Sunday, September 22, 2013

When Christians silence other Christians

Another gem, the hardest and brightest, from Aunt Melanie's Walk in Wisdom blog…

Aside from physical persecution, there are two main ways to silence Christians. Unfortunately, these two ways of silencing are used by fellow Christians. Why would Christians want to silence other Christians? It has to do with insecurity and the need to control. Questions, analysis, and evaluation are felt as threatening to the belief system and to the related social norms.

First, Christians can silence other Christians by inducing feelings of guilt and shame. They can especially train up children in this manner, as well as indoctrinate fresh converts. Anyone who asks questions or who is capable of analysis and evaluation is labeled as prideful, judgmental, disobedient, and even demonic. Most children and sincere seekers or converts cannot bear to be put in these categories because the condemnation is terrifying, and because it also fills them with guilt and shame over their own thinking processes.

Second, Christians can silence other Christians by shunning them. This is a powerful form of control because most people cannot bear social isolation. A mother or father can give their child the silent treatment which the child feels as unbearable abandonment. Church members can turn their backs to another member whose honesty might be felt as threatening to the belief system or to the cultural status quo.

What can you do if you find yourself in this kind of situation?
(A) You can conform in order to be included in socialization.
(B) You can change churches if the particular doctrine is not essential to your spirituality or conscience.
(C) If your acceptance of a particular doctrinal system is firm (despite your questions and concerns), then you will probably have to bear the mental and emotional persecution as your personal cross.

If you find yourself under (C), you can still be a believer in Jesus Christ. You can try to be an example of holiness to your persecutors—if you continue to attend services. Even if you choose to stay home on Sundays, that does not sever you from a spiritual life. You can still read the Bible, hold on to your rosary or icons or any other religious objects which you find acceptable, maintain your prayer life, study religious books and listen to religious music.

Do not go insane. Do not lose faith. Be humble. Do good. Praise God.

— Aunt Melanie

I love the painting used to illustrate this post, and I want to remember the source.

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