Prayers for patience with ignorance online

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J.K. Riki
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Prayers for patience with ignorance online

Postby J.K. Riki » Wed Nov 14, 2018 2:58 pm

Let me just go with the short version of the story. I have an online friend who I have known a long time. They are an atheist borderline anti-theist. Beyond ignorance in theology, they have some very foolish ideas in a number of other areas, which I consistently come up against. I try to be patient and kind, and these days I even ignore any instances where they're wrong as long as it doesn't hurt anyone else. I am trying to be a good example and not just a constant nag, in spite of knowing from experience instances where reality doesn't line up with some of their brash assumptions.

I am currently having a conversation with them regarding theology, though, and they are pulling random OT verses out to somehow "prove" that God wants us to beat our children (see Proverbs 23:13-14). Given that this flies in the face of the overlying theme of the entire Bible, and is a gross misinterpretation of the POINT that proverb is making on the importance of discipline, I am struggling mightily to remain patient and kind.

I could use some prayers for this, and if anyone has any other advice on dealing with the situation, I more than welcome it. I am trying to be loving, while also firm in conviction that it is not okay to go around proposing you know the heart of God without any real study of scripture. Spreading these ideas that God wants beating, and the stoning as seen in the OT regarding Israel, is something I really have a tough time standing back and letting occur. I will not be able to convince this person, I believe, but I also do not feel comfortable not saying anything at all, lest people believe him to be accurate about this and believe it.

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Re: Prayers for patience with ignorance online

Postby Beastbot » Thu Nov 15, 2018 4:07 am

Prayers sent.

As for advice-- he sounds like someone that you're not going to convince with Bible verses at first. He's heard too much from the other side. You need to convince him with a more philosophical argument before getting into Christianity specifically. I realize you probably won't get him to read the book, but using tactics similar to C.S. Lewis in Mere Christianity might work. Stop being on the defensive and put HIM on defense-- not by being angry, of course, but just by asking simple questions. "Why do you think random processes are more likely to give birth to sentient beings than a God?" Given that there isn't enough time in the universe for that to happen. (Time can not have been infinite in the past, otherwise we never would have gotten to this point in time. Time had to have started. What made that start, and why does he think a causeless explosion of matter is more logical than a Being with a purpose? Etc.)

Ultimately, though, if you have done your best in polite company and it's been a long time, I know it breaks your heart but you need to back off before friendships are broken. God commands us to spread the Gospel, but it is ultimately up to the person to accept it. If you push too hard you will just harden his current opinions on Christianity.
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Re: Prayers for patience with ignorance online

Postby ccgr » Fri Nov 16, 2018 5:41 pm

Praying, it's a matter of waiting for when the time is right and for God providing an opportunity. You can't do much with fruit that's not ripe yet. Hopefully if/when their mind is opened they won't take the Bible out of context.

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Re: Prayers for patience with ignorance online

Postby MattNickPooz » Fri Nov 16, 2018 9:09 pm

I pray for you to have patience, wisdom, and strength.

Like the previous posters said, there's a time to speak and a time to remain silent. If you think the person is open to learning, then discussion can be beneficial. But if the person is not open to learning and only wants to argue or fight, then discussion can be anything from fruitless to harmful. In all cases, our goal should be to help the other person.

Sometimes folks need to see a living example of the truth, and that's about the only thing that will get their attention. When we follow Christ as He taught, by denying ourselves, turning the other cheek, going the 2nd mile, showing kindness to those who are unkind to us, and all of this as an expression of love, then they see something that is not possible apart from God.

I pray that God will soften your friend's heart and give you wisdom to speak or not to speak at the right times.

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Re: Prayers for patience with ignorance online

Postby J.K. Riki » Sat Nov 17, 2018 5:52 pm

Thanks for the thoughts, everyone! It does seem this is one of those times to just let them be. I don't think I will be the person who can get through, I've failed too much in the past. Much like David being banned from building the temple and having to leave it to Solomon, this is likely a job that isn't for me to do. :)

It is helpful to get the reminder, so thank you again!

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Re: Prayers for patience with ignorance online

Postby MattNickPooz » Tue Nov 20, 2018 7:28 pm

Don't write yourself off too quickly (or at all). Don't forget that it's not about you. Compared to each other, some may be better or worse. But we shouldn't compare ourselves to each other. Only compare to Christ. And in that comparison, none of us can stand. But thankfully He is able to take us, if we will cooperate with Him, and transform us from our fallen brokenness into His likeness. And He has chosen to use the weak to confound the strong. No matter how many times we fall or have fallen, just keep getting back up and walking towards Christ. He'll help us so that we fall less and less. And as we are changed into His likeness and the light of His Holiness shines through our life, those around us will be drawn to Him.


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