I just read this terrible Blog Post about You!

Photography © by Paul Johnson

I got hacked.  Twitter hacked.

I don’t know how it happened, but I have a vague idea of when it happened: on a weekend, at a specific time when I had zero access to any online outlets that I could use to stop the hacking.

The hack message, with link attached, stated “I just read this terrible blog post about you.” I’m not sure whether the link led to something pornographic, pyramid schematic or otherwise solicitous.  All I know is that whatever hacked me was trying to hack everybody else, too.

As the digital worm wriggled its way into the Twitter message boxes of my friends, I began to get messages back from nearly every priest, author and creative artist that I knew, questioning what terrible thing someone had said about their public efforts and why it is they would say it.   My inbox was flooded with self-conscious notes from people wondering who they’d offended and how.  The fact of the matter is, if they’d offended someone, this particular message was not the fruit of it.  They were merely the casualties of a security breach.

I get a lot of spam.  My email is public, and so is my line of work, so I get everything from Nigerian businessmen wanting to offload their inheritance to  interview opportunities with astrologers who can tell you if your misplaced dissatisfaction comes from the possibility that you’re a reincarnated holocaust victim.  Typically, I delete them without reading them.  Maybe more money, an advanced physiology or an explanation for my relatively few funks appeal to my ego on some level.   But you know what really hits my ego in a touchy spot?  The possibility that someone, somewhere, somehow might be thinking negatively about me.

An attack on our pride is one of the most effective attacks on us, because it attacks the most sinful part of each of us.  That’s why we’re so sensitive about it.  C.S. Lewis points out that “if you want to find out how proud you are the easiest way is to ask yourself, ‘How much do I dislike it when other people snub me, or refuse to take any notice of me, or shove their oar in, or patronize me, or show off?’”  All of us hate pride in others because we love it so much in ourselves.  Pride is, essentially, the art of comparison.  We’re not so much interested in being good or bad at things as we are at being better or less worse at them than others.

That’s why I think this recent attack on my Twitter account (the subscription to which is perhaps itself an exercise in narcissism) struck a chord with me and so many of my fellow tweeters.  We all care what people think about us.  It’s practically unavoidable.  This can be a healthy thing in the proper context.  However, we need to measure ourselves by a different standard than the one offered us by our critics and even our supporters.  Man looks at outward appearances, but God looks at the heart.  We (and I especially) need to do our best to spend our time caring not about what someone might be saying about us on the internet, but about what God is saying to us in the quiet of our hearts, if we would only shut everything down for a second to give him the chance.

PS: My Twitter account is fine now.  Feel free to follow it without fear of being hacked yourself.

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