Posted by: AJtheIrishLass | May 4, 2019

Ducking the Ax to Grind

ax in the stump Photo by Kaboompics .com on

I got sidetracked from my series on making the Internet kinder, but have decided to dive back into it. The series won’t stop with the publication of the fourth post. There is still a lot that we can all do to help make the Internet a kinder place.

Public Posts – The Wild West of Facebook

Being able to post a status update publicly on Facebook or any other social networking site is a double-edged sword. On the one hand, what you share might go viral very quickly. On the other hand, your post might attract anyone who has an ax to grind.

I saw this proven when commenting on a public post on a friend’s timeline. The OP stated some legitimate concerns about how some Christians horribly misrepresent what Christianity is about, and another commenter agreed, saying that as an Episcopalian, she feels they aren’t representing the dignity of every human being. I commented on her post, saying something to the effect of how it was cool to meet another Episcopalian.

My FB notifications let me know that someone else had reacted to my comment with an angry emoticon. This struck me as odd becauseĀ  I had no idea why my comment would have prompted that reaction. Was this a drive-by proselytizer out to (try) to convert me?

Not Letting It Go

The woman in question proceeded to go on a rant against everything she found objectionable with TEC and its polity. Perhaps there was an incident in her past that impacted her in a negative way and she was lashing out. Whatever the cause, how she handled it was a problem.

It’s one thing to honestly speak out about a wrong committed, especially if those in a position to do something about it failed. However, it’s another thing to go on a rant and then post inflammatory comments directed against people whose sole “offense” is identifying with a group. I feel this person took things a step too far by posting negative reactions and comments against others simply because of their denominational background.

Drawing the Line

Sometimes, you’ll come across somebody online who has an ax to grind or otherwise finds a non-confrontational statement objectionable. The main thing to ask yourself: do you want to accept the invitation to an argument or decline? In many cases, avoiding the argument is best.

It might be tempting to jump into the argument headfirst. After all, how many people take negative commentary against their denomination sitting down? However, sometimes being the adult means sitting it out.

Ask yourself:

  • If they’re being so confrontational, what will I gain by returning the favor?
  • Am I giving them what they’re looking for by taking the bait?
  • When actual past trauma is the reason for lashing out, am I helping or hurting by getting drawn into their drama?

As a fellow AOL board host once put it, let the back-and-forth stop with you.


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