Thought provoking

“Silence in the face of evil is itself evil; God will not hold us guiltless. Not to speak is to speak. Not to act is to act” Dietrich Bonhoeffer

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28 thoughts on “Thought provoking

  1. Silence at confrontation = affirmation.
    It can go either way, for good or for evil. But it still is an affirmation whether we like it or not. Ex: Jesus confronted by the Temple Leaders; “Are You the King of the Jews? Why won’t You give an answer?” Jesus’ silence, in this case, affirms what the confrontational representative says.

  2. I am guilty of this so many times in my life. From early on I was taught to not speak of anything upsetting as it might harm a loved one who suffered from early heart attacks. I carried this into my life and my marriage. It was as if I would sweep anything unpleasant, wearisome, troubling to me under the carpet. As we know doing makes for a very bumpy carpet of life. You might of thought you had smoothed things out (false thinking) but in actuality you had caused the troubles to become more prevalent and more wearisome, troubling, unhealthy, etc. At times I would get in the face of the perpetrators and emotionally tell them what I thought with no plan for positive steps of action. Meaning, taking it to the next level – counselor, doctors, lawyers. I had no conflict resolution skills but are developing them. When you wake up one day and find truth you are devastated. What happened to this little light of mine – hidden under a bushel of woes (sin), darkness there is no light. Once the light truly hits the bumpy carpet of life and exposes that bundle for what it is, pure sin, then help cometh and God works in you and the situations you covered or thought you covered so smoothly (lies, lies, lies). This hurts everyone around you.

    I now know that when you think of cover ups, think these thoughts are from and Satan wants you to hide them. You willingly participate with Satan, oh sinner such as I. Bring the light of truth and positive action steps and you start bringing healing to the situations of life that are sinful in God’s site.

  3. Making your steps, Rena, reminds me of this scripture of encouragement and promise form the Lord from 2 Cor. 2:14 NKJ “Now thanks be to God who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and through us diffuses the fragrance of His knowledge in every place.”
    Bonhoffer’s statement makes it glaringly clear to all of us how terrible passivity is and that it is not a neutral place but a place of siding with evil and that we have to overcome evil with good.

  4. OH, how we yearn from within to be in healthy, wholesome, communicative relationships. It gives us a glimpse of our love/friend/loyal relationship with our wonderful Lord. It makes our faith brim with happiness and peace.

    “Silence in the face of evil is itself evil…” I think if we read this over and over and think on it we might propel like lightening out of the position of life that Rena found herself in. Think about it, looking at evil eyeball to eyeball and remain silent is evil itself. The Lord’s prayer may help, “…lead us not into temptation but deliver us from EVIL,”

  5. When ‘facing the giants’, one must use wisdom in confrontation…like having a solution instead of just accusation….. Like having evidence when presenting one’s “case” or in making a challenge against wrong or evil.
    Our House of Representatives are reading the Constitution aloud before all the House. That’s a good start. We can quote the Law of God to the adversary we are confronting but it must also be put to action. Like Rena wrote about above, it starts young. When we confront our children or our students at their having done wrong we also present them with an alternative that meets the guidelines of the School system and mores of the community as well. In our cases it ( the solution or alternative action) must meet the guidelines of the Word of God.

  6. In Gwen Shaw’s devotional this morning The Lord told her, “Do not try to save your skin by refusing to speak Truth, the Law of love and grace.”

    And I believe that we are encouraged, well really, Commanded to speak the Words of eternal life (which also involves not only mindsets but personal behavior before God) to those who will hear it. If we are rejected, then it is really the Truth that is rejected. Jesus was rejected for speaking the Truth and He DID NOT try save His own skin, so to speak, but allowed His flesh to be crucified. Can we do the same? We are called to, but oh! the pain of crucifying that flesh! I believe we must practice it starting with our fleshy lips. That is the the first step and a biggie! The crucifixion of the “calves of our lips” unto the praise and glorification of God. Today, I will attempt it AGAIN! Lord Help.

  7. I don’t think the problem would be to speak what we read from the Bible about a situation or even how we feel about what God said. I think we want to tell people about how we emotionally feel and want and solicit emotional feedback to feed our big fat egos.

    It is all about loving others and God!

  8. I think that emotional speaking would be categorized as subjective … “belonging to, proceeding from, or relating to the mind of the thinking subject and not the nature of the object being considered; of, relating to, or emanating from a person’s emotions, prejudices, etc. subjective views; (Philosophy) existing only as perceived and not as a thing in itself.” (Free Dictionary)
    It seems this type of communication can be dangerous, especially if we don’t quantify it as such.
    Objective speaking, on the other hand bases its statements in facts.
    “Having actual existence or reality;uninfluenced by emotions or personal prejudices: an objective critic; based on observable phenomena; presented factually; undistorted by emotion or personal bias; of or relating to actual and external phenomena as opposed to thoughts, feelings, etc”

    I would think when addressing evil we would want to strive to stick to objective communication rather than spouting off subjectives.

  9. True…but that depends on the situation. If the evil is being done directly to me or hindering MY WALK then I sure could get subjective about it, while still addressing the issue of good vs. evil. In some cases it might NOT affect anyone else but “me” or “mine” so being objective while being subjective might be the tack to take.
    I learned a little today about Who should confront, whom we should confront, where we should confront and when (sort of who has the right to confront). There is evil all around us but WISDOM will have her day when we confront the right person(s) at the right time in the right place, with the right motive and with what determination that the Holy Spirit leads. That’s a tall order, and you’re right.
    But being subjective doesn’t have to be in an emotionally explosive manner. Jesus asked, “For which good things that I have done are you trying to kill me?” He confronted them with their own murderous sin but was subjectively objective in His communication with them. They WERE trying to kill Him but He didn’t go bananas. He called it like it is.

  10. Trying to understand what you are saying. For instance suppose I show a movie like FIREPROOF with the hopes of some discussion afterwards. I might say I know you are having some of these same issues as the movie portrays. The person suddenly says, “I’m over that, I’m going to bed?” Another says, “Me Too!” The rest are left sitting there. What just happened? Subjectively I could say, “Just go on to bed – who cares anyway,” not say a word, or I could say, can we discuss this a little more in depth before you go off to bed” (You out there may have better ways of communication to approach this situation.) What should have been said. The first two suggestions are certainly subjective. My counselor says to evaluate. Did anything good come out of the words? She also says that when we want to get up and run we are acting like adolescents (or bullies) – escape quickly. Or do we as Christians as Pastor Gary said this morning act intentionally in our walk with the purpose of bringing light and healing to people.

  11. What I was saying above was in my own situation where I was “tempted’ to confront a friend about a certain situation. Fortunately, I did not. And, discussing it later with my pastor I learned that it really wasn’t MY place to confront on that issue. So even though it could be and will eventually be a confrontational issue in that person’s life it certainly is not, at this time (ON THAT ISSUE) MINE to confront.
    It is our responsibility to confront when it concerns us and those with whom we are in relationship, a matter between or among us. But just to confront when it is none of our business at that time, might be interfering and putting our noses where they do not belong.
    I have a friend who confronted her grandchild about a certain matter, religion. She was confronted and rebuked by the child’s mother as being out of line and admonished and given strict advice about how the mother did not want the grandmother to involve herself in that issue, plain and clear. Even though there is a close relationship with the grandchild and grandmother, clearly she was not to involve herself and there was a confrontation between mother and grandmother rather than child & grandmother.

  12. If we would pause and think of Bonhoeffer and the evil he was speaking of here we might be better able to put things in perspective. He was finding ways to confront Hilter!

  13. Rena, in your role playing scenario that you have put before us did you not leave a vital part out? Did this person say a day or so before that he had no idea what the problem was? He was approached with the problem details that were also given in this movie. Is that right?

    Am I also understanding from the scenario that there was an Amen in going to bed?

  14. MG, your story above seems a lot different than the way you told earlier. You didn’t tell me the grandmother confronted the child in their faith. You said she talked to the child with a demand. Saying, “you do too”…that seems like a bulling grandmother to me.

  15. I see that as a confrontation to the child… when the child made a statement of faith, the grandmother “confronted the child with a “you do, too!” Of course, the grandmother believed that she was right in confronting her grandchild and opposing what the child had been taught. She contradicted the child’s belief system, such as it was. Yes, I do also see that as bullying even though the belief system of the grandmother is what we believe to be the truth. Still that was not HER confrontation to make tho she took it. In turn the child of the grandmother confronted her!

  16. I see the problem is with the choice of words, ‘you do too.’ How can someone tell another that you do believe in Jesus Christ when they say they don’t….The grandmother has a belief system and she tells the child that you do believe the way I do regardless of how your parents have taught you differently.

    When you told me this in person I offered what I thought would be a better choice and that was to discuss with the child the meaning of Christmas. Or, ask the child what they understand about the holiday? Or, what part of the holiday they celebrated? Offer to stop making cookies if the child felt like it was against the belief of her parents. etc. etc. I think if we are Christians, which you say the grandmother is, we should be helping with understanding. I don’t think even God demanded us against our will to believe in HIM.

    Guess the grandmother tried to the best of her ability. Maybe she like many of us could try for some better communication skills by attending some Bible Studies or other church related services if we are going to demand and tell someone what they believe or have to believe.

  17. Yes Sara you are right. He said he had no idea what the problem was and after the movie he was approached with the problem details that were given in the movie.
    There was also an Amen about going to bed.

  18. How painful for the ones that offered their love, care and concern. It was a good step. And, one must believe the step will revolve into another good step. “act intentionally in our walk with the purpose of bringing light and healing to people.” You did!!!!!!

    When we look at the life of Dietrich Bonhoeffer and his desire to stop evil, he made steps, many didn’t work and he was arrested and ultimately killed for his part in wanting to stop this evil. His brothers died. Lot of suffering for the cause. But, in his death and caring we are still overcoming evil with good.

    BTW, Rena, did the party preface their conversation with the one being confronted that he had told them he did not even know what the problem was, etc.?

  19. In the grandmother scenario, I am reminded that God leads his children. One story that comes to mind is; Jacob met Esau and he had his flock and Jacob was afraid if he drove the sheep they would died. Jacob knew if he lead the sheep they would live.

    “the Lord thy God, will hold thy right hand, saying unto thee, fear not” (Isa. 41:13).

  20. I agree with your statement Mg that “But being subjective doesn’t have to be in an emotionally explosive manner.” We can state our feelings, perspectives, thoughts or beliefs on a subject in an appropriate manner. It seems to me we should be careful, however, to differentiate our subjective thoughts, perspectives, beliefs, opinions from fact by perhaps prefacing our statements with something like, “this is my feeling, or my opinion or the way I see it’ as opposed to making statements as if they are factual when there may not be any validity or proof to back that up.

  21. Read with me in Mark (16: 9-14) “After Jesus rose from the dead early on Sunday morning, the first person who saw him was Mary Magdalene, the woman from whom he had cast out seven demons. She went to the disciples, who were grieving and weeping, and told them what had happened. But when she told them that Jesus was alive and she had seen him, they didn’t believe her. Afterward he appeared in a different form to two of his followers who were walking from Jerusalem into the country. They rushed back to tell the others, but no one believed them. Still later he appeared to the eleven disciples as they were eating together. He REBUKED them for their stubborn unbelief because they refused to believe those who had seen him after he had been raised from the dead.”

    Jesus sure wasn’t silent, was he?

  22. It looks like situations discussed above resemble case studies.

    I learned from a education course that I recently completed how valuable case studies can be as a learning and teaching tool.
    Case studies are a kind of qualitative research that can be used to look at a person or a group situation. If you are doing research to develop a case study you would use interviews, make observations, record facts or data about the person or situation, give tests, etc and record and study the outcomes. The quality of the case study determines the validity of your research.
    Case studies can be used to help teach different subjects because they can stimulate critical thinking, teach content and explore ethics.

    Searching online I found that Carnegie Mellon defines case studies as “stories. They present realistic, complex, and contextually rich situations and often involve a dilemma, conflict, or problem that one or more of the characters in the case must negotiate.”

  23. That’s good info, Debi. Personal testimonies of experiences, Biblical and secular parables and “case stories” all serve as good examples to help define a conflict and hopefully reach some resolution. Thanks.

  24. “Case studies can be used to help teach different subjects because they can stimulate critical thinking, teach content and explore ethics.” Good info, Debi!

  25. I think we hope we can learn from them in that we will be able to gain wisdom and apply principles that are inherent in the studies to our own and others real-life situations.

  26. I was always told if you can’t say anything nice just don’t say anything at all. This statement tells us silence in the face of evil is evil itself… I think Sara hit the nail on the head when she spoke of lack of communication. When we are in the face of evil we need to break the silence and know what to say and when to say it. God’s Word will tell us what to say when facing evil. There are many examples in the Bible of God’s people facing evil and what to do when we face this evil. By studying and understanding these examples in God’s Word, we will be prepared when we face evil. That is why it is critical to “put the whole armor of God” on daily. As soon as we wake up, so we will be prepared. We need to pray that the Holy Spirit will lead us and guide us and help us break the silence according to God’s Word. There have been many times that I have failed at this. I have spoken out of my own emotion and flesh or I stayed silent and did not speak at all. I know each day is another opportunity to prepare myself for these attacks and to handle it the right way. The only right way is through the Lord Jesus Christ.. Lord, guide me today and help me..

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