Don’t Let the Mean People Get You Down

Just because things are not going your way … Just because people are being mean to you … Just because people say nasty things behind your back … Just because you hit a rough spot … Just because you are distracted to the point of insanity … does NOT necessarily mean you are doing something wrong. In SOME cases it can mean you are doing something VERY RIGHT and obstacles are being thrown in your path to slow you down or stop you … The key is to have the maturity of discernment and honest self-evaluation to know the difference. – Darla O’Connor

My friend posted that on Facebook, and I love it.

When I established FreedHearts, and came out as a parent of an LGBTQ child and as an ally and advocate, I experienced these obstacles, from mean comments and private messages to dropped friendships and rejected family relationships. Add self-doubt (which we all have in abundance), and you can totally find yourself reaching for the safety rails.

The more powerful the opportunity — of whatever you’re being criticized for — the more the voices seem to clamor.

Sometimes, of course, we are just plain wrong. That is always a risk, and that is what true community is meant to help us with. We need each other for encouragement and wisdom as we go, so we don’t fall in a pit. But only as long as it is protection and not a net holding us to the ground.

Many powerful and magnificent ideas have been met with hostility by otherwise kind people, especially when you are forging a new trail of freedom that they have not let themselves go. When we find ourselves in a minority opinion, it can be exceedingly hard to know if we’re way off or right on.

That’s what Darla meant by “the maturity of discernment and honest self evaluation to know the difference.” She should know — she’s a Christian who had to go far out of state to marry her wife.

If you are being shunned, or shamed, or unfriended because of your orientation or as a parent or ally — especially when your own doubt creeps in — you will have to listen very clearly to the voice of discernment, to the Holy Spirit leading you in all truth. It takes some serious listening, some serious discernment.

Jesus’ ideas shattered the earth. No one expected him to be/say/do what he was/said/did.

The religious leaders didn’t catch it because they expected something very different — something much more (…dare I say…) palatable to their tastes. They wanted an overthrow of their political and religious enemies, not an overthrow of the selfishness in their hearts.

They wanted to be freed to carry on their religious tradition, not freed to love their enemies.

Jesus endured people’s meanness, saying and doing nasty things behind his back and directly to him. And he still lived the life he was here to live.

He will empower us to live the life we are here to live too.

“Let us not grow weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” (Galatians 6:9)
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SUSAN COTTRELL is a national speaker, teacher, and counselor with years of Biblical study and discipleship experience. Her books include: Mom, I’m Gay – Loving Your LGBTQ Child Without Sacrificing Your Faithas well as How Not to Lose Your Teen and The Marriage Renovation. Through her nonprofit organization – – Susan champions the LGBTQ community and families with her characteristic tender-heartedness, and she zealously challenges Christians who reject them with her wise insistence that “loving God and loving others” are the foundation of the rest of the scripture, just as Jesus said.

She is the Vice-President of PFLAG Austin, and her “Mom, I’m Gay” book has been endorsed by The Human Rights Campaign and others. Sharon Groves, PhD, HRC’s Religion & Faith Program Director says, “I often get asked by parents for resources that can address the struggles of raising LGBT sons and daughters without having to leave faith behind. Susan Cottrell’s book, Mom, I’m Gay, does just that. This is the kind of book that parents will love.”

She and her husband have been married more than 25 years and have five children – one of whom is in the LGBTQ community. She lives in Austin, Texas, and blogs at and here in IMPACT Magazine’s FreedHearts and Jesus Blog columns.