Clapback: A targeted, acute, comeback. In many instances, a response to insult or criticism in a vengeful manner; often resulting in rumors, exaggeration, and twisted truths-- in other words, lies.
A good clapback, as we know, is quite hilarious. Among family and friends, quick witted comebacks can be fun and absolutely harmless. However, we all have had that one time, that one cousin took it way too far, and messed up the whole night. In the world of social media, clapbacks seem to be an innanet staple used by many to create an alter ego (we know they would never say it to someone’s face), receive likes and attention, or as a simple excuse to be mean. If we keep it real, some folks wouldn’t even have a following if it were not for the Bitter Betty/Bogus Bob responses they dish out in order to rationalize, justify, and reason their insults and judgments of others. Among Christians, it seems as though many clapbacks are spewed in the name of being right about theological positions rather than the power and authority of the name of Jesus Christ.
In fact, as Christ followers, we are to mirror Him, and do all things unto Him; even on social media. If we were to mimic Christ in our clapbacks (because He did clapback), we would clapback in truth, with love, to correct, and build up. That being the case, as believers, the character of Christ manifests in our lives through the work of the Spirit in our lives. Thus, the fruit of the Spirit; fruit being the byproduct of a living thing. If then, the Spirit of the Living God lives within us, it behooves us to rid our lives of sin -- the old ways and the fleshly responses that seek to choke out the fruit of the Spirit, and whether we’d like to admit it or not, the impact of our witness.
In Galatians 5, Paul gives 9 characteristics that describe the fruit of the Spirit. I’d like to assert that if your clapback doesn't align with these, it's prooooobably out of order:
LOVE: Most of us can stop right here because clapbacks are often given out feelings or emotions. Biblical love is above all things, a choice. It is an indication of mature character. For the sake of others, it will set aside preferences, desires, and freedoms in order to prevent another from questioning their faith or stumbling.
JOY: “The joy of the Lord is your strength (Nehemiah 8:10).” For believers, this means that we have something, greater than ourselves, to cling to when insults are hurled, or circumstances aren’t going our way. It’s a gladness that can only be achieved from the Lord. So the next time you disagree with someone or are feeling as though your clapback is justified, will the joy of the Lord be your strength, or the potential of your clapback gaining a bunch of likes and going viral?
PEACE: I was once asked during a podcast interview to name one of my greatest gains in Christ. Without hesitation, I said peace! With so much chaos in the world, confusion on Facebook, and clowning on Twitter, we would serve ourselves well by asking the following: Why do I need to contribute my unwanted, unasked for opinion? Why do I feel the need to critique others for the attention and agreement of people that I don’t know? Does my contribution bring peace, or does it rob others of it?
PATIENCE: Now-a-days, no one wants to wait for, endure, or persevere through ANYTHING! Clapbacks are generally impulsive, and gratify the need to have revenge or a say so, NOW. It can be easy to get trapped in addressing petty posts or curt comments instantly. However, I’m here to tell you that if you wait, in the Lord’s timing, He will take care of it. That wait can seem painful, but He can get them together quicker than your 30 words ever could.
KINDNESS: “Kill them with kindness.” We’ve all heard that. Being kind and good to people works; people can’t argue with it. Not only does it work, it keeps you in integrity--your words and actions line up with who you say you are, and who you hold yourself out, to others, to be.
GOODNESS: (linked with kindness, see above)
FAITHFULNESS: To be faithful is to be found reliable and trustworthy. As believers, we are to be found faithful unto the Lord. We accomplish this through our submission and obedience to the Spirit. Prior to Christ, our faithfulness was to our sinful desires, bad attitudes, nasty words, and critical comebacks. These things were the norm. In Christ, these things stand in direct contradiction to who we say we are in Him.
GENTLENESS/MEEKNESS: For some of us, the only meek we know, is Mill. Why is that? It’s because we tend to associate gentleness, meekness, or humility with weakness. However, perspective is everything; I once heard it defined as “strength under control.” Being a very up front, confrontational person, I have had to work on this A LOT. In fact, sometimes I have to isolate myself in order to get my tongue and my froggy tendencies under control. In Galatians 6:1, Paul tells us that a gentle spirit restores. It is the opposite of self-assertiveness or self-interest. It is indeed what keeps the peace.
SELF-CONTROL: When we live according to the Spirit, we have the means within us to say no, to shut down our flesh, and give God a yes. If you have to think about whether or not it’s a good idea to type that post, it’s probably not.
To conclude, know that I’m right with you in the clapback filtering process. In fact, I have a select few people that I get my clapbacking, ratcheteering foolery out with so that I am mindful of my witness, and to shine bright for positive, purposeful, productive reasons. Just like your favorite fruit, the character of Christ takes time to ripen; it doesn’t happen overnight. This is why we have His Word as our standard--something to line ourselves up against and measure our growth--to filter our clapbacks.
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Chicago native, Brandi Nicole Williams is an author, speaker, faith leader, and entrepreneur. Since completing her BA Sociology at DePaul University in 2004, Brandi has been speaking, facilitating workshops, and leading small groups for women and youth. Through this work she has demonstrated a commitment to equipping and empowering individuals to discover their purpose in life. Brandi obtained her Master’s in Theological Studies in 2012 and often lends her voice to matters such as self-worth, body image, and self-esteem. She also loves intertwining biblical principles with fashion, beauty, and pop culture. Over the past year, Brandi has expanded her reach as a personal development coach and consultant to communities, and organizations, seeking to enhance confidence in clients and staff. Brandi currently resides in Nashville, TN. She is a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. and proudly stands 6’3".
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