Thursday, October 15, 2009

May God use the bullet in your heart to save you.

I recently proof-read something for a friend, and found a particular instance that I feel is common in some evangelical circles. Unsaved Person A ends up in a bad situation. Saved Person B, or several Saved People, pray for Unsaved A. They not only pray that Unsaved Person A will be delivered from this bad situation, but that God will use the bad situation to show Unsaved Person A the Truth, and thus person A will be saved.

That type of behavior does not sit well with me at all. I know that the evangelical means well, but it's exploitative behavior. One person's tragedy should not become the evangelical's opportunity to try and work something extra in. The tragedy should be allowed to stand on its own. If person A needs someone to listen, then s/he should be listened to, no strings attached. If Person A needs a specific form of help, then that help should be given, no strings attached.

And yet, if a prayer is uttered that the situation is used to achieve a certain outcome, then there are a lot of strings attached.

I find myself right not unwilling to share a lot of personal news with evangelical friends, for this very reason. I don't feel anymore that they'll just listen and sympathize, if I'm struggling with something. Rather, I feel that the struggle will turn into a tool they use in a prayer to God for God to use that situation to save me. It's like whatever happens in my life is just used by them, for something else. My life will turn into some sort of project, with them trying to build a particular outcome.

Any tragedies, or even any joyful events, in my life are not their opportunities.

14 comments:

Sarge said...

I have been told that certain relatives and others have prayed for some pretty bad thing to happen to me for that reason, so that I would "Come To My Knees".

They thought they had me a few times, but I never bit.

The one time that it really bothered me was when my youngest son was in Falujah and they prayed that something would happen to him for that reason.

It's a maind-set thing, I guess.

I pointed out to them that if he got hurt worse than he did (he was, in fact wounded, but luckily not badly), what would happen? Hopefully (according to them) I'd "reach out to god".

But what about his wife? His children? How would such a thing, if their silly prayer had anything to do with it effect THEM? How would they, themselves fell about the hardship they caused to happen?

This got me stares of incomprehension and one response that they wouldn't worry about such things, as it would be "Of The World". and thus of no real importance.

Spooky outlook.

societyvs said...

Wrote a blog on something close to this topic - but also quite unrelated.

However, I agree - people's pain should not be exploited by the person trying to witness about God's love...our love should be quite enough on those occasions...and if they feel an interest in the faith - then they should look into that. But that situation should stand as it is - with no agenda's on the table.

I also don't like this behavior - maybe it's the Christians idea of 'seeking God's will' that is so messed up - that they look at every situation and over analyze and over spiritualize it.

Lorena said...

That's why I don't mention any of my life's mishaps to Christians. The issue will always be my having left the faith no matter what the problem is.

I've become really good at saying I'm great, no matter what.

DagoodS said...

I’ve never had a family member or former friend tell me they were praying something bad would happen to “turn me back to God.”

…but I’ve often wondered if they do.

Lorena, I once hesitated telling them of good or bad things happening in my life, for this reason. Then I figured—“Screw it.” Doesn’t matter. With their particular Christian version, consequences are always interpreted in God’s favor. If something bad happens to me—it is God trying to win me back. If something good—it is the devil keeping me in the fold. If something bad happens to them—it is God teaching them a lesson. [or, alternatively, the devil persecuting them.] If something good happens to them—God is blessing them.

So I tell them my life, and let them interpret as they wish.

OneSmallStep said...

Sarge,

If they're praying for something bad to happen to you, then presumably they're asking God to do something directly or to let something bad happen. Yet they then want you to turn around and reach out to the very person who caused this bad thing?

OneSmallStep said...

Society,

**.and if they feel an interest in the faith - then they should look into that. But that situation should stand as it is - with no agenda's on the table.**

I wonder if such a thing is even possible if the main crux of one's religion is to evangelize?

OneSmallStep said...

Lorena,

I have this sudden image of you losing both your legs, blood still gushing out, and telling Christians that, "I'm so spectacularly wonderful!" :)

OneSmallStep said...

DagoodS,

I'd be curious how they'd answer that question if you ever asked. Especially depending on how you phrased it. I mean, if you asked a question such as, "Do you pray that something will happen to me like getting paralyzed for life, if it would mean my salvation?" Regardless of the "good" outcome, it's still something wishing paralysis on a loved one, and I wonder if it would make them pause.

Sarge said...

Oh, they wouldn't mind if I turned to THEM, but the real goal is the turn-to-god-surrender-to-jesus-get-on-your-KNEES schtick.

Me turn to THEM??!! It...it would be PRESUMPTUOUS to expect me to turn to them instead of The Savior.

Still, if I did... well they wouldn't demure, I suppose...

But it ain't gonna happen. ;-)

OneSmallStep said...

Sarge,

Sorry, I wasn't clear. I meant that they'd expect you to turn to the very God who caused/allowed the bad thing in the first place.

Sarge said...

Yes, this is a part of that philosophy.

In my childhood, we were told in Sunday school about what the bible - times shepherds did...no, not THAT... it was something in the interest of flock discipline.

If a lamb "strayed" too much, the shepherd would take his rod or staff and break the lamb's leg, and would hand feed and carry it about. This would cause the lamb to bond with the shepherd, it wouldn't ever stray again, and the lamb would LUUUUV the shepherd.

The last time I heard that one I was a teenager, and I was training horses on a farm. There were also sheep, and I knew about things like animal husbandry and sheep. I knew the rest of the incomplete story.

So, I offered that when the shepherd came to slaughter the lamb it would probably be easy because it wouldn't want to run away.

What, besides the content of ribald jokes, did people think shepherds actually DID with sheep? Hang around them for their stimulating wit and charming personalities?

I've never understood it: Paul Harvey's "Rest of the Story" was always appreciated, mine was ... not.

Lorena said...

I have this sudden image of you losing both your legs, blood still gushing out, and telling Christians that, "I'm so spectacularly wonderful!" :)

LOL! Just about right! I'd rather jump from a bridge that to take help from "compassionate" Christians.

I hate it when people feel pity for me. Particularly, when it is Christians helping out of duty because of their Lord. (Ahrrrr)

OneSmallStep said...

Sarge,

**What, besides the content of ribald jokes, did people think shepherds actually DID with sheep? Hang around them for their stimulating wit and charming personalities?**

That is a very good point, and one that I've never considered before. Sheep were a source of food and income to the Shepherds. They were protected because of what they provided for the shepherd, not because of any particular worth. Yet God/Jesus is seen as a Shepherd ... it reminds me of the book "How to Serve Man."

OneSmallStep said...

Lorena,

**Particularly, when it is Christians helping out of duty because of their Lord. (Ahrrrr)**

Yes. In that case, I'd rather have no help whatsoever. If someone has to tell you to feel compassionate for me, then what good does your compassion do? You don't mean it.