No one wants to be criticized or have someone hate on them. Not only is it hurtful, but it can also create a lot of anxiety. This is especially true when you haven’t done anything wrong and are being misrepresented. So how should you respond to the bad ‘Yelp reviews’ in life?
No matter how much you try to get along with people, there is always going be that someone who isn’t your fan. You can’t avoid it! It is inevitable you are going to get a bad Yelp review by someone at some point in your life! In fact, if you are walking with Jesus, it will probably happen on a semi-regular basis. (John 15:18-19) So what do you do? How should you respond?
1. Don’t Go Into Defense Mode
Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. Romans 12:17
The temptation whenever your are offended or hurt by someone is to defend yourself. These defensive strategies can come in many packages (e.g. lash out, criticize, gossip, avoid, etc.). All of these are ways to level the playing field and make sure the bad Yelp reviewer is put in their place. The problem with a defensive mode is you run the risk of making things worse. In other words, “hurt people often hurt people”, and when you operate from a defensive posture the situation is more likely to get worse than better.
Instead, scripture says to “give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all”, which means you need to slow down and broaden your perspective beyond you. It also means considering the implications of how you “feel” like responding. What will it accomplish if you lash out, criticize, avoid, etc.? You will find more often than not, your immediate response will probably be sinful (i.e. evil) and lead to more confrontation and opposition. So instead of defense mode, slow down and consider the implications, then move into the next verse in Romans.
2. Make Attempts to Reconcile
If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. Romans 12:18
When someone is being hurtful or offensive toward you, this highlights a frustration or disconnect. The only way to help the situation is to get to the bottom of the issue and explore what is really going on. Unless this happens, there will never be peace, only truce. This is where, as Christians, we are called to make attempts to reconcile. Jesus highlights this same truth in Matthew 5:23-24, where He states how it doesn’t even matter who’s at fault.
In other words, you are to make attempts at reconciliation even if you haven’t done anything wrong! That’s right, you are called to reach out to a bad Yelp reviewer and see if there is anything you can do to help the situation. Obviously, this will be impossible if you are still in a defense mode, so that must dealt with first. But once you are through that, then try to reconcile. Remember, Romans 12:18 states, reconciliation may not always be possible, but at least you make the attempt.
One last tip, be sure to treat people how you would want to be treated. (Matthew 22:39) Be a good listener, try to understand their perspective, and apologize for anything you might have done to contribute to the situation regardless if they are willing to or not (i.e., “so far as it depends on you”). One additional warning, the goal is not peace at all cost! You don’t want to fake, placate, or compromise God’s word in order to bring about peace. This is actually sinful (i.e. evil) and God will not honor that approach.
So let’s not contribute to the contentious critical noise of today’s culture but instead handle opposition by becoming peacemakers as we entrust our lives to Jesus, the Prince of Peace!
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