Thursday, May 29, 2008


What do you say to someone who:

1. Puts forward a position
2. When you disagree (or in fact just act ambivalent about the idea) implies that you're not just disagreeing with him but with God
3. When you refuse to communicate on that level, implies that you've deeply hurt him?

I don't wish to talk to anyone who suggests that a normal daily choice (in this case the level of communication between old friends) is somehow dictated by God to him. Even if he is right - and it strikes me that there is nothing inherently wrong about the idea, just that I'm not really prepared to spend a lot of effort to get back in touch with people who haven't shown much interest up to now (and to be fair, I have a long list of people I feel far more guilty about not being closer in touch with) - I think this attitude of 'you're not just arguing with me, you're arguing with God and I've prayed about it so I am right' is dangerous.

And what really galls is the emotional blackmail. 'If you were looking for a way to really hurt me, you've found it. Well done.' he says.

This after I sent a short message which said 'Just so you know, I will not be replying to your letter in the immediate future, if at all. I don't appreciate the way you speak to me at times.'

In fact, I wrote a long 6 page letter explaining exactly what I thought of it, spilling a lot of bile and anger. I decided that this was going a bit far, so abbreviated it to this two sentence message.

I'm not sure I have anything else to say to him at the moment.



Blogger Karin said...

What can you say, Joe? To retreat gracefully and show you are just as 'spirit-filled' as he is may be the best anyone can do in such circumstances.

Chances are he is in some way brainwashed or denying reality. Maybe one day he will come to his senses.

It is hard, but people we got on with so well at one stage of life become people we no longer have anything in common with, or people who have developed ideas we find hard to handle. Perhaps many or most friendships have their 'sell by date'.

On the other hand it is probably useful to learn how to respond with courtesy and respect to people whose ideas seem very strange or wrong to us. Everyone is on their own journey with their own individual needs, having different experiences which means they interpret what happens to them differently from the way we or others would.

I recently told one of my cousins I found the racist e-mail she had circulated offensive (nothing more than that, though) and haven't heard from her since. I was very tired at the time so I would have been better not responding, but it was one of a long line of chain e-mails that were either daft or verging on the offensive from my p.o.v. However, perhaps holding her views helps her in some way, as she's had a tough time of it, and I should have been more understanding. After all there have been times in the past I have held views I am now ashamed of.

2:00 AM  
Blogger Joe said...

Well exactly. Friendships are malleable things. I totally understand that some people do not want regular contact - as they have families and other commitments. Maybe they have lifestyles and/or opinions I no longer agree with.

I don't think that is ungodly. Just the way life is.

And I totally accept that I've made a lot of mistakes and that understandably there are a number of people who no longer speak to me or want a relationship with me.

Unfortunately, I cannot cope with this particular person's habit of 'speaking for God' and his insistence that he is right even when others don't agree.

3:39 AM  
Blogger Karin said...

It's an interesting question - if you can be objective about it - what such people actually think.

Do they really believe they heard the voice of God speak to them on the matter or are they convinced that they share God's every thought?

Are they deliberately using this turn of phrase because it bolsters their fragile ego or they know it reduces argument and their opinion is so shaky that they are petrified of anyone putting forward sound arguments against them?

I guess there was a time when I had been persuaded that certain things must be because, I thought I was told on good authority, the Bible said so. Perhaps some people say God told them simply mean they are convinced that is the meaning that the Bible -'the direct Word of God' in their view - conveys and they would want to you or themselves risking hellfire by contradicting it.

Perhaps it varies from person to person.

8:40 AM  
Blogger Joe said...

Yes, he really believes God vocally speaks to him about minutiae like this.

And yes, I suspect there is an underlying fragile ego problem.

But basically it is unnecessary. I don't take someone's words more seriously because they claim to speak the literal words of God - normally quite the reverse. And fundamentally, I don't need people trying to play that particular power game with me.

12:07 PM  
Blogger Karin said...

I don't need people trying to play that particular power game with me.

Who does?

1:20 PM  

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