I negatively labeled someone in a public forum and behind their back. They'd hurt my feelings, and long-held animosity took over.
Something told me not to post the label, but I continued on. I decided to edit out something else, and when the label was all that was left, it didn't seem so bad. A little while later, I decided I needed to delete the post. Unfortunately, I forgot, and then we left the house. By the time I got back, I forgot again.
I remembered the next day when I got a less-than-chipper email calling me on my error in judgment. I felt really bad...until I read the entire email. In return for my misstep, I was insulted in more ways than one, and my label was written off as a schoolyard insult. Since my label is, to me, a pretty serious one, one that affects people I love and one that represents much bigger problems in our society, I saw red.
I managed to write a sincere apology for calling the person out in public and behind their back. But that's where my good judgment ended. Even though I knew I should take the high road and just apologize sincerely and completely, I felt the need to explain the label. So I did, harshly, effectively undermining my apology and ending all chances of discussing my concerns in a civilized manner should I choose to do so.
I know I can't mend this easily, so I just hope that someone else will learn from my hurtful mistakes.
It is never okay to call someone a name, no matter how public or private the setting. How you talk about someone - even to yourself - will inevitably affect how you treat that person in every other way.
It is never okay to defend yourself when you've genuinely hurt someone. Always take the high road and just apologize, sincerely. If anything you said was founded on truth, or at least legitimate concern, the issue needs to be tabled for future review. Either you choose not to address it or you address it in a more respectful way - and in private.
Finally, and this lesson is one I keep trying to learn the hard way over and over and over again, let God lead you. I'm sure my reservations were the Holy Spirit telling me to stop, but I let my emotions do the talking. I was passive aggressive and judgmental. I was a terrible example for my friends and loved ones, especially as a Christian. I did not act out of love. Nothing I did brought about anything positive; it only created a snowball of hurt, on all sides.
I am truly sorry for the public labeling and underhanded insults. I know I was wrong. I hope you'll forgive me.