Sunday, January 26, 2014

When to Confront, When to be Silent

At church this morning, the pastor was talking to his puppet, Jake, who was saying that he had a bad week.  The pastor asked the congregation what Jake should do to feel better, and someone said, “Talk to God about it.”

I was thinking of the show Family Ties during this part of the service.  I see a pattern when it comes to Mallory: she often makes a scene when something is bothering her.  I feel embarrassed for her, making a scene in front of all those people, many of whom she doesn’t even know.  I wonder: Why should one even express oneself when one is feeling badly?  Why not just go with the flow?  Well, that doesn’t always work.  On the episode that I watched last night, Mallory is upset that her friend from college and her Mom are becoming such good friends, due to their common interest in architecture.  Sure, Mallory can just say nothing and avoid conflict.  But her Mom and her college friends will then become closer, and Mallory will only get madder, as she feels left out.

Prayer is one way that people try to cope with an imperfect world.  That can be helpful.  It may be better to confront someone about his or her behavior that offends us, but that may work, or it may not: the person might become offended, and the relationship could be ruined.  Moreover, if I were to voice my frustrations on a continual basis, I would get annoying.  There are times when perhaps one should talk to God about one’s problems, rather than confronting the person who is bothering us.  But there may also be times when confrontation is important.  I often don’t have the courage for it, but I do believe that it may be better than continuing to sulk privately and becoming more alienated from people.

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