Question:

I have been looking over your web site for about the past three weeks or so, and I can't keep my comments to myself anymore. I have noticed quite a few complaints about your negativity, you being judgmental, stuff like that. I'd certainly would like to come to your defense.

While you can be blunt, you aren't always that way. I have seen questions that you answer where you've got a gentle side to you. "I'm carrying about so much guilt. I hide it from my parents, but am I wrong for doing so?" and "Am I no longer a virgin if my boyfriend touched certain areas?" are the ones I thought of that showed your gentle side.

For example, in "I'm carrying about so much guilt. I hide it from my parents, but am I wrong for doing so?", a couple of sentences that really stuck out to me as being gentle were these: "First, let me express a concern that I have." And then you went on to express your concern about implanted memories. Later on down in the answer, you said this: "I'm particularly concerned that you are cutting yourself over unspecified "pain."

In "Am I no longer a virgin if my boyfriend touched certain areas?", the two sentences that stuck out to me as being gentle were these: "I don't wish to offend any sensibility, but in order to answer your question, I need to be blunt." And then you proceeded forward. Near the end of this particular question, the second sentence I noted stated: "My dear, this man does not truly love you."

So your gentle side does exist, and I'm sure there are other questions I did not touch on that prove that point. I don't think people understand that sometimes, the truth is not so gentle-sounding no matter how you say it. It's going to hurt regardless. The rich man who was sad and walked away from Jesus would confirm that (see Matthew 19:16-22, Mark 10:17-22, and Luke 18:18-23). Jesus did not sound harsh in that answer to the rich man, yet the rich man walked away all the same because it was the truth and he didn't like it.

Even though I have read some of your responses to some of the complaints about how you handle things, and you stand your ground well and don't even seem bothered for that matter, I don't think it hurts to provide some encouragement to you all the same (I Thessalonians 5:11).


Answer:

I must admit when I first read your note I kept expecting a "but ...". Thank you very much for not just the encouragement but for also taking time to understand and prove your point.

I try to tailor my responses to reflect back the tone used in asking the question. When someone is making a foolish assertion, I keep in mind Solomon's advice: "Do not answer a fool according to his folly, lest you also be like him. Answer a fool according to his folly, lest he be wise in his own eyes" (Proverbs 26:4-5). When someone is trying to justify sinful behavior, I tend to answer very firmly; but when someone is contrite over their sins, and might be overwhelmed, I try to be kind. "And on some have compassion, making a distinction; but others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire, hating even the garment defiled by the flesh" (Jude 22-23).

I know that not everyone likes it. I remind myself that they came to me with their questions, I didn't search them out. If someone doesn't like what is being taught, I remember they didn't have to come and read it, but I appreciate that they took to the time to see a different view, even if it made them hot under the collar. And the responses I value most are those where a person took time to research his response, backing up his views, and politely presenting them, even if I might think he missed some important fact.

Even the argumentative or silly responses have a purpose. I keep in mind that I'm not just talking to the questioner, there are thousands of others "listening in" and learning how handle difficult people.