Don’t Be So Quick….

Posted on August 17, 2012

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Let me tell you a story. It will be a short story (probably), but it will be a good story. I know this, because I am going to be the one to write it.

So without further ado…..

When preaching/teaching or otherwise communicating principle to people there is value to the following steps.

1. Tell them what you are going to tell them.

2. Tell them.

3. Tell them what you told them.

Perhaps a little over simplified, but nevertheless that is what I am going to try to do. I am going to give the basis for this so that while you are reading we can make sure we are all heading in the wrong direction.

Here is the point.

Don’t Take Things So Personal!!!

Often times you see only a small part of what all is going on. It can be very easy to build entire mental empires about what happened. And we never stop for one second to consider that perhaps you didn’t know everything that was going on, and thus are not entirely qualified to pass judgment on what happened.

Here is what happened….

About a year, or perhaps a little over a year ago, I met this person we will call “Suzie” on Facebook. By met I mean this. She started a group that I became a member of. And then shortly after she started another group that I also became a member of. I have never met Suzie, have no plans to do so in the future, I don’t even know of anyone that has met her. (I clarify all that to say….you probably don’t know who I am talking about, and who you are thinking of….your likely wrong.)

At any rate I became her friend, on Facebook, (to whatever extent that can be true on social networking, that’s the term Facebook uses….so, so be it). I actually thought initially that there was wide agreement between myself and Susie about theological, spiritual, religious type issues. As an aside, there may be still, I really don’t know. I mean Suzie only used the KJV, appeared to be separated in her dress…..all the small details that while of course not necessary for salvation, still seem to indicate a wide range of agreement….and therefore at least the opportunity for fellowship. Just by the nature of having a common starting place.

It didn’t last. It didn’t take real long but something seemed to go off kilter. One of the groups that Suzie started was essentially nothing more that a religious debate group. And there seemed to be a seismic shift in the tone and quality of the kind of things Suzie was saying. Her general attitude towards ‘the bible’ in general. That was my opinion, and my wife’s as well when it was happening. I even remember verbalizing, to my wife, something along the lines of, ‘What is suzies problem, these are not the impressions I was getting from her a couple of weeks ago”

Well I saw something related to her on Facebook. I honestly at this point don’t remember the details. I don’t know if it was her wall, or a friends wall or where for sure it was. I am pretty sure it was a friend of Suzie’s that left a comment about something relating generally to an issue of personal separation. I took that one phrase over to my wall and commented on it something along the lines of, ‘I don’t agree with this.’ I didn’t put Suzie’s name. I didn’t put her friend’s name. At that point myself and Suzie had probably less than a dozen mutual friends….so it is doubtful that anyone, with the exception of my wife, and possibly sister would have even known where it came from.

I can say wasn’t trying to be malicious. In retrospect I likely wouldn’t do it again. I don’t THINK I have done it since then. If you feel it necessary to through my entire Facebook profile to see if I have….more power to you….and get a life. It wasn’t trying to call anyone out. I wasn’t trying to be hard to get a long with or anything like that. I just saw something I disagreed with, took it, commented upon it on my wall. Didn’t really even give it a second thought. <–(Problem #1)

Well, Suzie got mad. Yes, that is my opinion of the response. She said something on MY wall post about where I got it from….(i.e. her wall, or friend, or something)….obviously was not pleased with me.

So Suzie ‘unfriended’ me. And THAT kind of ticked me off. I personally considered it slightly immature. It’s not like I have never been unfriended before. For that matter I have had church members unfriend me. So I blocked her. My train of thought was….if you don’t want to be my friend (and I use the term loosely) than you WILL NEVER SEE ANOTHER THING I PUT ON FACEBOOK!!!! It really rubbed me the wrong way….not Suzies actual actions, more the ‘principle of the thing.’ Remember I didn’t, nor do I, know Suzie…..so overall my life was unchanged.

I probably vented a little to my wife….likely said something to my sister. And then basically forgot about it. I left one of the groups she started within a couple of month (for unrelated reasons) and rarely frequent the other group she has, something to the tune of once a month or so.

So what is my point? I’m glad you asked. The very end of the story is this.

It have recently come to see something I didn’t know were going on a year ago with Suzie. She was having serious medical problems. (tumors, surgery type problems) She was having relationship issues with people in her church. She was super stressed with a lot of different activities and stuff. And she was having some issues about that time with her church.

So, I felt, and still do to some extent, that she snapped at me and way overreacted to something I unintentionally did. But on my part, there is likely the reality I would have been a little more sensitive to her situation had I known all that was going on.

So lets draw some conclusions.

First for me.

1. Don’t be so quick to judge people’s reaction if you don’t know everything that they may be going through. What is mean is this. You know that person that snapped at you for no reason. Who treated you badly when you did nothing. (hold on, I’ll deal with that person in a second) That person who said something they shouldn’t have. That person he treated you unfairly. You don’t know what kind of day they have had. You don’t know what kind of week they have had. Month….year….You get the picture, right? Especially if their comment/actions seems slightly out of character (most applicable to church members, and family in all probability). Maybe they are having a bad day.  Maybe they are dealing with things that set them on edge.

2. What all that basically means is that you should cut people some slack.

Now, for Suzie

1. Don’t treat people poorly just because you are having a bad day. Just because your life is horrible (and we all have horrible days) doesn’t give you licence to treat others like they do not deserve for insignificant things.

2. Don’t always assume that people hate you and are just trying to be a ‘thorn in your flesh’ when perhaps their actions, while ill-advised, are as well simply inadvertent.

3. Don’t cut people out of your life for transgressions, either real or perceived. Whether that means unfriending someone on Facebook. Or severing real life friendships. Or ignoring people you know.

There, those are some broad applications that I derived from my story. Here is what it comes down to. We all have bad days….weeks…months…and even years sometimes. Cut people some slack if you are having the bad day. Cut people some slack because they could just be having a bad day.

If I could do anything differently here I would. I likely would not use Suzie’s friends comment on my wall. It’s not that I don’t ever put anything up that I don’t think some people may disagree with. But I don’t make it a habit of putting things up that could serve to hurt someones feelings, or genuinely upset them.

We’ve likely all been ‘suzie’ before, and we have all been ‘me’  in this story. The more level-headed we can all be when people do that which we don’t like the better all parties involved will be. I realize that for those who don’t know me well could easily take one or two lines out this blog post and think I mean and believe things I don’t. Don’t extrapolate things to far out here. I have preached many messages over the years and said much over what I think of personal responsibility and worrying about yourself. All I am saying here is don’t jump to conclusions.

Is there someone you need to forgive? Is there someone who you could be a little less harsh too?

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Posted in: Church, Spiritual