Christians--What would you do in this situation? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 17 Old 01-24-2010, 09:28 PM - Thread Starter
 
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This is a sticky situation, and it's really been bothering me.

I love Facebook, because it lets me keep up with people I don't see on a regular basis. However, I hate that it can become a way for people to post passive-aggressive things about others and not actually address them in person.

DH is the youth pastor at our church. We are friends (though not super good friends) with this couple, and have been for close to five years now. They both help out with the youth group. The husband, we'll call him C, is very conservative, both theologically and politically. DH is mostly theologically conservative, but very liberal politically. We've known for some time that C has a problem with this, as during the presidential election, he basically told DH that he'd have to answer to God one day for how he voted. (He didn't say this in person, either, but by email.) DH was quite hurt, but it all kind of went by the wayside. Until yesterday.

DH posted something on Facebook about being completely fed up with all politics after something specific that happened. 20 min. later, C posted something on his Facebook that said, "C gets really confused by fellow Christians claiming to know God but make a seperate category to their lives, call it "politics," and then form their opinions based on wordly wisdom...am I missing something? (please, no wisdom that's not of the Spirit)."

DH didn't originally think C was talking about him, although it was obvious to me. DH responded, they've gone back and forth in a civil manner, and it has now become clear to him that C was originally talking about him.

DH is very hurt by the "claiming to know God" part, amongst some other things that were insinuated later. I wanted to post something that said, "Look, buddy. DH is very strong and secure in his faith. He doesn't make a separate category for his life and call it "politics". He really, truly tries to tie everything in his life to his faith. If you can't see that, you're the one who's in the wrong." Or something like that. But of course, that would add to the drama, and I didn't want to get in the middle of it.

DH is mostly hurt, and I am mad. Firstly, because that was a really crappy thing to do, being passive-aggressive and posting it on Facebook. Secondly, because he is questioning DH's faith, because it doesn't happen to fall in line exactly with how he sees things. And thirdly, because DH and I ran into C at church today, and he acted like nothing ever happened! Like he didn't question DH's Christianity! Ugh!

We have lots of conservative friends, and we don't agree on a lot of things, but in the end, we are okay with that. We don't question their faith, and they don't question ours. So yeah, this is really bothersome. Especially since C helps out with the youth group, so if he doesn't see DH as a good leader to the kids, then what? What would you do in this situation?

Sorry it's so long!

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#2 of 17 Old 01-24-2010, 09:41 PM
 
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People get mad when I say this, but if you post something publicly on Facebook, you have to accept that it's public and people can and will comment on it. If you just want people to cheer you on and pat you on the back then share it with your mother. Otherwise know that you are putting yourself up to be criticized and if you can't handle that, then keep it to yourself.

I know that sounds mean, as I've personally shared these sentiments with many people, but it's true.

That being said, I'd delete the person from my friends list to avoid any further drama.

I'd also take some time to pray, just to make sure that I was handling things properly. Not just with this situation, but with all the affairs in my life as it's very easy to get caught up in worldly things without seeing it that way. I'd just pray for discernment to make sure I was on the right track and I'd ask for correction if that was needed.
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#3 of 17 Old 01-24-2010, 09:46 PM
 
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I think some people really see their internet/social media entities as separate from real life. It can be jarring when they naturally gravitate towards sites and people who are going to confirm and support their beliefs, and they get an unexpected message. And yep, FB and LJ and all those sites are great and socially condoned ways for men in particular (IMO) to get their gossip and passive aggressive behavior out there, while they wouldn't necessarily be using prayer time and gendered social gatherings as a way to gossip. (I'm not saying that women don't use social media like that, they totally do.)

It can be really hard to see another person's viewpoint that you've blissfully been ignorant of, in text that can never be taken back no less. But it's something that is going to happen on FB, on message boards, on blogs, or any kind of internet media.

If FB is creating a lot of personal turmoil for your DH, he can always "hide" this man in particular on his FB so he won't see the comments. If he was a good friend, I MIGHT consider talking to him a bit about how "text is forever", and if you wouldn't say it to someone's face then you should think twice about typing it. But it might not be worth it. Sadly, I can totally understand why DH's opinion of this person working with the youth would change! But I think this is less about this man than your DH learning how to deal with instant text media. It's a difficult adjustment. It is and it isn't like RL. He'll either need to be much more careful in how he manages his friends lists, or he might enjoy the exercise in learning to love even the most difficult of personalities.
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#4 of 17 Old 01-24-2010, 09:50 PM
 
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Matthew 18 gives instructions on how we are to handle those who sin against us. If your husband is offended by this man, then he needs to start there.

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#5 of 17 Old 01-25-2010, 12:52 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by HisBeautifulWife View Post
People get mad when I say this, but if you post something publicly on Facebook, you have to accept that it's public and people can and will comment on it. If you just want people to cheer you on and pat you on the back then share it with your mother. Otherwise know that you are putting yourself up to be criticized and if you can't handle that, then keep it to yourself.
He doesn't expect everyone to agree with him. I thought that was clear from my post. But C didn't respond to DH's post, he made his own passive-aggressive post questioning DH's Christianity/character, which I feel was uncalled for. It's not about simply disagreeing with the issue posted about, which DH would have not had a problem with. I don't think that expecting someone to treat others respectfully online is too much to ask.

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#6 of 17 Old 01-25-2010, 01:02 AM
 
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I am a Christian, but I dont' think this is necessarily about faith. I think this man is being a complete jerk, and I would delete him from my life. That's just me, I don't have time for mean people kwim.

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#7 of 17 Old 01-25-2010, 01:15 AM
 
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Er..."defriend" him? Honstly I don't think getting involved in verbal battles on facebook does much good. Once in a while I might comment on something to correct a factual error or ask a question but most of the time it's just not worth it to get any more involved than clicking "like" or ignoring something, yk? IMO facebook can be a bit of an ego thing, and if he's already got issues, confronting it will just be feeding the dragon.

I probably would agree with his political views but I do not agree with how he's behaving. Not good. However, from what I've seen it's fairly typical on FB to draw from conversations one's been having, there or elsewhere, and try to come up with a pithy status from it. Instead of dealing with each and every person you disagree with, you can just let them all know what you think with one witty sentance. In my experience with it, I have seen quite a few age peers "devolve" online in maturity 5-10 years. It's kind of freaky, actually. But that may be a factor in C's behavior, too.
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#8 of 17 Old 01-25-2010, 01:28 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by Tigerchild View Post
I think some people really see their internet/social media entities as separate from real life. It can be jarring when they naturally gravitate towards sites and people who are going to confirm and support their beliefs, and they get an unexpected message. And yep, FB and LJ and all those sites are great and socially condoned ways for men in particular (IMO) to get their gossip and passive aggressive behavior out there, while they wouldn't necessarily be using prayer time and gendered social gatherings as a way to gossip. (I'm not saying that women don't use social media like that, they totally do.)

It can be really hard to see another person's viewpoint that you've blissfully been ignorant of, in text that can never be taken back no less. But it's something that is going to happen on FB, on message boards, on blogs, or any kind of internet media.

If FB is creating a lot of personal turmoil for your DH, he can always "hide" this man in particular on his FB so he won't see the comments. If he was a good friend, I MIGHT consider talking to him a bit about how "text is forever", and if you wouldn't say it to someone's face then you should think twice about typing it. But it might not be worth it. Sadly, I can totally understand why DH's opinion of this person working with the youth would change! But I think this is less about this man than your DH learning how to deal with instant text media. It's a difficult adjustment. It is and it isn't like RL. He'll either need to be much more careful in how he manages his friends lists, or he might enjoy the exercise in learning to love even the most difficult of personalities.
I get the impression from responses (not just yours) that people think that DH is too sensitive to handle the online world. That's just not true. He is on a few sites that are all about debating and sarcasm, and people post things all the time that he doesn't agree with, but he never gets offended.

This is different, because he personally knows this guy, and lots of people he knows, and yes, many of the youth he works with, can see this. He sees C at least once a week. When it's a person you know IRL, I don't care if it's on the internet or fact to face, it's important to treat each other with respect.

I do realize that people are much more open online, because you can kind of "hide" behind the computer. I am very open, but when it comes to FB, I am not as much. I learned that lesson the hard way several years ago. When I was 18-20ish, I would post things on my LJ much like this guy. I don't know why I ever thought it was okay. I really hurt a lot of people, I had a lot of apologizing to do, and luckily, they all forgave me. Now, I am much more careful about what I post, because even though it's the internet, it might as well be face to face (if you know the person IRL).

So it's not about forgiveness, per se. DH is not considering cutting this guy out of his life. Even if he wanted to, he couldn't, as he's the youth pastor at church, and that wouldn't go over too well, yk?. I'm just concerned, because this has happened before, and I'm guessing this isn't the last time it will happen. He's also worried that C will say something to the youth, or even the other youth workers, to undermine him. I think he needs to talk to C about it face to face, but I don't know what he'll decide to do.

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#9 of 17 Old 01-25-2010, 01:39 AM
 
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If I were DH I would end it with something along the lines of "we all practice our faith to the best of our abilities within the constrains of the Bible, and I am of the belief that only God has all the right answers." And leave it at that. Don't engage any further, just let it stop. If C continues to bug him about it, then your DH should send him a private message on FB saying that if C feels these issues are significant and matter that much to him, then your DH would be more than happy to take this out of a public forum and discuss this in person over coffee. By continuing to engage in FB with C, your DH is just egging him on whether he means to or not.
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#10 of 17 Old 01-25-2010, 02:12 AM
 
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Uh, no, I didn't say that DH was too sensitive for the online world.

What I said was, the problem gentlemen is being an archaic word for a donkey.

And you are right, this is not the last time this will happen. And yes, if you friend everyone on FB and/or don't manage your friend settings, people will see things that you'd rather not let them see.

It's not a matter of being sensitive. But the reality is that you can't control what kind of passive aggressive thoughtlessness other people partake in on networking sites like FB. To a certain degree that is the very nature of social sites. You can only control who you friend and what YOU see (because truly, this guy could be making passive aggressive remarks on his FB or website all the time about your DH, or gossiping, or whatever, whether or not you see it).

I also think it was a bit of a mistake on your part to persist in pointing out this man's comments being personally about your DH when your DH was willing to just roll with it and not take it personally, if he truly "can't" defriend this person for appearances sake.

That is part of FB, though. You have to learn when to let things go and not take them personally. Next time, just ignore the guy. SHOULD he post that kind of junk about your DH? No! And if y'all refuse to block him from your page, then...well, you're going to have to just let it roll. We always want to leap to the defense of our mate, but sometimes I think that we're better served by letting things be, especially when there's literally nothing you can do about the situation. Being mad at Mr. Smartypants? Won't help, it'll just make your day more negative. And wishing Mr. Smartypants would be more clued in to how text is something that stays in people's brains forever in a way that spoken words do not won't help either.

I suppose your DH could always say, "Look, I know we're going to disagree about stuff, and everyone gets on each other's nerves sometimes, but your comment on your FB was kind of embarassing and hurtful to me." if he thought that the guy was just being clueless. But that's still up to your DH to say and decide, KWIM?

I think you're going to have to let it go. Even though it was a personal comment, in all honesty it might not have been truly personal at all. I know that probably doesn't make sense but...having had conversations with friends about FB and LJ drama, that seems to happen an awful lot. It's made me more able to shrug off the dramaz, but also has made me EXTREMELY careful what I say on FB and blogs. I see that as a good thing.
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#11 of 17 Old 01-25-2010, 02:25 AM
 
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If your DH doesn't want to unfriend this guy, he can also set up his wall that NO friends can post on it. Might be bit inconvenient for others, but they can still post comments on your DH's status updates or send your DH a PM if they want to ask something.

I've had situations where there was something I sent someone a PM about and then they posted their answer back on my wall. It wasn't something private, it was just something that didn't concern the entire world, iykwim?

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#12 of 17 Old 01-25-2010, 02:36 AM
 
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Well it sounds as if the man does not feel free to post on DH's wall. So he wanted to respond and did it indirectly through his status.

So your DH should let the man's comment stand as it is or go comment.


Are you saying you would feel better if he posted it directly at DH? Do you want them to engage in an argument? Do you want a reason to cut this person out of your life?

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#13 of 17 Old 01-25-2010, 09:56 AM
 
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This is different, because he personally knows this guy, and lots of people he knows, and yes, many of the youth he works with, can see this. He sees C at least once a week. When it's a person you know IRL, I don't care if it's on the internet or fact to face, it's important to treat each other with respect....

He's also worried that C will say something to the youth, or even the other youth workers, to undermine him....
I agree this IS an issue about respect. And its between two grown christian men. I would find this difficult as well. I will simply tell you what I would do if I were in your situation. My advice to my dh would be to pray about how he handles this man. And then Id pray for him too, with him if he is that way inclined. I would then, honestly and truely, leave it in God's hands. We all have maturing to go thru, and lessons to be learned in situations like these. Really, I dont think there is anything you can do unless he does say something to someone you guys know irl (re: the concerns you mentioned), without adding fuel to a fire. With time, this tiny fire will either burn itself out, or it will escalate, but you and your dh dont want it to be you guys causing the escalating, ykwim? When all hell breaks loose, you want it to be this guys fault, not yours. You want to err on the side of prayerful caution. Prudence, wisdom. And whats more, I would never ever ever ever again ever confide in ANY thing to this guy or anyone like him. Whats more, if you conduct yourselves in a way that is becoming of a christian couple, the leaders will hopefully see clearly who is in the wrong. It is not wrong to have beliefs like your dh, imho, especially when we are all on a learning curve anyway. It IS wrong to gossip, and generally treat our fellow bretheren in the way this guy is treating you.

Now, if you guys, in the coarse of time, come to have a problem with this guy, and the way he handles things like this... maybe this is the beginning of seeing something that isnt so nice about him, maybe he is a stirrer. A busybody, a trouble maker, one who causes division. This is something to keep note of for now. You could always discretely go to a fellow member of the church leadership and quietly discuss the issues you have with a certain member who you wish to remain unknown for the time being...

These are all things I would consider doing, before confronting the guy.
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#14 of 17 Old 01-25-2010, 10:42 AM
 
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There is an old friend on my facebook who seems to be my polar opposite at politics and very vocal about it. I ended up "hiding" him from my news feed so I couldn't see his status updates. It's worked really well!
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#15 of 17 Old 01-26-2010, 12:32 AM
 
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I am kinda confused about who said what where. People are free to post whatever they want on their own status/wall/whatever. if I don't like it I don't look. I defriend on a whim. Sometimes defriending is the best way to be a friend. however if he is mentioning your dh by name and ragging on him to mutual friends at church then that is an issue. if he is posting mean stuff on your wall deleat it. clearly this issue is bigger than a little political debate. and I can understand that. But if he is concerned/troubled in the ways I would be concerned/troubled he needs to take it up with church leadership and not on facebook. not only more professional and loving but much more effective.

it is also possible it was not really directed directly at your husband but at everyone who does not vote in such a way that he thinks reflects biblical teaching?

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#16 of 17 Old 01-26-2010, 01:35 AM
 
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Didn't have time to read all the posts, so I hope I'm not repeating what someone else said. To me the issue here is bigger than FaceBook. Your DH is in a position of leadership as a youth pastor in the church and this man is working as a volunteer in the ministry your DH supervises. It is essential that they can communicate openly and honestly with each other in person, not just via FB.

If this man is questioning your DH's personal relationhip with Jesus because of political choices than that is something that requires a face to face conversation. Nothing will cause divisions among the body of Christ like passive aggressive comments that never get talked about and prayed through. The Bible is clear that when there is a quarrel among the body of believers we are to address it first face to face.

Hope it works out well. Will say a prayer for your DH as he handles this challenging situation.
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#17 of 17 Old 01-27-2010, 10:34 AM
 
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