…and then some

The Fall of Good Will

I’ve just experienced something quite unfortunate.  I’m not even sure how to explain it.  I will do my best to be brief, yet specific, while trying to keep my friend’s anonymity, as this is not intended as an attack on that person.

Anyway, this person has been a close friend of mine, even it was online only.  After knowing them for a while, I found that this person is a Christian, which is always a terrific thing to learn of anyone, especially those dear to you.  So at this point, we’ve established somewhat of a common ground in spirituality, at least to a degree.

This person, however, has had something about them that I wasn’t totally comfortable with.  At first, it was not a big deal, but as time went on, this thing became more and more a bother to me.  At one point, I brought i up, and the person said that they would make adjustments so that I was more comfortable.  I was pleased by this, but after some more time, they reverted back to the same as before.

I ignored it, because I’ve been busy and not spent much time interacting with this person. However, the past couple of days, I have once again become uncomfortable.  Today I finally expressed my feelings about this issue with that friend.  I explained how I know that it is not really fair for me to expect them to change anything, but felt it was necessary that I tell them how it made me feel, because they are my friend.  Also, because this person is a Christian, I took the extra step in expressing that this thing is something that could easily distract me when I’m trying to get closer to God, and was becoming a stumbling block for me.  As a Christian, I know that this person would have a desire to do what is right by God, and I am well aware of the Bible’s warnings against doing anything that could cause another to stumble.  This in mind, I shared some scripture references with my friend in hopes that they might look them up and understand that they are responsible for how their actions affect others.  I shared only the references, so that my friend could look them up at their convenience.

Amidst all of this, my friend became terribly angry with me, saying I should not push scripture onto them.  I responded by saying that we are indeed called to share God’s word.  To that, my friend replied that we “SHARE, not FORCE” the scripture…  at this point, I knew ‘reason’ had pretty much left the building, because I honestly don’t see how typing a scripture reference (such as “John 3:16”) into a chat window is “forcing” scripture on anyone.  That’s about equal to saying that giving someone an address is forcing them to be at that location.  It’s just for their reference.  The scripture references I gave to my friend were only in case they wanted an explanation as to why i was saying what I was saying, and so that I could back up my feelings with the word of God, rather than blurting out MY opinions, which mean nothing compared to God’s word.

At this point, nothing much else could be said.  My friend’s anger drove them away from me, at least for the time being, and I do not know when or if I will hear from them again.  I still consider this person a friend, and I still care about them.  My care for them is why I shared scripture with them in the first place.  As Christians, we are to look out for each other, and not judge, but hold each other accountable.  There is a difference.  God is the judge.  If I have a friend who is stealing merchandise, I should tell them “what you are doing is against the law, and you should not do it”.  This is not judgement.  This is a friend holding another friend accountable, so as to AVOID judgement.  If that friend gets caught stealing, and is tried in court, and sent to prison, THAT is judgement, and was not dealt by me.  Holding a friend accountable is not judgement at all, but rather a way to keep them from being judged by those who have the power to do so.

Nobody likes to be called out on their sin, even myself.  I know I do things that are blatantly against God’s will, and if someone notices something and calls me out on it, I must remember that it’s not that person that I am sinning against.  It’s God.  Just as my friend was upset at me for pointing out something that I feel God would not be pleased with, does this friend also get angry with God as well?  I do not know.

Even by typing this blog, I risk having it read by that same friend, who might become increasingly angry that I publicized this incident.  I would hope and pray that this article would only help that person to understand better, and that it does not make them more upset.  That is why I have been very careful to keep the identity of this person hidden.

Please, share your thoughts on this.  I know I’ve left out some details, but do you think I could have done anything different that would have been better?  Do you know of any scripture that could help in this situation?


One response

  1. I believe from knowing you (even if only online) that your intentions were pure. If this other person is truly your brother in Christ they will come to realize that.

    In sharing scriptures or other ideas with another person, I believe it is always important to understand that you cannot “push” anyone towards a concept or philosophy, you can only “push” them away, and it is vital that we gauge our audience when sharing such things.

    I too call myself a Christian, and like you, I know that I still do things that are against God’s will. When a brother or sister in Christ points out my indiscretions it is my human nature as a knee jerk reaction to become angry or defensive. Most people react the same when I point out a shortcoming in them, particularly if the Lord has already convicted them regarding certain behaviors already.

    If this person is a true friend, and more importantly a true Christian, they will realize that you counsel came from the heart and they will overcome whatever feelings of angst or guilt that your counsel may have caused, and at some point in time may even come to appreciate the signposts that have been placed in their life by the Lord.

    You have shared Christian ideas with me on a number of occasions. While I may not always feel comfortable with your ideas, and while I may at times feel “convicted” by your words, you are correct in saying that this conviction I feel does not come from you, but from the Lord.

    Clearly if the entire crux of every conversation we were to have was you “preaching” to me, our friendship could be strained and I would probably stop corresponding with you. Often the internet causes problems due to the fact that we are not given the typical roadsigns that are present when two people have a face to face conversation such as facial expressions and inflections in tone. Given these facts makes gauging our audience much more difficult, while at the same time much more important.

    This situation, as all situations, should be turned over to the Lord.

    March 10, 2009 at 3:28 am

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