The Greatest Sorrows

Tonight I had to un-follow a friend who has been like a brother to me for nearly twenty years. I did not unfriend him, just stopped following his daily posts. I enjoyed seeing the beauty of his work when he showed it, but the hate he has for those around him has gotten the best of him. I could no longer handle having that kind of hate on my wall.

For some odd reason, he seems to be one of those who tends to get angry when he is pointed toward the facts that debunk his posts. I have a lot of atheist friends. Not one has ever had a problem with my praying, whether it is in school(when I was still in school) or in public. Most times, I do not appear as if praying out of respect to those who may not believe as I do.

I merely asked my friend a question at the end of my reply to his post, which was basically stating what I have just stated about my friends not being offended by my praying (plus added the fact that the problem was with most Christians’ propensity to preach, judge and condemn.), and he went ballistic. It has resulted in him calling me a “Christian basher” which, in my thirty years as a Christian, I have never done nor was it my intent. What I said did not bash anyone. it merely pointed to the problems with many “mainstream Christians” today.

I find it juvenile, that a man who has an admitted problem with alcohol and drugs would go on tirades like this. At one time in our friendship, he was rather rational and open-minded about things. But, now, he seems to have lost all concept of being able to listen and reason beyond what those around him tell him is right or wrong. And this should never be a trap anyone falls into.

As a Christian, I have questioned everything I was taught. Examined it. Poked at it. researched it.

I do not often talk about my faith, because I do not want to preach. I admit I am Christian, I am proud to be a Christian. But that does not give me a license to attack anyone who isn’t. It does not give me a right to accuse a group of being evil and wrong or even for not wanting me to pray. That just is not so. As far as I can remember, there was never a prayer said in Sidney Schools. Not once.

No once have I had anyone come over at a restaurant when I have chosen to pray in public and insist that I stop immediately. Nor have I had anyone I can’t pray anywhere else in public either. So this big post of his about atheists not wanting people to pray is just wrong.

I do not mind Christian posts. That is not the problem. The problem is when they attack others. That is anti-productive. It solves nothing.

It definitely does not garner the Christian community any brownie points. Hell. I have been here long enough, I mean in the life of a Christian, that I have realized that people cannot save anyone’s souls, not even their own…of and by themselves. And that is not our calling. Our calling is to serve. Whether it is as a listener, moral support, or in a food kitchen. Or even if it means to build jobs so that others have something to do. Whatever we are called to do, we must do so without being preachy.

I have also found that the best way to influence people is through how you live. How do you live your life? Do you sit in judgment of those around you? Do you exude hate?

Or do you exemplify the love and compassion that Christians are called to show? Do you put on a big show of “being a Christian”? Or do you quietly live a life others actually would love to live? Do you give? Or do you think the poor need to “Just get a job and quit being so lazy”?

Hatred has no place in the Christian heart. Neither does judgment, condemnation, greed, envy, or an unwillingness to grow and learn. And you cannot grow in your Christian walk if you are unwilling to be asked-or ask yourself-certain questions, especially when you post something that might not be as true as you took it to be. You should be willing to be reprimanded by a fellow brother when you are wrong. Especially when you aren’t an old hat in the Way of Life.

Of course, the atheist topic isn’t the first clash we have had. He has a problem with generalized hate. And, yes, he is very anti-black. And anti-gay. And anti-Arab, Mexican, or foreigner.

Up until now, I forgave him because he was a southerner. But no more. When he insults my intelligence by accusing me of bashing what I am, he has crossed a line. A line he shouldn’t have crossed.

I have already told him that, if he cannot take being asked a question after being shown some facts, then he can feel free to un-friend me and blow a twenty-some year friendship. I would know how strong he was by his decision. I have taken some measures to stem the hate, and he is not the first I have un-followed.