Learning to Turn the Other Cheek (Even Though I HATE Critics)

Donald Miller

Something funny happens when you write books and a lot of people read them. Life gets strange. Really strange. You start having conversations with people who feel like they know you but they also know they don’t, so they just look at you and are slightly confused but don’t know why. I really want to figure out something to do in those moments because I never know what to do either. I might start singing, or just hold their hand and stare into their eyes. Not sure.

The thing that was the hardest to get used to, though, and I swear it’s true, is that when you have any kind of notoriety people honestly feel like they have the right to be mean to you. Seriously. They will write a blog or a tweet and twist your words around or take your ideas to an extreme to make them look stupid and then call you stupid. And that’s fine and that’s not a problem because we all went through that in junior high, but the no fun part is you can no longer punch back. In junior high you could just find them in the hallway and have a “conversation” and it would end, but when you write books about the grace of Jesus it gets harder to call people morons on Twitter without making yourself look bad.

Here’s how it goes:
1. I write a blog or send some tweet with a thought.
2. Somebody writes a “response” that is filled with vague, passive insults.
3. I respond in an angry way.
4. They play victim and act confused as though they were only sharing their opinion.
5. I pace around in the backyard wishing I was still in junior high and I could just smash somebody’s head against the locker (okay, I never did that in junior high. I mostly ate donuts I kept in my pocket and tried not to be noticed.)

*Photo by speakerchad, Creative Commons

Anyway, here’s the point. People who teach stuff about Jesus are going to be judged more harshly. That’s just a Biblical truth. It stinks but God has no problem with it.

I’ll usually turn the other cheek about 90% of the time unless I’ve had a glass of whiskey or didn’t get a good nights sleep the night before. And then I feel like an idiot.

All in all, it’s a terrific trade. I love what I do, and even though I hate “pretending” I’m not mad because that feels fake, I am starting to do a better job turning the other cheek and accepting the responsibility that comes from deciding to talk about Jesus. If you want to talk about Jesus, just be ready. It’s coming. And when it comes, remember, they’re attacking you because you’re leading. Don’t take it personally, if you can help it.

All that to say, if you insulted me recently and then played the victim when I called you on it, I’m really sorry. I’m not sorry like I’m sorry, I’m sorry but more like that cost me something and I wish I wouldn’t have done that because now I look bad.

Maybe someday I’ll feel bad for real. Maybe someday we can eat donuts together. I’ll keep them warm.

Donald Miller

Donald Miller

Donald Miller is a student of story. He helps people live a better story at Storyline through this blog and the Storyline Conference. He helps leaders grow their businesses at StoryBrand, where they get an entire marketing education in 2 days at his Workshop. Donald lives in Nashville, Tennessee, with his wife, Betsy, and their chocolate lab, Lucy. For regular updates, follow Don on Twitter (@donaldmiller) and Instagram. To read more of his posts on the Storyline Blog, click here.