Thursday, November 5, 2015

Dear Anonymous

Well, Anonymous, I will start this open letter to you now, and see how far I get. For other readers, while I receive a lot of anonymous comments, Anonymous, with a capital A, is a particular person who has sent me a number of comments identifiable partially by the way they are written with a kind of an accent, like a brogue almost, and partially by the content, which is never, ever nice.

And I guess that is the first thing I would like to address with you, Anonymous. You obviously believe yourself to be a Christian. Do you believe this is how Christians should address others? In your last comment you asked if I was going to be honest this time. As far as I can see, if I have a problem, it is being TOO honest, too often. If something passes through my mind, it is likely to find its way out of my mouth or onto a piece of paper or computer screen somewhere. Faith for me has been a mighty, huge, gargantuan struggle, and in the last few years that struggle has largely made itself onto the internet for all to see (although I have from time to time gone back and deleted some of it I will admit). I have not only struggled with my faith, I have fallen down, strayed off the path, and wandered through a dozen wildernesses, and those wanderings have all been documented in one way or another as well. I'm a writer by nature, and feel this compulsion to write my thoughts down and share them. This can be hazardous, because what I think today may not be what I think tomorrow, or even later today. I wish that was not true. I wish I had a firm and forever grasp on the Truth, but my mind is always running, asking questions.

So this can be a problem, and I don't think I have in any way tried to hide it. I don't think I have ever been dishonest about it.

But is your response the Christian one? I'm going to tell you, in addition to having a restless intellect myself, not a single one of my family members or close friends are Christians. Not a one. Those I am closest to are actually raving atheists. So if my own mind was not a problem enough, I live with people who challenge my faith regularly, who tell me how stupid the Bible is (without much knowledge of it to be sure, but the Bible is a challenging book, and some of what they say are things I have thought myself). These are people I love. There are some people I love who are Christians of course, but they are not people I would actually consider friends, because except for Facebook conversations (which are great to be sure), I don't see these people outside of church, and/or they are people who live far away.

A couple of weeks ago in church, Jacqui, our worship leader, said that if we sense in us a separation from God we should look inside and see if we can identify the cause of it. So I did, and I found the cause. It is simply that I want to be loved. And I also want to be thought well of, which is actually a separate thing from being loved, because honestly the people who love me don't stop loving me because of my faith or lack of it. But they do respect me a little less.

So that, Anonymous, is my greatest sin. You send your snarky, nasty missives about how I am a hypocrite or whatever because of this or that, but you totally and completely miss the point. Some of what you say is, as far as I'm concerned, your very own legalistic interpretation of Scriptures and situations I would completely disagree with. Some of it, like the astrology and Pluto, I would agree with you. But do you think God called you to send me nasty messages about these things? I can answer that question. NO. He did not.

If you were really listening to God, you might say, hey, Sharon, I'm glad that you are doing well with this part of your walk, and how is that going? Is there anything I can do to assist you on your journey, or perhaps discuss your understanding of this or that particular thing? If you were REALLY listening to God he might have suggested that you invite me to coffee, or to church, or to a conference you are going to attend, that you offer friendship and fellowship, which are the things I need way more than I need your condemnation for things you don't really know about, because although you seem to be someone who might have an acquaintance with my family, I know for certain you are not someone who knows me.

It is completely unnecessary for you to quote Scripture to me, by the way. I know Scripture. I have devoured it voraciously over a period of over forty years now. So don't bother to quote to me Scriptures about enemies in our own household, or about being double minded, or about the results of backsliding. I know them all. And just based on them, I might just say, well, if this stuff is true then I am cooked, so I might as well just give it up and follow that other brightly colored path. But it has been more than 52 years since I first felt that desire to know Jesus, and more than 40 years since I actually met him, and despite all my wanderings the reason I keep coming back is because he keeps calling me. And if he is calling me, who are you to question it? He not only calls me, but your original attack was over my kids living together unmarried in my home, and I think he pretty well showed up for me there. Your solution I am sure would be to kick everybody out in a storm of condemnation, but that was not what I heard God telling me. My response was, "I have placed it in God's hands, and I trust he is able to deal with it if he thinks it needs to be dealt with." And he vindicated my trust in him dramatically, which means what? That he loves me, whether you do or not, and that he loves my children, and also that I actually DID hear his voice over the clamoring of others.

I also know that Peter, having walked with Jesus, denied him three times. But what did Jesus have to say about that?

So, Anonymous, my suggestion to you is that you spend some time in prayer, and get to know God's voice a little better, because it appears you have been missing it in favor of anger and condemnation, and I mean really vicious anger. Not sure where that comes from, but I'll tell you it would be far more likely to drive me away than draw me closer to God, which is a test in itself of its validity.

I'm not going to tell you that my faith is iron strong and that I stand solidly. Do you want to help me stand, or do you want to knock me over? That is the question.

Meanwhile, I of course have to refer you to Matthew 7:1-5. And here is a nice song for you. Not Scripture, but kind of my theme song.


I'd like to know who you are, but perhaps it's best I don't. Not knowing, perhaps it is possible yet that we can be friends. Based on your behavior, I honestly think less highly of you and your faith than you do of me or my faith. But perhaps we can pray for each other.

God bless us both.

6 comments:

  1. I am sorry that someone wants to try and verbally hurt you without even owning up to who they are. Is it not possible to set WHO can leave messages here? I think if someone wants to comment to you directly they should have to show you who they are. Their disrespect while hiding behind their electronic device speaks volumes about their character.

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  2. Well, all messages have to be approved prior to publication, so that's one limit. You could probably limit messages from anonymous posters, but then the people have to have a credential to log in with, like a google account or something, and not everybody has that. I'd rather see as much from as many people as possible and take a chance on getting unkind messages than limit people so that I don't get to see valuable comments. Thanks Keri.

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  3. God bless us both http://www.bing.com/images/search?q=Cowboy+Praying+at+Cross&view=detailv2&&id=D7473294E6118738B0AC09C2E37176F5BF2819DB&selectedIndex=1&ccid=YunDokZw&simid=608052419385230071&thid=OIP.M62e9c3a24670e18ffef205a21073a300H0&ajaxhist=0

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  4. Anonymous, why don't you just email me? You can set up a fake email address or whatever. sharon.murch@gmail.com.

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  5. SM, ping the email to get the IP address where it is sent from.

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  6. There is no email or IP address attached to comments. It is pretty much anonymous if people choose it to be.

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