Let’s Talk About it: Spawn of Satan

You couldn’t pay me to be a pastor’s wife. Which is a good thing really because churches don’t pay the wife, only the husband. And even then, they don’t pay much.  I would make a horrible pastor’s wife. Really, I would. I’m too emotional. Too political. Too ADD. Too mean. I have opinions that probably don’t line up with everyone. I sin. As Anne Lamott would say, “I think things so awful that if I were to say them out loud, it would make Jesus want to drink gin straight out of a cat bowl.”  Really.

I’m Job’s wife a lot of the time.

“These are the people you love and serve and this is how they treat you? – Don’t tell me God called you to this, quit, it’s not worth it! ( curse God and die basically) – they don’t deserve you!”

Yeah – I’d be a horrible pastor’s wife to be sure.

A friend of ours is a deacon in another church. Their pastor is allegedly the spiritual leader of their church, but only when he does things exactly the way they (the congregation) wants him to. If he steps out of line someone is there to slam him back across the tape.  Some people view him as an employee to do their bidding and nothing more. Fun place to be.

Our friend’s pastor has been teaching the deacons how to lead small group bible studies on Wednesday nights and one of the deacons didn’t like that, so he wrote a letter. In this letter he wrote “you are the spawn of satan and so are your children. If you aren’t willing to do your job and teach on Wednesdays than you have no right taking a paycheck from us….”

WOW. A deacon wrote that!

If that were my husband to receive a letter like that?

 Lock and load baby!

That man wants to see the spawn of satan? I’d show him the spawn of satan all right. Hell hath no fury and all.

Pastor’s wives aren’t allowed to lock and load – they have to love and forgive and cry at home. It’s not fair really – in my opinion. Yeah, I’m not good at that.

Let’s talk about it:

What role does your pastor play in your church? Are they the spiritual leader or just an employee? How would you handle a letter like this? If you are a pastor’s wife or husband reading this — you can comment anonymously if you like — I’d really love to hear from you. – email me privately if you want at deana_ohara@yahoo.com, I’ll protect your name.

Let’s talk about it: Oh Just Shut up

It’s been assessed today that I am stupid, selfish, heartless and self-serving. I’ve also been told I need to shut the deleted swear word up, because I have health insurance. Good thing I don’t get my selfesteem from Facebook. 

Scripture has a lot of answers on handling conflict, and being agreeable even when we disagree. My brain came up empty in the heat of the moment. I didn’t stay calm and pray, because frankly my prayers of “forgive them for they know not how stupid I think they sound right now,” probably would not have risen past my ceiling. So I removed my hurt feelings and insulted self from the entire conversation by deleting all my comments.

Seems the best thing to do. The last time I lost my temper with someone, I was put in commenter’s purgatory for six months (true and embarrassing story).

Having said that, What do you do when you are passionate about something and it’s obvious the other person just isn’t going to agree with you. Do you listen or tell them to shut up? Have you ever been told to just shut up? How did you handle it?

For what exactly am I sorry?

True apologies are as rare as genuine forgiveness in the world today and yet the paradox for that is the over use of the word “Sorry.” At the risk of sounding discompassionate for a moment, I believe the term “sorry” is seriously over used and is a mask for hidden messages. The word “sorry” has very little do to with regret or repentance and a lot to do with relational manipulation. The word “sorry” has become dishonest.

I’m sorry it’s raining. ( I didn’t cause the rain, but I’ll apologize anyway because it upsets you when it rains and I don’t want you to be in a bad mood.)

I’m sorry it snowed. (ditto)

I’m sorry you had a bad day. (I’m sorry your bad day is now overflowing into mine.)

I’m sorry you don’t like dinner. (after spending all day cooking)

I’m sorry, didn’t see you. (When being crashed into by someone trying to walk past you.)

I’m sorry I don’t agree with you. – (Even though the other person’s opinion is racist or anti-christian.)

I’m sorry I didn’t vote for your guy. – (I’m not sorry I didn’t vote for Bill Clinton)

I’m sorry you don’t like my dress. (I’m sorry because your opinion matters and now I’m feeling insecure.)

I’m sorry I’m breathing your air.

I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m sorry.

Quit apologizing already.

“Oh! Sorry!”

I know that it’s the polite thing to say – if you mean it. Sorry means regret as in “I’m really sorry I forgot to take your shirt to the cleaners today.” And we are supposed to teach our children how to apologize and how to forgive. And frankly, yes, the world needs more of that. Unfortunately though, “sorry” – has become so over used that it is a dishonest word in today’s world. It’s full of hidden meanings. None of which, in today’s climate communicate true repentance or desire to change. It’s simply used as a manipulative word to bring peace to the relationship.

Case in point – if someone bumps into you while walking past, don’t you say “sorry” as if to convey you regret being in their way. Were you in their way? Probably not and the secret meaning to “sorry” becomes “wow, I’m sorry you aren’t watching where you are going.” If someone holds a differing political opinion than I do, do I really feel regret? Yes and no. I may be regretting that my friend is too stupid to vote, but I don’t regret not sharing their views. Okay that one was a little on the extreme edge here, but do you see what I mean?

As women we are taught to apologize just to keep the peace. What we’re really doing is apologizing to avoid making other people feel uncomfortable which is both arrogant and selfish. I don’t have the power to make anyone take offense that’s their choice, and I don’t want someone upset with me because then I choose to feel insecure in the relationship.

Let’s face it, a lot of us want to be liked, so we apologize for our strengths. We apologize for our opinions, we apologize for our boundaries, we apologize for being alive and taking up space on planet earth, just to keep the peace.

Am I speaking to anyone? Or is it just me?

One of my mentors taught me years ago to weigh the cost of “sorry.” She told me to really think about it before I said it. Sorry is a word of regret and repentance. I need to neither regret nor repent of having strengths, tastes, or opinions that differ from others. I need not regret nor repent of being born either.

Sorry is a word to be used when my actions have a negative impact on another human being. It’s a word of power and strength. It’s a word of compassion when used properly. But we don’t use it properly. We water it down, and build weak bridges with it to keep ourselves from feeling uncomfortable. And we tend to over use it with people we hold in higher esteem than ourselves.

“I’m sorry” is not a patch to smooth over someone else’s feelings or a mask to hide my own. It’s a word of healing and like any good medicine, it becomes toxic to the body and soul of our relationships if over used.