Friends and supporters of the ministry:
One of the consequences of doing polemics and discernment is that you inevitably upset people to the extent that they act out in overtly hostile ways. In this particular instance, an individual created an anonymous account that was a disturbing parody and satire of my ministry and my person. Over a two-year period this man sent out thousands of tweets, harassing me with the intent to make me look bad and in his mind, expose my hypocrisy and shortcomings. If you look at his account you will see what I’m talking about and will understand the nature of his attacks. n short, he’s been my arch-troll nemesis.
While at times it stung because he was being cruel and misrepresenting me- words which were deeply personal and ugly- on other occasions it stung because the barbs hit their mark and did highlight my inconsistencies, hypocrisies and sins, which I’ve had to repent of and work on. In God’s providence he used this anon as a thorn in my flesh to cull the wretchedness from my heart, so that his grace might be made perfect in my weakness, and for that I thank Him.
As much as I have sought to ignore him and not interact with him, he has persisted this whole time in anonymity, until now, when we have discovered his identity.
So what do I want to say to this man, after all this time, and after 4000 jabs, pokes, prods and pricks? After thousands of nicks, cuts, and viscera-revealing slashes to my character and reputation? After thousands of sinful interactions against me?
Instead, what I would say is that “I love you, I bless you, and I forgive you.”
I’ve been reflecting a lot on Mathew 5:44 lately, where Christ tells me that I am to love my enemies and pray for those who persecute me, as well as what it means to truly turn the other cheek. From the nature of our relationship, you have set yourself up as my enemy, while I understand that I don’t wrestle against flesh and blood. It’s for this very reason that I must love you. You are made in the image of God and despite this conflict, despite how much your words sting and hurt me and those around me, I’ll continue to heed the scriptures and continue to pray for you unceasingly. I’ve been doing this very thing every night for the last two years, lifting your name to the most high, pleading that Christ would either save you or sanctify you and in the process quelch your ungodly behavior towards me, because this is what the Bible tells me I am supposed to do. I don’t always feel like it, but at the same time it’s producing fruit in me, so I’m thankful for at least that.
I’ve also been praying for your family and friends, that they would love you well and that you would be led daily in repentance. I’ve been actively praying for your soul, and I’ve been encouraging all the Pulpiteers, members of the #15, and all the listeners on my podcast to pray for you, that you would be at peace and that we might once day reconcile.
Furthermore, Luke 6:27 tells me that I am to love my enemies and do good to those who hate me. I’ve also been reflecting on Romans 12:14 which tells me that I ought to bless those who persecute me, and definitely not curse them. I’ve had a chance to read your personal, non-anon blog and it seems that you’ve had a rough and painful last few years.
So I’m not going to publicly expose you.
I’m not going to email your wife and spill everything I know.
I’m not going to call you a sociopath or other personal invectives and insults.
I’m not going to post factually incorrect information about you or accuse you of having other accounts that you didn’t have.
I’m not going to lay out your sins and failings in an effort to discredit you, or to bring up old wounds in order to justify my wrath and cast suspicion on your character.
I’m especially not going to open your personal life in a way that would lead and tempt others to mock you, ridicule you or gossip about you. I know how hurtful that is, and I don’t want to see it happen to you.
Rather I want to extend to you this mercy and gift of privacy. Though I sorely want to lash out at you at time, I understand that that is my flesh speaking, so consider this a blessing to you.
Take care out there. If you continue to insist on tweeting me, I still won’t block you. At my discretion I may exhort, correct or rebuke you, but it will always be fair, grounded in the scriptures, and done with the intent to challenge and edify you to “be better”, and to be more Christ-like. I’ve already given you my personal email and have let you know that I would like to talk and hash out these differences, whether by email or by phone. No matter what you say about me, when then potshots cease, I’ll always be open to listen and talk to you, and if you have sincere questions and biblical answers, I’ll be there as well.
I love you. I bless you. I forgive you.
May God’s mercy be upon you and may you find true freedom and sanctification in Christ.
Pastor JD Hall, ATV [Alternate Timeline Version]