Where’s the Line?

Blogland is great. You get to read about all sorts of topics, some of which are pretty controversial. You also get to meet all kinds of unique people.

I enjoy reading blogs on religion and am both amazed and aghast at what some people write. Sometimes it’s a little scary…like the one I read by the woman who self-righteously passed judgment on everyone in her church, especially the people whose clothes were a little shabby or ill-fitting (too tight). Other blogs are inspiring, illuminating, and thought provoking. All things considered, reading blogs can be a mind-expanding experience.

Lately I’ve come across posts that knock other religions, especially the Jehovah’s Witnesses and the Mormons. A valuable lesson that I’ve learned over the years is that some things are simply beyond my ability to control, including others’ religious beliefs or their feelings about mine. Some people or events might annoy me or frustrate me or even madden me to the point of being enraged, and yet they’re out of my so-called circle of control (Stephen Covey).

For instance, this war upsets me so much that even with my eyes closed I can see some of the horrific images in my mind. The homeless situation in SC saddens me, but I cannot control it (nor the war!). The ailing housing market upsets me big time because we’re trying to sell one house and buy another. But can I do anything about it? Not really. I teach several single mothers who have no plans to marry their babies’ daddies because they don’t want the hassle of commitment. HUH? All of these things bother me in some way, but they are not things I can control. All I can control are my own thoughts and actions.

However, I CAN use my circle of influence (Covey again) to perhaps alter someone’s thinking. In doing so, however, I’ve learned that I have to use mutual respect, patience, and love unfeigned. I’ve also learned that it’s perfectly fine to let others worship how they may. I can’t change or control them anymore than they can change me. They’re happy with their beliefs…just like you and I are.

Many years ago one of my daughters was dating a young man who was not LDS. He expressed a slight interest in the church, however, and occasionally attended meetings with her. My daughter wanted him to hear the missionary discussions at the boyfriend’s grandmother’s house since he was living with her at the time. Well, Ms. Minnie said NO with a capital N. My little daughter was angry! How could such a sweet little old grandmother be so close-minded and stubborn?  I suggested to my daughter that she attend church with Ms. Minnie and Eric that Sunday. “Why would I want to do something like that?” she asked. “My point exactly,” I replied. “You see Ms. Minnie and everyone like her (everyone not interested in learning about the LDS religion) as close-minded and stubborn, but you’re guilty of acting the same way. We’re probably all a little like that.”

There was no way under the sun that either of these gals was going to give an inch. Why should they when they were both happy with the peace and faith that their beliefs brought them? While I think people should fervently tell others of Christ, where is the proverbial line in the sand between being joyful about what you believe and self-righteous and critical about what others believe? What do you think? Where’s the line?

Author: jayne bowers

*married with children, stepchildren, grandchildren, in-laws, ex-laws, and a host of other family members and fabulous friends *semi-retired psychology instructor at two community colleges *writer

6 thoughts on “Where’s the Line?”

  1. I believe it’s not wrong to have some concern about other people faith and believe. We do have a good intent in the first place, don’t we. So why be hesitate. Some people might feel happy and satisfied with their faith and believe. But still, what if they wrong. What if we can make them even more happier and joyfull with what we are believing. Of course, we can only inform and persuade them without any intimidation. In the end, it’s entirely his/her choice to make.

  2. Thanks for your comment. I think you’re right on target. We (whoever we are!) do need to speak up and share our “good news” with others if we want them to feel the peace that we do. I just don’t think it works to try to coerce or force them into agreeing with us.

  3. How can words edify if they are used to belittle others in any way? I have had a time finding a place to worship because some of these attitudes are in the on ground world as much as cyber!. What I have determined is to do the best I can and not allow anyone to steal my joy in the Lord. The danger (in an eternal context) is that so many have been misinformed because some of the most outspoken and dominant influences are pushing people away from Christ rather than lead to Him. I have had comments and even been straightforwardly asked if I was a Christian because of His spirit emanating from me. I think people who have not had such an experience and will not try feel the way they do because of lackadaisical witnessing (or none) or maybe they don’t want to give up certain things. I stopped beating my head against walls and simply try to be a witness through any opportunity He presents.
    The lack of commitment after having children reminds me of the joke about the girl who didn’t want to ask her live-in boyfriend about his finances because she “didn’t know him well enough”… the deceptions are unreal…what’s right is wrong and what’s wrong is right…will go find that verse!
    Thank you for sharing your thoughts, marlajayne!! God Bless and Keep You and Yours.

  4. Your post reminds me of a hymn entitled (or maybe it’s just the first line) ‘Have You Received His Image in Your Countenance?” Sounds like you have.

    The lack of commitment comment reminds me of something I’ve read in introductory psychology texts about why the teen pregnancy rate is so high. There are a number of possible reasons, but one is that the “participants” (especially girls) are reluctant to bring up birth control because it’s awkward to talk about. HUH? Is it more awkward than developing an STD or becoming pregnant?

    I’ve asked myself the same quesions about edifying vs. belitting, and I will NEVER understand why or how a person can justify using words to hurt or criticize another. To backtrack, I guess I could understand it if I were to really examine the person’s history (perhaps that’s how they were treated, etc.), but the tongue is one itty bitty little part of us that needs to be controlled.

  5. Someone I know has just had a child and she is not finished with high school. What breaks my heart is that the girl is “in love” but the boy thinks it’s all a game. I know the boy rather than the girl is how I am so certain of details and it’s all I can do to keep quiet when he starts running his mouth. These are also people (the boy & his dad, Mama left years ago) who brag that they go to church for business contacts, which fuels the “hypocrite accusers”, giving an excuse not to attend. Sorry, I’m almost having a “Jonah moment” here thinking about what I have heard come from their mouths! I do pray for them but this would be the epitome of “knowing much about nothing” and spreading it far and wide! What can we do except keep on trying to exude Christ’s Love?
    Thanks for listening! 😉 God Bless and Keep You. xoxox

  6. Good question. What can we do except keep on trying to exude Christ’s love? At the same time, I think He expects us to open our mouths sometimes…depending on the time and place and of course our motive and tone. For instance, I just remembered the scene when He tells the woman supposedly caught in adultery (I say supposedly because I’ve always wondered where her partner was) to “go and sin no more.” (I hope I have my stories straight!). Anyway, He showed love and compassion but did not condone her behavior.

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