Q & R: Responding to criticism

Here’s the Q:

I need your advice if you have the time to give it, as I prize your efforts to respond to people charitably in the face of vitriol.
The other day, I posted what was intended to be a (mostly) light-hearted critique… This kind of post is a massive aberration – I normally only talk about issues surrounding spirituality and mental health.
All of that to say, I knew some people wouldn’t like it and that some would – that much was obvious. But my personal blog site normally garners a few thousand hits a month (at most) – I had no idea that it would generate 36,000 hits to my site in less than 48 hours.
The post deeply offended many, some of whom are my friends, and many of whom responded by personally attacking me (ad hominem) rather than addressing the merits of my arguments. I tried to say above the fray but was only successful maybe 85% of the time.
So, I guess what I want to ask you is – what you would you do now, in the aftermath? I’ve considered writing a follow-up post to address the most commonly asked questions about the piece (e.g., my motivations for writing it, … etc.). But I fear it may just make things worse.
Do you have any thoughts? Thanks for anything you would be willing to provide.

Here’s the R:
Thanks for your note. Anyone or anything I criticize is beloved by someone, and so they will naturally interpret my critique as attack. When people feel they or something they love is being attacked, they often respond with either defense or counter-attack. If I defend myself from their counterattack, very quickly a vicious circle of offense and retaliation starts spinning.
It’s hard to find a better way out of these vicious circles than the wisdom of the proverb that says, “A soft answer turns away wrath, but grievous words stir up anger.” Sometimes the response can be very simple … thanks for telling me how you felt when you read what I wrote … I’m sorry what I wrote felt like an attack on something you love …
If you want to add explanation, I’d recommend doing so not as a defense of what you said or a contradiction or criticism of one of the respondents, but as a simple, non-defensive clarification. All this is much easier said than done, and I suppose it is an art that one can improve with over time, with practice, remembering that practice doesn’t make perfect: it only makes habitual. So … practicing a negative response doesn’t make one more positive! It’s interesting how often in the New Testament Jesus is praised for not responding to insult with insult or injury with injury. There’s something very powerful going on there … worthy of meditation and emulation. I hope that helps …