What someone might think - Printable Version
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What someone might think - notreallyfundy - 12-28-2011 08:23 PM
I'm sure most of you had the fundy experience of constantly worrying what someone might think of everything you say, do or think. I've heard it said many times by others "You should not do _______ because someone might think _______"
The appearance of evil reason was used a lot, out of context.
Going to the movies is wrong because someone might think you're there to see porn (are those movies even screened in regular theaters?). Listening to CCM is wrong because someone might hear it and think you're listening to secular music (cuz you know it's all of the devil). Ordering frilly virgin umbrella drinks is wrong because someone might think you're drinking alcohol.
It seems that in fundy circles there is such a major emphasis placed on what "someone might think" rather than what God knows about us. And if I am in line at the ticket counter at the movie theater and the busybody from church drives by on his way to the all you can eat buffet in the same shopping center, if he believes I'm there to see porn, shouldn't he ask me about it out of concern rather than make an assumption? It seems that there is a huge burden placed on fundies to make sure we are not making other people think badly of us. So much energy goes into making sure others don't think badly of us that it seems to leave little time for God. Our focus isn't on God anymore, but rather making sure other fundies are pleased with us. And the truth is, you will never please everyone. To me, the evil being done is in the heart of the busybody who automatically assumes the worst in others and looks for their faults. Just wondering if anyone else has made this observation. I can see how this kind of thinking could be harmful to someone who is naturally a people pleaser or perfectionist and could possibly lead to OCD issues.
RE: What someone might think - myotch - 12-28-2011 08:41 PM
So, Jesus is at a restaurant. Some of John the Baptist's followers come in and say "Hey, we're abstaining and fasting, you're sitting here eating and drinking!" Jesus dismisses them.
Jesus's disciples are kind of awkwardly looking at each other, but Jesus know's what's on their minds.
He tells them "Look, if you are eating and drinking, people are going to call you a glutton and a drunk. If you abstain, they'll call you crazy."
Is the moral of the story that you can eat and drink a little, listen to some rock-n-roll, go to a movie. because these things are not what your witness is about, anyway?
Or is the moral of the story that if you don't do anything enjoyable, people will call you that crazy [John the] Baptist [follower]?
I remember in the Marine Corps, this guy's grandfather had died. He was holding an "Irish wake", with a shot of whisky set aside for the deceased. I was able to minister to this guys needs by being present at the bar, even toasting the deceased, and keeping him talking. My gunny, a strict 7th Day Adventist, looked at me funny - he knew I was Christian, and didn't understand why I was at the bar. (He, a physical security expert and First Sergeant of the Military Police, was there on a general law enforcement "glad-handing" mission). Once he realized this was a two-man wake, and this young marine was genuinely hurting, I think he got the idea of why I was there.
Sometimes we need to stop thinking about how we can serve God by not doing something we see as frowned upon or somehow forbidden, and start thinking about how we can serve others wherever we find them.
RE: What someone might think - notreallyfundy - 12-28-2011 08:46 PM
That's such a nice story. I believe you did the right thing by being there for your friend and toasting his granddad. I'm sure that meant a lot to him. You're right about Jesus, too. People said a lot of bad things about him. Jesus was without sin and people still talked badly about Him and made accusations against Him, so that's proof we can't please everyone and shouldn't try (as long as what we're doing isn't sin).
RE: What someone might think - Discovering Life - 12-28-2011 09:42 PM
(12-28-2011 08:23 PM)notreallyfundy Wrote: I'm sure most of you had the fundy experience of constantly worrying what someone might think of everything you say, do or think. I've heard it said many times by others "You should not do _______ because someone might think _______"
This particular fundy teaching has been one of the hardest for me to unlearn. After so many years of focusing/obsessing on what other people MIGHT be thinking about my actions, I find it very difficult to stop the "third party" voice in my head. And you're right, that kind of mental effort is a burden and it is very easy to lose sight of God in the process. I find I have to make a real effort to think about what God may have to say about "x" instead of defaulting to what does the church, pastor, other "mature" believers say. Fun times.
Oh, and as a bonus, after harping on the "appearance of evil and what will people think" you then get sermons about "the importance of pleasing God, not man", a lose-lose situation for any guilt ridden fundy. And don't forget the much abused "weaker brother" tie-in, "avoid the appearance of evil not only to preserve your testimony but also to avoid causing a weaker believer to stumble". Eventually I realized that many people where using these two concepts to manipulate and control the behavior of those around them, you don't like what so and so is doing? Pull one or both of these to put a stop to it. Once I realized this, I started noticing that only certain people got to effectively use these power plays and those people were definately not the weak or the powerless. Then I got mad, alas, the learning of a lifetime cannot be undone overnight, even when you realize how screwed up it is.
Hmm, guess I had more to say than I originally thought. Thanks for bringing up the topic.
Edit because I cannot spell.
RE: What someone might think - pastor's wife - 12-28-2011 10:50 PM
Great thread. Great thoughts.
I think it comes from a misunderstanding of the verse "avoid all appearance of evil." And yes, it ends up causing sensitive souls to become more focused on what other people are thinking than about what God wants us to do. And as Discovering Life pointed out, we do then also get the message about pleasing God, not man and we're left stymied and frustrated, unable to do what we're being told is the only way to please God.
It's horrible and very real. I'm finally learing to shake free of this, but it's been hard (reference some of my previous posts about the "voice" I hear in my head! lol Not a real voice of course, but all the disapproving, fearful, condemning comments that I've spent my life living up until now.)
RE: What someone might think - Ricardo - 12-28-2011 11:41 PM
I no longer believe dancing is sin. HOWEVER, I find my body is, well, stiff, after 25 years of knowing that any deviation from siting up straight or walking briskly was cause for "suspicion."
I have actually taken ballroom dancing clases. I wish I could -now- enjoy dancing. I wish my body would let loose. I need a lot more practice.
Last summer twenty of us from my department went line dancing at Billy Bob's (Fort Worth.) It was the most fun I've ever had with my pants on! Not a single one of us could follow the intricate steps. No matter.
RE: What someone might think - Qrayze - 12-29-2011 12:00 AM
I recently started wearing pants to work, and I was actually looking forward to explaining to my clients why I suddenly switched. Nobody noticed! After getting over the intial hurt, lol, I realized something important: the only people who care about my actions or appearance are the fundies. Normal people could care less.
But yeah, getting from there to "It no longer bothers me what the fundies think" is a bit more complicated process.
RE: What someone might think - pastor's wife - 12-29-2011 12:12 AM
Ricardo, I want to dance so much! I was always taught it was wrong, including ballet. I take my preschooler to ballet class now and watch the girls of different ages coming in to their classes and wish I could've done that.
When I hear praise music, I'm dancing in my head, but I feel stupid when I try to physically express my joy. I did recently attend a non-fundy wedding, but I was too shy to go dance.
RE: What someone might think - FinallyFree - 12-29-2011 08:41 AM
PW, I hear you on the dancing in the head thing. I feel the the same way. Also, I have been trying to unlearn my fundy voice training that sounds like a quartet member from the 50s. It has been fun discovering how to sing in a more contemporary fashion. The problem is that in my head I want to sound like Bono, but I know that in reality I'm not even close.
I live out my love for dancing through my kids. Tehey can really bust a move, and one of them likes to practice beatboxing.... Yeah we are from the D!
RE: What someone might think - Ricardo - 12-29-2011 09:00 AM
For a while there I was making vocal arrangements for a South American folk music group. Then someone mentioned that the group sounded like they were singing "Onward Christian Soldiers" ("Firmes y Adelante")
John Wesley and John Peterson would approve! They are SO ingrained in my head.