Our Readers' Opinions
April 15, 2016
Damned if you do; damned if you don’t

EDITOR: Have you ever heard this comment “I don’t know why he keeps forcing himself on me; I don’t want to have anything to do with him, yet he keeps ‘edging up’ on me.”? I use this to preface my judgement on a certain issue of a socio-religious nature.{{more}}

Jesus, in His Mt. Olivet discourse, warned His followers “Give not that which is Holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you.” Forgiveness is a precious pearl, which should be carefully guarded by the Christian. Whenever someone complains to another that a certain person is not a Christian, because that person is in the habit of passing them on the street without greeting them or even acknowledging their presence, this is not intended to help the person to correct the supposed error in behaviour, but to cast aspersions on their character. The person reporting the matter, most often, is not interested in a relationship with the offending person.

Review my opening comment. It is a matter of ‘damned if you do; damned if you don’t’. Jesus has forgiven all of us, yet how many of us take time to even thank Him for it? How many of us care about talking to Jesus. If you know that someone isn’t talking you, why not report that you are not talking to the person? Why not try speaking to the person first before you report that the line of communication is broken? After all, you may have deeply offended that person. Abel may have been alive for many years after, if he was wise enough to have limited his contact with his brother Cain. Romans 16:17 warns us to mark and avoid some people. Remember too that the Scriptures warn against evil communication.

On the matter of forgiveness, many of us know full well that people have offended us and we have found it in our hearts to forgive them, but there are times when we find it virtually impossible to relate to them. It makes us uncomfortable passing such individuals on the street, but we have to endure these feelings, knowing that some people are without natural affection, implacable and unmerciful. (Romans 1:31). Should we ever try to call to them on the street, we would be risking embarrassment of the worse order, even threatened court action for molesting them. I am speaking from experience here.

If you are a Christian and find yourself at variance with a brother, especially if it occurred sometime in your distant unconverted past, know this, that if that person is really converted, God will make a way for you to meet and reconcile your differences. Do not stress yourself over the issue. Follow the Bible’s counsel; go to that person if he was the offender; if you were the offender, this person would come to you. You see, God knows that the person who is offended is somewhat in the position of strength and therefore should be the one initiating the move. When that person extends his mercy, the offender feels a burden lifted. This principle can only work with persons who are indwelt by The Holy Spirit.

I conclude by saying, do not be drawn into any situation where you feel obliged to prove to anyone that you are a Christian. The first temptation placed before Jesus required Him to prove that He was the Son of God.

Dennis Trant