One of my many faults is that I tend to be argumentative. I have been known to pick fights, and to bait others. When I argue, I sometimes use sarcasm and harsh words. I tend not to let go once I've started, dragging online debates over several days, and wasting time when I should be focused on family, or or, or prayer, dwelling on my next "incisive" point.
And grumbling about something my "foe" said or wrote.
This was brought home to me again recently through Facebook.
One of my "Friends" (i.e. I know him, but we've never really been close) - is quite literally a Friend - a Quaker. He is also married to a Catholic, attended Catholic schools, and even worked for Catholic organizations, so he has some insight into the faith and, sadly, its flaws.
Alas, he likes to point out those flaws, and the issues with which he disagrees (women's ordination and so-called same-sex marriage, for example. He also has Friends who are even harsher in their attacks on the Church.
I've been caught up on occasion in arguing about some of the points he and others raise.
He said a couple of things recently that bothered me. I briefly responded, and he responded to my response at length. I knew if I continued I would have to similarly respond at length.
But the other morning I found myself dwelling on what I would write - while at Mass. Once again arguing was getting in the way of focusing on God's great sacrificial gift, something that's happened to me too often.
I resolved not to get caught up in yet another argument in which, given my track record, I was likely to be less than Franciscan (or Christian) in my words and thoughts.
I "unfriended" him. Not out of anger, but out of awareness of my own tendencies and sinfulness.
Beyond my own proclivities, this is a danger to which I think many of us who surf the Internet can fall prey. It's too easy to say things through a keyboard that we might never say to the person's face.
It's too easy to label someone a foe, and to forget he is a brother.
And that he is Christ.
Pax et bonum