Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Matthew 18, blogging style

Well, I'd rather not post this post but I feel I must. It's been a situation going on for a couple of days and thanks to new developments, this is the only way I have left to finish out the conflict.

Candy is a blogger that many women follow. She has had some good things to say and some not so good things, IMO. I've been mostly reading her blog posts which in and of themselves seem OK but recently I've been reading her comments section too. I wish I had been following them all along.

Recently Candy wrote a post about depression and a reader of hers wrote a cry of help to her. This is the post:

I am depressed, but I am saved also. My trouble is my DH is saved but does not do what i s required from a husband. For 10 years he has been talking about doing everything for the lord, but his actions do not correlate with his words. The man is supposed to be the leader AND provider of his family. Yet, his job situation does not provide adequately for my family of six. The bills barely get paid, and my growing children are often hungry. We can't afford doctor or dental visits so I have to try to diagnose the children myself and make homemade cures if they are afflicted with something. I pray to be relieved of financial stress...to have the ability to feed,cloth,buy shoes,and take care of them medically without feeling I am "splurging" to cover their basic needs. Ten years is a LONG time to wait for my husband to provide this. He is talented in many areas and could get a steady job that would ease our money issues, but I am beginning to wonder if he is just too selfish. So, while sit and I pray for deliverance from my husband's apathetic interpretations of his christian duties I am making a sparse lunch for my 4 children as he is eating out at Taco Bell. Depressed? YES!

This poor woman (and if anyone knows how I can get in touch with her, I'd love to be able to give her some counsel. My heart goes out to her and her situation...) came to Candy, a woman who has become a teacher and mentor online, to speak of her experiences. Is her focus wrong? Yes. It is. But this woman needs to be taught what God wants of her, how leaving her husband in God's hands is what He desires and she needs one-on-one mentoring, atleast for a a time. So what was Candy's response?

Oh Sandi, your poor, poor husband. Is this how you treat him? You shouldn't talk down on him to other people. Proverbs 31:26 says that "she openeth her mouth in kindness."

Your words were not kind towards your husband, they were those of the contentious, or odious woman.

Proverbs 31:11-12:

" 11The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her, so that he shall have no need of spoil.

12She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life."

You are not doing your husband good this way, and speaking and thinking of your husband this way does not allow his heart to trust in you.

Sandi, you are spoiled. You have a roof over your head. You have food in your pantry, you have clothes on your back. There are ladies your age in other countries that live in a one-room house, with a dirt floor. They don't have any of the conveniences you do.

You can't buy much food? Then buy better food. A pound of black beans costs around a dollar. A pound of lentils, split peas, and pintos are even cheaper.

Legumes mixed with brown rice is some of the most filling, delicious (if you cook it right) and healthy foods you and your children can eat.

10# of potatoes costs around 3 dollars. At stores like Aldi's you can get celery and carrots for just .99 cents.

If your situation is really dire, then visit a food bank for help. Your local church will help direct you to a food bank.

Don't have nice clothes for your children? Then visit Good Will, or sew some yourself.

You envy your husband for eating at Taco Bell? Poor man! Why aren't you packing healthy lunches for him to eat instead?

Can't afford dental and healthcare? Then pinch those pennies, and put your trust in God. Feed your children right, and you won't need a lot of dental and healthcare. One of my children recently came back from a dental checkup, and he had no cavities. In fact, none of my children have EVER had any cavities, and I plan on keeping it that way.

I believe your husband is trying hard to be a good Christian, but his helpmeet (you) are letting him down. He may just be where God wants him to be right now. Maybe the situation will become more dire before it gets better. Maybe there is a lesson here for YOU to learn - not him.

Wow. Talk about giving advice with a baseball bat! Yes, I've been trained in Nouthetic Counseling which is a counseling that is not like the world's "I'm OK, you're OK" kind of stuff but it tells a counselee what they NEED to hear in order to get through their situation. But this advice that Candy gave is harsh, unBiblical and does not show forth ANY fruits of the Spirit. "Contentious, odious, spoiled" are terms that she is using to label this woman (yes, that's called name-calling in most circles". She knows nothing of what this woman has written and rather than getting into this woman's life and being a woman as Titus 2 says - one who teaches the younger women to love their husbands. Or even saying "Honey - I'm sorry I don't have time to help you through this but I think your focus might have been taken off of God and put on your husband. I'd recommend you find someone close to you who can work through this with you. I'll be praying for you and your husband." would be more helpful than the cyber smack-down she gave instead.

Since I know of atleast one woman who was greatly hurt by her words, I felt led to speak to Candy as per Matthew 18. I don't have any other way to contact her other than by comments and I know they are moderated so she'd read it before it was posted. My comment to her was:

Candy, what you have written is not very helpful, IMO. Instead of constructive criticism, you attack a suffering woman. God does not call us to do this. Yes, we must speak the truth, but truth in LOVE. There is a way to speak the truth without tearing another person down and a way to do it that can damage a person beyond repair.

There are those readers who are in situations that are very much like Sandi's and what you have said is not helpful. I know someone who had $50 to buy food. $50 for 6 months for a family with growing children. Yeah, they had food - but they were subsisting on third world country food - rice or oatmeal for every meal. Cast off veggies from the market. Brown rice? That would be a luxury because brown rice is way more expensive than white. Beans? No longer an option because that $50 is long spent. Food pantries only give so much and when you don't even have oil left in the house, it makes it hard to cook anything. Oh - and don't forget that if they have no money for food, chances are they have no money for gas to get to the grocery store, food pantry or even to the government office for food stamps. No money means no money.

Medical care and dental care is not always dependent on "good food". I have 4 children and 2 have great teeth and 2 have terrible teeth. We've done it all - costing lots of money. We eat extremely healthy, they get regular dental care and yet we still have dealt with problems that, without insurance, would cost us thousands of dollars. My kids are extremely healthy but there are still times that we need to see a doctor for whatever reason and it has nothing to do with their diet. Besides, eating rice and oatmeal with cast-off veggies is not enough to be able to keep a healthy body. That's a fact. The lack of vitamins would be very drastic and can cause problems in and of itself.

I don't see this woman as being spoiled. I see her as being at a point where she is opening up about her struggle to a woman who has a lot of great information on the Bible and homemaking and she was looking for some Godly advice. But what she got was a slap in the face instead, IMO. Jesus made sure He spoke the truth but in a way that the person didn't feel slapped down and I think it's important to counsel the same way. "I see your struggle and I hear your frustration. Let's look at what YOU can do to help the situation since we can't do anything about your hubby." then go into what she can do including building her husband up, prayer and trying to work on HER heart to try to deal with her depression would have been much more appropriate than the attack on her. There is so much to say to this woman that could have helped her to improve her outlook on things and to give her more constructive information that what you gave.

Please realize the outreach you have at your site and use it wisely.

Proverbs 25:11-12 tells us "A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver. As an earring of gold, and an ornament of fine gold, so is a wise reprover upon an obedient ear

I spoke to her as a sister in Christ and in a way that I'd like to be addressed if I were in the other position. The post was not posted but some others were, so I posted a comment asking if Candy had gotten my comment and she said she hadn't. Fortunately, I save copies of things like this so I reposted it. She still didn't post it and I had to ask her again about it. She finally posted:

Okay Ann - I got it. I dind't publish it, because what you said just isn't true. If you re-read what I wrote, I didn't attack her at all. As Tracy saw, I was offering tips to help her. I also did not once tear her down.

I honestly can say that this woman is either delusional or not telling the truth because the "tear down" is right in there clearly - in her own words. Not one of the things she said were encouraging, teaching, building up or anything. In response to this, I posted to her:

I'm sorry you cannot see the truth Candy. I know of a number of women who read that comment and were really hurt. Seriously hurt by what you said. Realize words are powerful. I'd just ask that you pray and seek the Lord in the manner that you use your words and see if they manifest the fruits of the Spirit. Calling her selfish and pitying her husband was not helpful at all. I'm afraid that you have damaged some women badly and God will call you accountable for that.

So, what is her response? She banned me from commenting on her blog. Instead of dealing with this in a Godly manner, she banned me and will no longer allow me to speak to her.

Matthew 18 reads: Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother.
But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.
And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican.

I have gone to Candy in private. I have gone to Candy with others (another woman also addressed this with Candy - and I know others have) and now I am bringing it to the only "church" that I know of that we are both a party of - the online community. I know I have limited readers, and I don't know how many read Candy's blog, but I am going to follow Scripture none-the-less. I am bringing this before you and I am now going to treat Candy as a heathen - as the Strongs defines it "savouring of the nature of pagans, alien to the worship of the true God, heathenish".


Anonymous said...

Very well put Ann, I am going to link your post on my blog.

Prairiehomemaker said...

Thank you for being and giving women a TRUE Titus 2 to follow and learn from.

Anonymous said...

Amen Mel:)

Pen of Jen said...

I am struggling with all this love for Sandi. It is not that I am against offering a compassionate shoulder, and guiding one through the Lord's word, but one needs to be direct also.

I have 4 kids and minimal income too. No insurance no nothing. We eat lots of rice and beans and everything from scratch. Yes I have internet, as does Sandi.

I think that our American poverty has created a bunch of I need people and I deserve, and I am woeful because I have nothing. We have so very much in this nation that I am appalled at the backbiting and forward biting and bickering I have seen over this. The church of Laodicea(of rights of the people) has created this touchy feely needy situation.

Either you believe that God can heal and is there for us to lean on or not. But to suggest that an approach that is leading one to be the wife and woman of the Bible is wrong befuddles me. We are to uplift our spouses. And why on earth are we all discussing Sandi...no one even knows who she is...

The example is in the Bible, in Genesis we see that we will toil, in Ruth we see that we can be his people, in the Gospels we learn of Christ and His Gift, we see in Proverbs the way we should be as a wife, and in Titus and 1 Corintians we see more examples as women that we should follow.

Our times present all kinds of psuedo illnesses and mental issues that can and will be overcome if we as a body of Believers pray and fast for Sandi. We must stop snarling at Sandi and create a blog prayer chain that us truly trying to help one crying out. HE HEARS, now the question is this? Do you, and are you willing to forgive the acts that have occurred so that we all can uplift Sandi??


Mamame said...

Jennifer - I'm going to post an answer to your comments in a bit - after I've had my first cup of tea. LOL Slept in late again with a headache.

I'm also going to make a blog post to Sandi as an answer to her initial comment to Candy and you will see the difference in how to answer a hurting woman in way that will not harm but do good.


Mamame said...

OK - Part way through my tea and feeling a little nauseous now. Hmm - hope it's not what DD had this week!! YIKES!

So Jen, let me address your comments. I agree that there is a sense of entitlement in this day and age. I live in an area that is very well off. The median income in my town is over $80,000 and the average home price is $600,000. People are driving big expensive cars, have housekeepers and landscapers, wear beautiful clothes, and yet they complain at how expensive things are getting. They all take big vacations and have big screen TVs but they complain that they can't feed their family. I think that means that they can't feed their family the steak and premium meats every night. I don't know.

However, being online, I've learned of a much different life than what I experience here. There are those who live on less than a quarter of the average income of this area. There are those who are feeding their family on under $100 a month for food. There are those who are absolutely in danger of losing their homes - and not multimillion dollar homes but homes that are substandard housing! When I hear someone complaining about their living conditions and money, I need to try to read between the lines and see what their situation might be. Of course we don't know these people online so we need to go by what they are saying.

I totally agree that one needs to be direct in counseling someone. It is not healthy for them to just hear "You're so great - you can do this - you're so right" when there is sin in their lives or thinking that is just off the truth. We need to be able to show them the truth but the key is that we need to do that in love. Jesus didn't tell the woman at the well that she was a whore or a disgusting sick woman. He told her the truth and she knew what He said was true. He spoke to her the truth with hope and deliverance and not angry, ugly words.

The idea of Sandi having internet so she has money means nothing. A husband will make the decision on that and I've seen homes where they CAN'T afford internet yet the husband demands that they have it. Yes, it's a blessing to have and a woman like Sandi is fortunate to have it. But just because she has internet doesn't mean that she has a ton of money. It could also be that her husband does some work at home on it and needs it for that reason. We've had internet for many years because before my husband went into the ministry, his livelyhood was made using the internet in his doing software engineering for international audio companies. So internet is not an indicator of income.

OK - to address what Candy said. What she said in some part is true. Sandi's focus was not on the right things. They were on her husband instead of the Lord. They were on her circumstances instead of the blessings that she has. But honestly calling this woman names (contentious, odious and spoiled) is very worldly and not of God. What she said is not going to lead anyone to be the wife and mother to be because she framed everything in harsh words and name calling.

Pray for Sandi. You bet I have. I do not see anything in Candy's post that even encourages Sandi to pray, no less to say that she (Candy) is praying for her. No - she laid the entire blame at the feet of Sandi and then just turned around and walked away.

Candy is a teacher in our cyberworld. The Scriptures are clear that not all are to strive to be teachers because they're going to be held accountable for what they teach. In reading this whole episode, I can safely say that God will hold Candy accountable for her words and heart towards this woman. There was not one word that would show that she was a sister in the Lord to this dear suffering soul and honestly, it has shown me that there still are still those who claim to be a child of God who do not do what He has commanded. That breaks my heart.

I am going to work on a post to Sandi now. It should be up in a short while.


Anonymous said...

I did the same thing as you (although over a different issue) and had a similar response. I'm glad people are still trying the biblical approach to her and I pray that in time she will listen.