Speaking the Truth

We don’t like to speak the truth about evil because we’re going to hurt somebody. Let me tell you, you are going to hurt somebody, but that Somebody is God. If you would rather hurt God than your neighbor, there is something wrong with your spirituality. It’s your obligation to speak the truth and everyone can either take it or leave it. But truth must be in us. We live in such poverty of the truth today.
- Mother Angelica

Friday, February 6, 2009

Confused...

I want your opinions on this one. I'm confused. In my journey to becoming a more faithful Catholic, I have realized a great many things about people and how we think and act. And it's so easy to look at someone and how they're acting and make judgments about them. Let's say we know they are collecting disability or social security, but we know they are able to work. Or maybe they are pro-choice and we are pro-life. Or maybe they are not making what we believe to be the right choices according to their children. Do we distance ourselves from these people?

I'm just confused. I want my kids to be around righteous people that share the same values as me, but I also don't want to judge anyone and treat them badly. Because people that make bad choices can also be good people inside. So how do you personally do this? I mean, I think this is a pretty broad question, but in general. Do you hang around others that don't share ALL of your views and values? Do you prevent your kids from hanging around with others that don't share the same Catholic values as you?

On the one hand I feel like keeping my distance because I don't want to be swept up by those values, nor do I want my kids to. But then on the other hand, I can have fun with these people too! I share other things in common with them and get along with them. And what if we are there to help them to see God's truths? What if God put us in contact with these people to make a difference, to influence them?

So I struggle with this. And I want to know: How do you do this?

14 comments:

Therese said...

Karen-you know I struggle with htis, and in fact it has caused a friendship to end after 20+ years. My problem is that I frequently am told that I sound judgemental-even if I start what I am saying with this is not meant to be judgemental...

Karen said...

Yes, I think it's hard to draw that line between opinion and throwing judgments. And I also think there's a stigma that because we are Catholic that we throw out judgments when in fact, we have an opinion. We all have opinions, but it doesn't mean we can't be friends, right? I don't know. It's so hard!!

Anonymous said...

Why not live your life feeling confident about yourself and your choices and allow others to live their lives as they do also? If you're worried about being 'swayed' then you must not feel confident about your beliefs.

People who are judgemental are insecure. Raise your kids to be confident and look to YOU as a role model. Teach them to be who they are, but to also allow others to be as they are. Everyone is on their own journey and just because others don't have your beliefs, doesn't mean they are doing anything wrong or bad. There is more than one way to live life. That is something you need to learn.

Life shouldn't be so complicated (as you are making it). Focus on YOU, Focus on YOUR FAMILY. Spending so much time focusing on others who you think are wrong is a waste of valuable time and energy that could be better used with you and your family.

There is much to be said about being modest. There is no need to cast opinions just for the sake of wanting to show anyone and everyone who you are and what you think at any given moment (when you see someone doing something different). Save your opinions for when there is a discussion that you have joined in on.

SaChay said...

I try to surround myself with my Christian family and friends. And my closest family(that are not Christian) I see and talk to on occasion, and visit them about once a week. I don't yet have children, but when I do, I will be supervising them at all times and will try my very best to not expose them to bad influences. For example, I wouldn't let my children stay with their Grandparents without my supervision, because its untelling what they would let them watch on TV and what words they would hear out of their mouths. Visits would be limited because of moral issues.

I plant and water Christian seeds with my unsaved family and friends, when I see or hear from them. I just hope that they can see Christ's Love through me.

And If God wants these people to be around you for you to influence, he will make a way.

Personally, I would keep my distance. But I would not act any different than normal or say anything to make them think that I am judgmental of them or that I was avoiding them. I would just try to show them Christ's Love every chance I got. But you have to make your own decisions, you know these people, I don't.

An example of this in my life would be my Mother-in-Law. I see her on Holidays mostly, and a few more times a year, or if she is in need. I talk to her when she calls, or I might call her if I need to ask something, but we never just talk to be talking. This hasn't always been the case. I've had to learn to distance myself from her, because she is a troubled person! She is one of those people, that if you see her coming there is always trouble close by. But every time I see her, I'm always nice to her. If shes sick, I go keep her company and see if there is anything I can do. Not too long ago she was in a car accident with my Brother-in-Laws' Girlfriend. I went to the hospital immediately and stayed there with them the whole time. I keep my distance, but when I do see them, I show them love. If they are in need, I show them love.

I know this was long, but I thought I'd share. Just let Christ's Love shine through you, be good to them, and pray about this!

Your Friend in Christ,
SaChay

Karen said...

Anonymous, with all do respect, I didn't ask for you or anyone else to tell me how to raise my kids, nor what I need to learn. I have learned quite a bit in my quest to know more about God. I don't know why you feel the need to criticize me for the decisions I make or don't make. Maybe it is you who is being judgmental here about me because I'm Catholic raising my kids Catholic. I think you're reading into this post what YOU want to read into it, instead of really reading it for what it is. Or maybe you have some personal vendetta to make me feel bad or something, I don't know. But if you don't like my blog, why do you keep coming back here? Maybe you should ask yourself that question. I mean, hey, if you want to come here and feel good about giving your opinion, that's great. I have always welcomed a healthy debate. But I just don't understand why you keep coming back....

And when I said "swept up" I meant that it is easy to get tempted by the devil. The devil wants us to "have fun" without regard for our Lord. So if we are hanging around with others who don't behave the way we want to behave, it can be easy to give in to the devil's temptations to "have fun." But you're right, we have to make sure that our beliefs are strong. When I'm tempted by the devil, sometimes I don't even know it. But when I do, I step back and pray. I pray for Him to take this into His hands and handle it for me.

But I'm an adult and children are very impressionable. Now don't get me wrong, I don't want them NOT to have friends that are different from us. I think it's VERY important for them to know about others and what they believe and don't believe and respect that. We can't be united when we judge and distance ourselves. I'm just battling over where we draw the line as far as who we associate ourselves with and who we don't.

So as Catholics, or Christians in general, which values are more important to you? How do you measure your friendships/familial relationships?

Any other insights are welcome! And no derogatory, disrespectful comments will be tolerated. Comment moderation is on. Thank you! And God Bless.

Karen said...

SaChay, thanks for commenting. You always have the most wonderful things to say!! God Bless.

Tracy said...

Karen, I have been struggling with this as well. What I do is live my faith, and I pray for those who don't believe as I do, I pray that they will have a conversion of heart. I admit I don't do nearly as much with these friends as I do with friends who have super close beliefs to mine. I make sure that if we do something with people who are not where I am in my faith journey, it is something "safe" meeting at the park for picnic with our kids, shopping, a movie, I keep it light and non confrontational, but I am always ready to defend my beliefs if the need should arise. I generally only have Catholic and Christian friends, so I've not really had to totally end a friendship, but there are friends who don't follow the doctrine of the Church and pick and choose what areas they will follow.. that can be a touchy subject.. so I do my homework and when we share.. I do it with a lot of christian love and never in a way that makes it look like I think I'm above them etc. I guess I feel that they are struggling with areas in the church that I was one time struggling with as well.. so I don't want to walk away from them.. but I won't compromise my faith.. and thankfully it has never been an issue. Just keep praying and pray for your friends and lead by example and be ready to answer their questions.

Anonymous said...

I keep coming back because I feel as though you need some guidance and support from someone who is not Catholic. That is, if you're open to it : ) God works in mysterious ways. I believe in God completely, just not religion. We don't all need a religion to believe. God is everywhere and in everything. God is you and me. Everything we need to know is already inside of us. I wish you could trust that. Life is so much more peaceful that way : )

Anonymous said...

p.s. I don't understand why you're getting angry or put off with me. I'm being kind and respectful. You seem to not like anyone who doesn't share your beliefs.

Karen said...

Hi Tracy! This is good advice. I'm starting to piece this all together. You guys are such a wonderful group of people. I feel so blessed to be here online with you all and to be receiving His Word through my Internet friends! Thank you so much!

Wow Anonymous (I have no other name for you) I don't know why you think I'm angry with you. I'm not angry at all! It just appears to me that you don't agree with anything that's posted here and you're looking for debate, or obviously looking to change my mind and possibly the minds of my readers. Not all of us who are here are Catholic. I have quite a few Christian readers and to be honest, you don't sound like a Christian. Christians, true Christians, know that abortion is wrong, that it is against God. And Christians also accept others for who they are. I'm well aware of that. I also know that I don't want my children exposed to certain things either. I think back to my childhood and used to get angry with my mom and dad for sheltering me (not in a Catholic way at all), but I'm glad they did. The problem was though that when I came to see the reality, there wasn't a good communication system between us and I fell to the devil for a while. And maybe that needed to happen for me to come back to Him. I'm so glad that I did!!

So you're welcome to come back, I'm not saying not to, I'm just confused as to why you do. You keep saying I have to learn and trust things and I don't know why. I don't know where you're drawing those conclusions about me as a person. Is it because I have a religion?? Is it because I'm Catholic?? I mean, to be honest, it seems as though it is you who is judging me based on stereotypes about organized religion. I'm not downing anyone for not having a religion. I'm here blogging about my happiness with being Catholic and loving God. I'm just trying to do the best job I can with my kids, just like I'm sure you are along with all of the other moms out there. I've been on the other side for a long time. I know what my life was like without God and His guidance. So really, I've learned and I have found my happiness.

Your comments just don't seem to put forth Christian beliefs. I'm just trying to understand your motives. But I guess I don't have to! God knows. So thanks for coming by. I hope that you can someday find the happiness that I have found. God Bless.

Anonymous said...

I have a greater happiness, and that is the happiness I have found in a spirituality that doesn't tell you you're going to hell if you don't follow X, Y, Z rules. It may not be your happiness, but it's mine and I love it.

I don't understand why you keep saying here and (before on another blog) that people are judging you based on your religion. That is a crock. People are saying certain things to you because of **WHAT YOU SAY**, and for no other reason. I'm responding solely to what you've written, not to what I believe you are based on your religion.

I hope that one day you will see that life doesn't have to be so complicated. Love God and focus on yourself and your family instead of those that you think aren't following the path that you choose. You'll find much more happiness (and peace) once you figure that out.

My mission is accomplished - that's all I've wanted to say.

Karen said...

OH!!! I get it now!! You came to teach me a lesson!!! You are from THE OTHER BLOG!!! It's true though isn't it?? People judge others based on all sorts of things! The color of their skin, their religion, their height, their weight, body piercings, hair color... this list goes on! If you say no, I think you're lying to yourself.

What you don't understand about ME though, because you don't know me, is that I'm happy with MY religion!! So I don't know why you feel the need to "teach" me, or anyone else for that matter, that what we believe is wrong because it's not what YOU believe. Isn't that what is really going on here? I haven't told anyone that they are going to Hell for any kind of x, y, or z behavior. Maybe that's something internal that you have to deal with on your own and is none of my business. But I would love to see one place, here or anywhere else, that I have told anyone that their beliefs, or no beliefs, in God were wrong. While I believe my beliefs to be true, I have never, and will never, tell anyone else that their beliefs are wrong. People believe what they believe for a reason. Maybe it's something that has happened in the past, or fear of what might happen in the future, I don't know. And who am I to judge that? I'm not.

And life IS complicated! But that's the best part!! That's what keeps us hopping and communicating! It also keeps us thinking. I know it has for me! And through thinking and more thinking, I have come to love God more than I ever thought I would. That's why I ask these complicated questions. Because I want to be with Him eternally in Heaven. You believe you can get there your way, but I believe differently. I believe it takes work, work, and more work to get there. I don't believe that I can continue to sin without repentance and get to Heaven. I don't believe that I can go through life and not worry about the rest of the world. I just don't think it's that easy. God wouldn't have sent His only Son to suffer what He did so we could live life the way we want. We must live how HE wants us to. That's what I believe. And it's not fair for you to judge ME because I believe in using moral decisions instead of free-wheeling my way through life. You live your life, and I will live mine.

Thanks for visiting though, I enjoyed your debate.

SaChay said...

King James Version
The Book of James
Chapter 2
14 What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him?
15 If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food,
16 And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit?
17 Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.
18 Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works.
19 Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble.
20 But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?
21 Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar?
22 Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect?
23 And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God.
Gen 15:6 Rom 4:3 Gal 3:6 Isa 41:8
24 Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only.
25 Likewise also was not Rahab the harlot justified by works, when she had received the messengers, and had sent them out another way?
26 For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.

Karen said...

BEAUTIFUL!