testimony

How to Be a Wonderful Online Neighbor [Satire]

[This is a satirical piece and based on my experience and observation in dealing with nasty, hate-filled people online.]


How to be a great online neighbor in 11 easy steps:

1) Make sure you comment on every single post, article, or thread that you disagree with and comment with as much vim and vigor as you’d need if your very life depended on the defense of your position. There’s no such thing as scrolling past an article, post or comment that you disagree with! Go into every conversation  with the intention of stirring things up. How else will you stay entertained?  

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2) Never allow anyone to have a different opinion than you do. You are 100% right all the time,  and no one is allowed to have an alternate opinion –not even on their own group, wall, blog, webpage, or social media page. Make sure they know you are the final authority on every topic –especially topics you know nothing about. This is vital. The true test is how you respond when someone has a different opinion, so respond a lot and with extreme force!

3) Refuse to acknowledge anyones personal experience or let them tell their story in their own space. Your experience is the only valid experience. If they have a different experience then obviously they’re lying. Make sure you call them out on it. No one’s experience is valid except yours, and everyone needs to know they’re wrong about what they think happened.  You are the final authority on what’s truth no matter where it’s posted. If is this not true for you, there’s no way it could possibly true for anyone else! Never choose to post your alternate opinion in your online space: they need to know how wrong they are! You need to confront them in their space so they know just how wrong they are.

4) Send nasty and threatening private messages on social media if anyone dares have an alternate opinion on their own page, wall, or blog. This is especially important if they have removed you from a group or blocked you, because they have obviously directed your attention to this avenue of communication by blocking the other methods you were previously using. They obviously want you to message them or they would have allowed you to continue to comment on the original post. Make sure you get angry and call names if they don’t answer your private message within two minutes, because they don’t have a real life or anything better to do than to pay 100% attention to you.

5) Get angry when your unkind and confrontational comments are deleted or not approved on an post or article. You have a right to spew hateful free speech anywhere you want to spew it, and no one should be able to stop you from regurgitation your hate in their space. That’s so unreasonable! That’s unconstitutional –don’t they know that? It’s unconstitutional to even give the owner of the page the ability to remove comments! Make sure you threaten to get a lawyer involved and sue them. Never acknowledge any rights other than your own. Then, refer to number 4.  Don’t use number 4 sparingly. It’s so very useful!

6) Make sure you stoop low when your ideas aren’t affirmed in someone else’s space. Tell them they’re unfit to write or lead –whatever is needed to undermine their position of authority and confidence. Use mocking, passive aggressive behavior, sarcasm, and projection –like accuse them of being close minded for not allowing you to be nasty in their online spaces when you know it’s actually you who can’t handle alternate ideas, or accuse them of being arrogant when it’s actually you who are a hothead and think you know everything. Call them irrational if they find your behavior offensive, but make sure you get offended at everything even if it was intended as a compliment. This is how you control the conversation and get all the attention. It helps to tap into the darker side of yourself. You have been gifted with the ability to make other people feel crazy when you’re the one behaving in an extremely inappropriate way, so use that gift! Check out the character traits of narcissism and machiavellianism for additional ideas.

7) If you really need to get their attention, call them names. Sanctimonious is one of my favorites. Calling someone a Democrat or Republican  (whichever would be more inciteful) seems to have a huge impact. When in doubt, accuse someone of being racist –especially if the topic has nothing to do with race. Nazi is a useful accusation too and is especially useful when it’s completely out of context. Any four letter words you can fit in should be helpful, too. Whatever you need to do to get a reaction. Ignore suggestions that you’re seeking attention and by all means don’t go buy a puppy because that might make you less angry and attention-seeking. This will not work if you find a way to be happy by any method other than making other people’s lives miserable for your own enjoyment.

getapuppy

8) Attack their character and prey on the weak. This is really important if the author seems like a nice, sweet person. If the other person is just as obnoxious, self-assured, and mentally unstable as you are, they won’t care about your attack on their character. So keep your eyes out for people who seem like they might care –kind, compassionate, honest, decent people– you know, weak people– and attack those ones. Your actions will go a lot farther with these people who are easily preyed upon than with those who have the same lack of boundaries that you have.

9) Refuse to acknowledge any boundaries. Anything goes. Stalk them, verbally abused them, spam them with messages, emails, and comments for hours or even days on end. Look them up online, find their phone number, and call them personally to tell them off. (This is especially useful if they have a landline.) Try to manipulate them by saying that if they don’t agree with you or answer your questions to your satisfaction then you’re going to unfriend them, unfollow them, leave their group, or block them –as if somehow they’re actually going to want you around after how you’re behaving. Figure out who their friends are and send their friends nasty messages about them. Try to get mutual friends to unfriend them by gossiping and slandering. Accost them on mutual friend’s Facebook walls to attack them for something they said months ago on a different social media site or personal blog. Give them bad reviews on web pages because they refuse to listen to your hatred. Join new social media sites just so you can find them and spam them with your hatred in new places.  There really is no limit to how far you can take this if you’re willing to ignore all propriety, decency, and social expectations. When all else fails, threaten bodily harm. This always gets their attention. They need to know how wrong they are! You’re the only one who can tell them. Consider it your personal mission to make their lives miserable, and don’t give up until they capitulate and admit how very wrong they were for daring to think anything different than you do.

10) Act like there’s no person on the other side of the screen. In your mind, refuse to see a person’s face. Never consider that this person may have a real life with real feelings. They don’t have a family or problems. They couldn’t be sick, or grieving, or hurting. Shut off all avenues of compassion. You can’t do this if you allow any empathy in your being. Only wimps think of other people: don’t be a wimp! Look up sociopathic behavior for more ideas. Stay strong!

11) Refuse to acknowledge that there could be something wrong with you. Ignore research that suggests that this is antisocial behavior and reflects mental instability and possibly even one of the Dark Triad personality disorders. Assume that your behavior is completely reasonable even if there are signs and indications everywhere that something’s not quite right with you. Vehemently attack anyone who voices concern about you –especially if they’re concerned about your mental health and psychological stability.

There you have it: How to be a great online neighbor!

Or, as I like to call it: “How to be a Horrible Person Online.”


I have written previously about how we behave online and how important it is that we regulate ourselves online even if there are no social expectations. I’m not the only one who has posted about this topic of online haters. I found this video very insightful and amusing.

I thank God for these difficult people He brings into my life. They’re teaching me patience and grace. But for God grace that could be me. All I good that is in me is Christ.

Blessings,

Sarah Forbes

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testimony

Social Expectations and the Internet

In the real world there are social expectations.  

Starting about age 8 or 9, people expect you to start acting appropriately to the situation you’re in.

Before the age of 9, pretty much anything goes. Nobody thinks twice about the 5 year old ring bearer sitting upside down on the church pew at the wedding. It’s even considered adorable and photographed.

But if the 27 year old groomsmen do it, it’s no longer considered acceptable.  


Welcome to the world of social expectations.


Continue reading “Social Expectations and the Internet”

faith, myths, testimony

The Modesty Myth

Ever since I was old enough to be aware of clothing styles, I have heard Christians make an issue of modesty.

 Modesty, as they used the word,  had to do with how a person was dressed, if enough of their body was covered for them to be sufficiently covered. Depending on who’s defining it, it could even be used to mean clothes covering a woman from collar bone to ankle or plain clothes dressing.

I’ve seen church members accuse a nine-year-old girl of trying to seduce their little boys because she wasn’t wearing the right kind of clothing so she would be “modest.”

I’ve seen 100-point memos listing all the things to do and not do, wear and not wear so that you can be “modest.”

I even had children refuse to play with me as a child because my father insisted that I wear pants when I rode a bike: pants were evil, sinful, and “immodest” according to my accusers.

I’ve seen teens accuse other other teens of being promiscuous because they showed their ankles and collar bone.

There’s a problem with this.  It’s unbiblical.  Continue reading “The Modesty Myth”

faith, testimony

6 Ways the Church Gives a False Sense of Spiritual Security to Unsaved People

5 Ways the Church Gives a False Sense of Spiritual Security to Unsaved People:


  1. We call the USA a Christian Nation,  giving those who don’t actually believe a false sense of security that somehow being American or being moral (which is part of our American culture) somehow wins them favor with God. Over and over I have heard or read people say they were Christians because lived in America. People –even Christians– equate being a Christian with being American so much so that most Christians cannot distinguish between what is simply cultural expectations and what is actually Bible truth. Continue reading “6 Ways the Church Gives a False Sense of Spiritual Security to Unsaved People”
children, Christmas, faith, testimony

8 Pieces of Advice About Dealing with Difficult Family

Christmas is quickly approaching and with it the inevitable interaction with difficult family members. Whether the difficulty is from alcohol, personality differences or even mental health disorders, the facts are that the holidays mean family interaction.  

I doubt there’s a family without drama anywhere in the world. If there was, I would say “sign me up,” but I would ruin their peace with my own drama.

The following are my survival techniques for getting through family gatherings: Continue reading “8 Pieces of Advice About Dealing with Difficult Family”

children, faith, parenthood, testimony

A Letter to My Sons: My Prayers for Your Future

Ever since I had my first child,  I’ve seen letters to children from their parents. In many of these letters the parents wish their child to have a smooth, carefree,  and prosperous life.  My wish for my children is slightly different.

Dear Son of My Love,

Since you were young, I have sought to train you in the way of the Lord. I have tried to gently steer your course toward God, hoping, praying, that when you’re old enough to take the wheel of your own ship, you’d stay the course and follow hard after the God who is worthy of all our love, admiration, and devotion.

You’re a teenager now.  A young man.  I’ve seen glimpses of the man you’ll be one day if you keep following the Lord. It brings me great joy –even now– to see Him in your life.  

These are my hopes and prayers for your life as you grow to be a man who lives for the Lord. Continue reading “A Letter to My Sons: My Prayers for Your Future”

faith, illness, testimony

Suffering in the Church

I remember when I first started having health problems, I asked for prayer at a church prayer meeting.

I would be awake for days at a time completely unable to sleep, and then I’d sleep for days on end.  

I had a newborn and a 3 year old,  so this was not a good thing.  

I was told I was too young to be as sick as I was describing.

The church leaders actually refused to add me to the church prayer list.

I was 24 years old.

The church often doesn’t know what to do with those of us with unexplained illnesses and pain. Continue reading “Suffering in the Church”

Christmas, faith, myths, testimony

Five reasons why “Happy Holidays” and “Xmas” Don’t Bother Me (And Shouldn’t Bother You)

  1. The term “xmas” was started by religious people and is not an attack on Christians

    .  The X in Xmas is not, in fact, an English X. It is a Greek X, and X has long been used as a representation of Christ’s name dating all the way back to the second century. 

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    from Wikipedia

    X has been used by religious people in the word Christmas since before the 1500s.  Only recently did someone who was not well-educated in church history decide that it was an attack on Christianity and Christmas.  If you think about it, it makes sense that they’d use the X.  In a world where everything had to be handwritten, it was not uncommon for people to come up with shorthand versions of words.  My grandmother was a secretary in the 1970s, and she had a whole book of shorthand for note taking. Since it was known that X was the shorthand for Christ,  Xmas was known to mean Christmas.See this link for a detailed description of how and when X was used as Christ’s name. It is one and the same. Feel free to use them interchangeably as they mean the exactly same thing.  But, if you use it interchangeably,  expect someone religious to be upset, and expect to have to explain yourself. For the sake of peace, I generally avoid using it. But I am not offended if others use it because I understand the facts around its use.

  2. Most people who use “xmas” and “happy holidays” are trying to be practical –not offensive.

     Their intent is usually to be kind to everyone regardless of what holidays they celebrate or to make Christmas tree for sale sign that takes up less space. But, if we Christians respond in an offended way then we look petty, self-indulgent, and ignorant of facts. It does not bring people closer to Jesus if we behave poorly. They look at us and want nothing to do with us because we can’t even behave politely. This movement of “Keep Christ in Christmas” is ruining our Christian testimony and is not representative of how Christ behaved. There might be some people who are being intentionally offensive. I will address that in number five (see below).  

  3. I don’t have right to demand that other people do things my way.

     Unless those people are under my authority (like my children), I  don’t have the right to demand that they do things my way.  Christianity is far more about my responsibilities than my rights. We’re commanded to follow Jesus who gave up all His rights as King of the Universe and came to earth to die a horrible death. It’s ironic that we celebrate Him giving up His rights by demanding our own rights.  

  4. Christians don’t have a monopoly on winter holidays.

    Christians don’t have the right to make everyone else celebrate their holiday. Since Christmas isn’t even mentioned in scripture this is not a sin issue or really even a defending-the-faith issue. Christmas is a conglomerate many cultures’ and many religions’ traditions. It simply is. If you study history, you can easily see that. Even the practices that Christians participate in today have a lot of roots in unChristian beliefs. I’m not saying abandoned your traditions. I’m saying know they are traditions and not Bible commands. I’m saying know where your traditions came from and be respectful of other people’s versions of winter festivals. No one has been won to Christ while being scolded for leaving Jesus out out of a celebration. We’re not going to win people to Christ if we can’t respect them and treat them with decency. 

  5. If the extent of our persecution is that someone tries to take a holiday away,  we have it incredibly easy.

    We are incredibly spoiled and deceived if we think this issue is serious persecution when other Christians around the world are being beheaded. We are going to be persecuted if we stand for Christ (but not that much in the US because it’s a religiously safe place). Fallen man will try to remove all traces of God from our world. It must be this way. Things will get worse the closer we get to Jesus’ return. But know this: the more we’re persecuted, the more people will come to Christ. So welcome the persecution for the sake of the gospel! We should respond the way Jesus did: He didn’t say a word. He didn’t revile. He didn’t fight back. He trusted that God know what He was doing and committed Himself to God’s care.  

So, keep Christmas however you want to. But, if you’re going to use this time of year to honor Jesus by celebrating His birth, make sure sure you’re not losing your testimony along the way.  

Because that would not honoring to Him.

And, dishonoring Him while claiming to celebrate Him is an immensely unfortunate irony and a reality for many Christians.

Blessings,

Sarah Forbes

faith, testimony

True Faith: The Evidence Is in Your Walk

Along time ago someone asked me this:

If you were accused of being a Christian would there be enough evidence to convict you?

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At first, it seems like kind of a silly question since we’re not in the habit of convicting Christians in our country.

But when we look as scripture and church history we see that America is an anomaly.  Throughout most eras of history standing for Christ would have meant risk of death.


As it is written, “For your sake we are being killed all the day long;”

Romans 8:36


It’s too easy to call yourself a Christian here in the US.

You can go to church, say you’re a Christian, and look just like the world and no one cares.  

But that’s not what we’re called to do. We’re called to take up our crosses, suffer for Jesus, and be willing to die for him.

Jesus should change us.


Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself

and take up his cross and follow me.

For whoever would save his life will lose it,

but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.

For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul?

Or what shall a man give in return for his soul?

Matthew 16:24-26

For this is a gracious thing, when, mindful of God, one endures sorrows while suffering unjustly. For what credit is it if, when you sin and are beaten for it, you endure?

But if when you do good and suffer for it you endure,

this is a gracious thing in the sight of God.

For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you,

leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps.

1 Peter 2:16-21

And what more shall I say?

For time would fail me to tell of

Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, of David and Samuel and the prophets—

who through faith conquered kingdoms, enforced justice, obtained promises,

stopped the mouths of lions, quenched the power of fire,

escaped the edge of the sword, were made strong out of weakness,

became mighty in war, put foreign armies to flight.

Women received back their dead by resurrection.

Some were tortured, refusing to accept release,

so that they might rise again to a better life.

Others suffered mocking and flogging, and even chains and imprisonment.

They were stoned, they were sawn in two, they were killed with the sword.

They went about in skins of sheep and goats, destitute, afflicted, mistreated—

of whom the world was not worthy—wandering about in deserts and mountains

and in dens and caves of the earth.

Hebrews 11:32-38


Those who are truly His will follow after Him with a passion and zeal that nothing –not even the powers of Satan and the combined forces of earth– can stop.

If those around you don’t think you’re crazy for Jesus, if it doesn’t seem fanatical to those who aren’t saved (or even those who claim they are), then maybe you’re not saved.  

I’m not saying you’re not.  That’s not my place.  I can’t see your heart.  Only God can.  

What I’m saying is that you’d better take a look at your fruits and see if they are showing signs of faith in Christ.


A healthy tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a diseased tree bear good fruit.

Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.

Thus you will recognize them by their fruits.

Mattew 7:18-20

For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue,

 and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control,

and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness,

and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love.

For if these qualities are yours and are increasing,

they keep you from being ineffective

or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.

For whoever lacks these qualities is so nearsighted that he is blind,

having forgotten that he was cleansed from his former sins.

Therefore, brothers, be all the more diligent to confirm your calling and election,

for if you practice these qualities you will never fall.

For in this way there will be richly provided for you an entrance

into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

2 Peter 1:5-11

“Not everyone who calls out to me, ‘Lord! Lord!’ will enter the Kingdom of Heaven.

Only those who actually do the will of my Father in heaven will enter.

Matthew 7:21


Scripture is clear about the character that happens when the Holy Spirit is living in us because we’re saved.


But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,

gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.

Galatians 5:22-23


The Holy Spirit convicts us of sin. If you’re not being convicted, maybe you don’t have God’s spirit living inside you.

A lot of people assume that they’re saved because they said a special prayer one time at AWANA, VBS, or Sunday School when they were 5 or 6 years old.  

But, that prayer doesn’t save you.  Belief saves you. The evidence of that saving faith is in how you love your life, the fruit.


For by grace you have been saved through faith.

And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God,

not a result of works, so that no one may boast.

For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works,

which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

Ephesians 2:8-10


Many people who aren’t actually saved  (because they don’t actually believe) think they’re saved and going to Heaven, because they said certain words –like a magic spell that will keep them out of Hell.

But the actual evidence of whether or not you are a Christian is how you live your life after the words are said, after VBS is over, and in the weekdays between church.

On those days, in your everyday life, is it absolutely obvious to those around you that you’re His child?

Is it evident in your home? With your family? With your friends?  At work?  When you’re alone?

It should be.

Those who are His children hear His voice and obey Him.


My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.

John 10:27


Even if you are saved and sure of it, you should regularly examine your actions and motives to see if you’re living a life that’s honoring to God.


Whatever you do, in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus.

Colossians 3:17


I want the Lord to be pleased with the life I live.  

Don’t you?


His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant’

Matthew 25:23


This is such an important topic!

If you can’t take yourself back to a specific time when you absolutely decided to follow Jesus, you might not actually be saved and going to Heaven.

Can you think of a time when you did decide to follow Him?

You might have decided to follow Him when you said a sinners prayer.

Or you might have watched a sunrise one morning and decided that the God who was wonderful enough to make that sunrise deserved your love and service.

It doesn’t matter how you came to that choice –as long as you’ve actually made.

Choose to follow Him no matter what.  

Don’t let your life become a cautionary tale of how not to live for Jesus.

Don’t get caught up in the American Christian tradition that says that a few whispered words are good enough to save you, and then you can live however you please.

Don’t be deceived.

Those who aren’t absolutely for Him are against Him.


He who is not with Me is against Me.

Matthew 12:30


It’s my prayer that you would know Him and grow in Him to become a wonderful witness for Him!

Blessings,

Sarah Forbes