Friday, June 08, 2007

Does Silence Constitute Acceptance?

What do you do when someone you love is doing something you don’t agree with? They are not involved in something illegal or immoral. The person is just treating someone else in a way that goes against your beliefs on how to treat others. You have tested the waters a bit and you know for certain that if you let the person know you disagree with them, you will offend them and put distance in your relationship. You continue to wait because the person is so important to you. However, the longer you witness the behavior, the more your heart hurts and the more irritated you become. You begin to wonder if your silence appears to be acceptance to others. What would you do?
I’d love comments. I have been soul searching on this one for a while.


Melissa said...

I think you have to decide how important the issue is to you - and I don't think the worry should be what others think but what God thinks. I know that sounds trite but I really believe that. And as hard and sad as it is, sometimes you see the reality of the relationship and may have to decide what it more important. Not easy - been there, done that. Praying for you - definitely not a cut and dry answer on that!

Matt said...

I always flip a coin. If that doesn't work, I catch a wooly-bug and count the stripes. Odd=option1, even=option2.

If I were you, I'd go with the coin. I don't know if they have wooly-bugs in the rainforest... but if I were a bug in NW Washington State, I'd want to wear wool to keep from getting all cold. Maybe the wooly-bug route is best. They seem awful smart.

Anonymous said...

We had a similar situation several years ago with some friends. We felt the situation they were pursuing was wrong (not legally or morally). After much prayer and much time, we continued to feel the Holy Spirit leading us to talk to them about the issue. So we did. They listened to us and we LISTENED to them. After that we realized we had done all that God had called us to do and at that point, all we could do was to continue to love them and be their friends. We DID NOT continue to test the waters or press the issue. Whenever the situation they were going through came up, they would politely say, 'we know where you stand on this issue.' I guess you could say an 'agree to disagree' situation. The thing is now several years later seeing what has happened in their lives: In the beginning, having several Christian friends talk to them about the road they were taking had the positive outcome of them taking the time to pray more and seek God more. Which they didn't heed the advice and change course, it did cause them to seek more advice from trusted believers and from God. A few months ago, we received a letter from them and it was the best letter yet. Through the situation that everyone wanted them to avoid, it brought them unbelievably closer to God and able to see where God wanted them to really be. God used the situation in an awesome way, even though during the times it was really hard to watch them go through it all.

What am I trying to say?
1. A similar situation where we had to confront someone ONLY after prodding by the Holy Spirit
2. If you really feel you must get involved, you must always remember there are two sides of every story and the only people who really know the truth about a situation are those two sides. Third parties will never be able to fully grasp both sides. That is what God is for.
3. Don't keep testing the waters. Once you've let someone know how you feel about a situation, you've done your part. Let it go....into God's hands. Continuing to test the waters or bring it up, will ONLY lead to a broken relationship with the person.
4. Pray and be their friend. God might change the person or the situation OR He might change your point of view as you better get to know the person--or at least help you see that there is more to the situation than can possibly be grasped by a third party.
I love you JA!