I been running into myself lately. Upon reflection, I see that I've been giving people too much credit or not enough and coming to at least debatable conclusions. It strikes me about myself that this is an old habit that's not been apparent to me because prior to, I was much more inclined to avoid soul searching. Many of my more egregious behavioral patterns (addictions of one sort or another) have been broken. Finer details are coming into focus. I'm put in mind of Jesus saying:
(19) Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.
I remember suffering a long string of hugely blatant censorship even where I was saying things that were perfectly in line with Christianity. I left a comment on one site. It showed up but then disappeared. It fit the pattern. I wrote about it. The site owner was offended and left messages to that end. I attempted to find out how the comment could show up and then disappear without manual action by the blog owner. The software people wouldn't give a definitive answer. They were worried about getting in between rather than answering the questions. Was it a bug even? The explanation the blog owner gave though was incorrect else the system wouldn't have shown the comment, which was duplicated all over via the various streams I have that do that (show my comments around the web, etc.). Even still, I wonder. Did communication get cut off too quickly? Did my disgust with general censorship of Christian principles lead me to overly generalize? Did that tempt the blog owner to react in ways ordinarily he would not? Were we all tempted and fell to it?
I live in an apartment. It's a converted motel. The floors are plywood. They squeak in certain places when one walks on them. They are not thick and far from sound proof. There have been many tenants who and come and gone below me. I'm fairly quiet. Some of them have been extremely loud. Others have been nearly as quiet as I am. I work from this apartment. I do all my reading, writing, and other work here. A loud tenant below is abusive. Well, the last tenant was reasonably quiet in terms of loud bangs and such. Sometimes though he'd talk loudly for hours on end (6 to 8 hours straight of non-stop talking). I couldn't hear the other person with him. His voice was deeper and resonated up through the floor. Well, I only spoke with him once about it at 3 AM. You get the point. However, we had a solid freeze here without snow for insulation from the Sun thawing the roof every day. Each evening and night for about a week, the roof would refreeze. As it did that, it was like Cherry Bombs going off in the ceiling, walls, and even floor. It was very difficult to determine where it was coming from. At first, it sounded exactly like someone whacking the ceiling and walls below. I'd been there before with one tenant. So, I put it to the fellow below. He seem equivocal – not knowing whether or not he was responsible. There you have my failure to consider how much credit to give him one way or the other. Later, I apologized to him for suspecting that he might have been banging on purpose, as a former tenant most certainly had done.
Not too long ago on Facebook, someone put up a link for the sake of debate. I replied. The link and my reply disappeared. I immediately thought the poster had deleted it. He said he didn't, and the group moderator said he didn't remember the particular link. The group administrator/creator had said he would be deleting links and posts that don't stand up. It didn't occur to me that the link in question with my refutation attached would fall to that level. I'm still not sure since I reposted the link and my reply in full and the original poster never returned to continue the debate.
Taking enough care
Carelessness is not a good thing. At the same time, we have to let go of things. Where to draw lines is the refining question. I added the words "BLOCKING, MUTUAL REPENTANCE" to the title of this post because I have the following on my mind about it all.
I just had a fellow on Facebook suggest a friend. It was the third time he done that. Each one was accompanied by a sexually provocative image. I'd dealt with this person before. I assumed he knew who I was in terms of my religion. Two of his previous suggested friends disappeared from Facebook, and I'd had a number of other "friends" on Facebook seemingly targeting with suggestions designed to annoy or trip up, etc. Why people do that is their own failing.
Well, I confronted this person who replied with an indignant tone. However, he immediately blocked me. Therefore, working out a misunderstanding was not on his mind. He either was lying or couldn't care how I could have come to wrong conclusions based upon the pattern I described to him.
My thought here is that while there are times and places for blocking, is it right to do it before anyone has an opportunity to interact over the points that have arisen on account of circumstances? Why would anyone think that I'm out to do what is wrong and would never repent about something or clarify or further qualify or what have you?
In the case of the person in question, at the very least he was wrong to suggest the people he did without some sort of explanation showing good intentions on his part. In the worst case scenario, both of us would need to repent of our actions. That's why I said, "MUTUAL REPENTANCE," in the title.
The person said I have an ego problem. Correct me if I'm wrong, but he probably means that because I assumed he knew I was a Christian and he thinks I shouldn't have thought I merited his having checked my profile before friending me or accepting or that I shouldn't have thought I merited his having remembered me from other social networks and my comments, etc. I hope he's not suggesting that I don't know the things I've done wrong. I don't approve of false humility. I don't see it as being helpful to wear repentance on one's sleeve. It is wrong though not openly to admit that one has been a sinner and still is not perfected even if not doing the greater sins of the past. Mea culpa?
If you have a careful, thoughtful, constructive comment, feel free.
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That said, we make the following absolutely clear here:
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And when they were come to Capernaum, they that received tribute money came to Peter, and said, Doth not your master pay tribute? He saith, Yes. And when he was come into the house, Jesus prevented him, saying, What thinkest thou, Simon? of whom do the kings of the earth take custom or tribute? of their own children, or of strangers? Peter saith unto him, Of strangers. Jesus saith unto him, Then are the children free. (Matthew 17:24-26)