The other day, a perfect stranger sent me a vicious and altogether unpleasant email, accusing me of something that was completely untrue.
After reading the email and sitting back in my office chair, somewhat stunned, I read it again to make sure I wasn’t making it worse than it was intended.
I even had CC read it and he agreed it was bad – and mean – and bitter.
To be quite honest, it made me angry, and it hurt that someone would be so vindictive when what they were saying didn’t have even a kernel of truth.
At that moment, I could have easily deleted the email. A little part of me that wanted retribution mentally wrote a snarky reply (one that will never, ever make it from my head to the keyboard or paper, but it’s good therapy to purge that out of my system.)
I took a deep, calming breath (followed by a dozen or so more), then I wrote a short, upbeat reply. As I wrote it, I thought about all the things that must be horribly wrong in that person’s life to make them write such an unpleasant missive to a stranger. Maybe they just needed to vent their frustrations on someone who didn’t know them. By the time I hit “send,” I’d found my compassion for this person who was obviously hurting.
Days went by then I received another message from them – this time complimenting me on my book they’d just read.
Quite a turn-around from that first email.
And it reminded me how even the tiniest measure of grace can go such a long, long way.