue.
I’m not sharing this because I think my online persona is a big deal. I hope you and I will take a moment to consider how we respond – online and in person – because relationships matter.
And because we don’t magically change who we are. I know I cannot do this on my own.
I need Jesus.
Just curious – how would you complete this sentence for yourself? I always try to be _____.