Sunday, September 29, 2013

I've got nothing for him

Recently I have developed a new conviction. It's been tried and tested through the metric I use. It's open for debate, however it's going to take a pretty solid, rational appeal for me to question it again.

A married Christian woman has nothing to offer and nothing to be gained from an association with a single man unless he is someone her husband respects and/or is mentoring.

This conviction began stirring within me while reading Sunshine Mary's blog. I commented a bit eluding to it there. But most of this has come from a real life situation.  

We've I've been friends with a young man for several years now. I met him through mutual friends (two couples). One of the couples was close with his parents. I learned quite a bit about his life story and entertained the friendship out of a motherly role.

We've had him at our home several times. Each time he was respectful and carried on with RLB about sports, politics, and Army life. We no longer live in the same area so most of my contact with him has been through Facebook.

This young man struggles with his faith. He was raised much like I was but questioned and left the church and renounced his salvation after what he said was a realization that the existence of God could not be proven. He's told me that he is comfortable with his rejection of a belief in God yet at every opportunity he would challenge something I would post related to Christianity. RLB would engage him and debate, discuss etc. However the non stop bombardment of my posts got to be too much.

He wasn't hearing RLB, that was clear. So I asked him to read one of Vox Day's books, The Irrational Atheist (RLB had previously suggested it to him). He said he'd read it but first relayed his doubts regarding the book and expressed a typical ad hominem.

Over the course of interacting with this man, it became clear there was nothing I could say or do to affect his faith. We've discussed it all. And I've surrendered to being utterly inept at The Great Commission with regards to this man. And it's not just that. There's nothing I could say or do that would affect his opinion of what is or is not moral.

The comment on SSM's blog that I linked to above had the same results...nothing. The man I was speaking to said he had slept on what I said, had no revelation regarding it and came away feeling even more hopeless. That's the last thing I wanted to have happen.

It all makes perfect sense. There is nothing biblical about a woman teaching a man.

The evidence suggests that 1) what a man could learn from a woman, he should be learning from another man 2) much of what I'd been spending my time doing was what Matthew 7:6 warns of: casting pearls before swine 3) in some instances the very opposite of what I hoped for happened.

It really has nothing to do with the woman either. Her presentation matters little, neither does her sincerity or charity. I've read countless examples of a variety of women, with different temperaments and tone, speaking/writing to single men with no evident impact.

There's more to this that I'm developing an awareness of but don't quite know how to express.

I'd be remiss if I didn't also write about what went on with me. Every debate we'd engage in had to be slow and deliberate on my part. I had to conscientiously overcome my own solipsism and knee jerk defensiveness each and every time before I would respond.

I write this for your amusement and to confess that though a woman might appear stone cold logical, don't be fooled, it does not come naturally to us, at least not to me anyway.

There were times that my thoughts would read like the following: "I Can Not believe he is defending the murder of infants in the womb, he knows how much we, as a family, have grieved this issue. I have three children reading this! Is he really so daft that he can not conceive of how offensive he is?"

"How dare he say, on my personal FB page, that the Bible is bullshit! He can't possibly value me as a friend and willingly offend me so personally. He knows my faith, he knows my relationship with the Lord, Jesus Christ, is the most important aspect of my life. What is wrong with him?"

You get the idea.

As I said above there is an exception to this. When a woman's husband respects or is mentoring the single man, she can be of tremendous value. It is not about her alone, however. It is the respect the single man has for her husband that allows him to consider her words. When RLB says to one of his single friends, "ask SD to tell you about ____," it is the regard he has for RLB that allows him to hear what I have to say. It's a very different dynamic. From what I have learned, it's the only dynamic that makes a relationship between a single man and a married, Christian woman acceptable. 


16 comments:

  1. I would argue your current situation with this "friend" is teaching you that "being nice" with some people just doesn't work. He's not really interested in hearing what you have to say, he's not responding to your message, and is in essence dropping a load on your FB wall with his language. It's one thing to debate someone on a FB comment, it's quite another to call another person's beliefs "bullshit".

    This guy needs to learn respect, or you need to give him the freedom to express his viewpoints elsewhere. This means you need to draw some boundaries on what you'll put up with from someone, tell him what those boundaries are if you're to remain friends, and then enforce them. If he really values you as a friend instead of a convenient place to vent his angst, he'll abide by your boundaries. If not, then it's time to let him play elsewhere until he's willing to abide by the rules of your playground.

    And - in doing this - you'll be offering to this single guy what it's like to interact with a married woman who cares enough not to put up with his crap.

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    1. SD, I have to second this. Your offended reaction to his offensive statements--in YOUR FB space--is not solipsistic or even irrational. He knows very well he's being offensive. The proper response is, in fact, to remind him that he is being disrespectful, not to pretend it's not happening or to berate yourself for taking personally what's meant personally. Either he will pitch a baby-fit and go away, or he will back down and mend his manners.

      Also, Priscilla worked with her husband Aquila. If you are/were working with RLB (and accepting his authority) on this guy, it's not you who's at fault here.

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  2. RLB and I have been discussing this overall point of my post with several different single men/married Christian women in mind.

    What ended up happening with this guy in particular, after RLB read all of his latest comments is he said to me, "Have you had enough of this yet?" Which translated to me that he had had enough. I wrote the guy an email explaining just that, sent my best wishes and "unfriended" him.

    Like I said, though, this isn't just about this guy.

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  3. I am of the mind that women and men cannot be friends. I am almost 40 and I have seen it too many times. He can not flirt with you so he attempts to get your attention in this manner. If he was interested in your faith, you could have said "Great, speak to my Husband." He isn't interested in your faith, but he is interested in having your attention. My Husband and I have had this happen. Often the person of the opposite sex finds something you are good at or interested in and just wants to chat with you about it. Then it doesn't stop. We chat with people as a couple or not at all. If someone was openly antagonistic of my religion like this I cut them off. Clearly what can darkness have to do with light. He isn't ignorant. He has made his choice. Now he is using his access to you to torment a child of God. You did the right thing.

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    1. I've long held that mindset as well, Carlotta. It had been, for years, a relationship between the three of us and RLB has had many conversations with him.

      I've heard it said that after a time of rebellion and unrepentance God hands you over to your own iniquities. I honestly believe that is what has happened with this young man. It couldn't grieve my heart more. In being oldish like you ;) I've been able to witness the progression of lives lived indulging in sin and decadence. But for the grace of God there go I... And ohhh, I'm such a momma hen that aches when I come to understand I'm powerless to stop it. And then I beg to understand why... why was I able to be reached when another is unreachable....uhhhh, bleh!

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    2. Now I should have added...pray. The prayers of saints are mighty. Everytime I run up against someone like this I know I must pray. What is praying 50 years if it keeps someone from hell?

      You may be the only one and that could be enough. Nothing is impossible with God. Remember your soul wasnt saved by argument or persuasion but by grace and the awakening of the Holy Spirit. Someone prayed for you!

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    3. Truth!
      I have and will continue to pray for him.

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  4. You cannot help someone who doesn't want to be helped. This young man's behavior demonstrated that he didn't want to be helped. He wanted attention, and more specifically, the sympathy of being a victim.

    You did your best. There is nothing else to do but shake the dust off your feet and move on.

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  5. @Sigyn,
    Also, Priscilla worked with her husband Aquila. If you are/were working with RLB (and accepting his authority) on this guy, it's not you who's at fault here.

    I want to thank you for saying this. I've been thinking about it since I read it earlier.

    Two days before my last exchange with this man he and RLB had an exchange that clearly indicated it was time to let go of the hope I had for him. I am actually very at fault for my last exchange with him. I'm not new, it was clear this man lacked respect for my husband and would not be relenting in his sophomoric and/or offensive challenges to my every post.

    I'm very keen to this online with people I don't know. When it is clear a blog commenter is choosing to engage with me but expresses contempt for my husband, I no longer "talk" with that commenter. But, because I know this young man personally, I gave him leeway that should not have been granted after the previous exchange he had with RLB.

    donalgraeme, you're right. I think what I'm honing in on is the ability to discern when the right time is to shake the dust off.

    With the man I know personally, I was two days late. But I am very grateful for the lesson.

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  6. SD:

    Good post. donal is right that there are some who don't want to be helped. Even if he wanted help, you couldn't be the one to help him.

    Carlotta is right that at bottom, men and women really can't truly be friends. Doesn't work for lots of reasons.

    Please send me an email at the email address used to post this comment.

    RLB, permission to correspond with your wife, please; and SD you can show RLB any correspondence we have.

    deti

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  7. Dammit.

    do you have an email address, SD? If it's public, please post it.

    deti

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  8. Deti, you can find the e-mail at the bottom of this site.

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  9. I don't have issue with the fact that SD had to get upset with what happened. She knows this. I have been very in control over what discussions would occur. In particular, I enjoy allowing my family members to experience the truth of people and their ugly. It isn't a trick or game. It is a controlled way to shed light on the values and beliefs I hold to be true.

    SD's frustration and post have to do with this light revealing moment. I've said before that non-family members are experiments to me. They always will be. This attitude helps me to develop personally, as much as my family members do. Communicating the truths I know in life is difficult to do without being authoritative. I find the authoritative to be good, but the "you see Timmy" moments following those authoritative diatribes are more influential.

    I'm not going to pretend I'm all-knowing. However, I do understand some things better than my wife and children. As a result, I will allow certain types of relationships/dialogues to happen in order to better make my "you see Timmy" point. By doing this, I find myself more reflective as well.

    For example, my son frustrates me with his immediate, "No!" reaction to things he isn't comfortable with. It's a very natural response for a young man. He doesn't want to be viewed as wimpy or weak. I have similar moments all the time. Being old, I know how to hold my tongue long enough to say the appropriate thing. It's not that I don't have a disgust for what was said; it's that I know how to win the debate. It might be rhetorical in nature; it might be dialectic. I pause long enough to decipher the correct response. I taught RLB Jr this tonight. He sleeps well.

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  10. SSM can teach a young bride how to be a fantastic wife, and she does a phenomenal job with that. She can not, however, help single men. And she doesn’t want to hurt them.

    Bingo.

    My intentions have always been to be kind to those who have been hurt. Unfortunately, you see what the result of that has been.

    Only once over the course of my blog has my husband stepped in and taken over counseling a single man by email, and he only did so because he believed this man genuinely wanted to try to fix his situation.

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  11. Great post -- I also see the truth that men and women cannot be friends. Men absolutely need other men for counsel as iron sharpens iron. Women have nothing to offer them in terms of being a man. I'll posit that, in my experience, it seems guys who are adrift, have no faith, or look to a woman for counsel don't have a good relationship (or any relationship, for that matter) with their own fathers, so they don't relate well to the Heavenly Father.
    Amanda

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