Thursday, October 16, 2014

Benefit of the Doubt

The Internet is an amazing thing. Poor Tom Brennan, pastor of Maplewood Bible Baptist Church, posts this on his Facebook page:

One drive-by commenter just can’t resist taking his best shot:
“Want to be friends? Only the super-sanctimonious need apply.

For Jesus said unto them ‘love your neighbor as yourself but don’t let their kids close to your kids unless they attend Wednesday night church.’”
Realistically, on an Internet troll acid scale of 1-10, this comment might rate a two (for a professing Christian troll, a bit higher). Sure, it implies Mr. Brennan is a bit on the sanctimonious side, but most of us have seen lots of cheaper shots.

And since I don’t know Tom Brennan, it’s faintly possible commenter “Darrell” hit the nail square on the head. Brennan could have santimony oozing out of every pore. He could be a man so ostentatiously pious that guilty sinners cross the street to avoid being blinded by the glare of his incandescent halo. He could be more self-righteous than the New York Times editorial page.

Or maybe ... just maybe ... he didn’t actually say “I won’t let your kids close to mine unless they attend all the meetings”. In fact, he kinda said the opposite, that he and his wife are committed to teaching their kids not to be snobs.

Is it possible he was merely making the point that in order to be friends with the Brennan kids, it is necessary to ... er ... be where they are? Because apparently they’re at the meetings. I’m not sure it’s necessary to see that as a bad thing, or sanctimonious, on the part of either parents or children.

It could be, sure, but since the commenter admittedly doesn’t attend Maplewood Bible Baptist Church, I’m not sure how he could reasonably be the judge of that.

Once in a while a little benefit of the doubt is in order.

That’s all. Carry on.

1 comment :

  1. Being gracious (benefit of the doubt) would help smooth a lot of ruffled feathers in our interactions with our brothers and sisters in Christ. I have found too often that I can argue that 2 plus 2 = 4, while the person I am speaking with is insisting, "no, 3 plus 1 = 4" equally emphatically. Perhaps it was a misunderstanding in the definition of terms used, perhaps simply not listening to what was said before I "launched in" to get my side in. I hope I am learning but at times it seems so slow the progress. Of course there are times to stand firm and not be moved because it is the truth of the Word of God that cannot be compromised. Knowing the Scriptures brings the clarity in knowing when to be unmoving or not. Regardless, graciousness sweetens the atmosphere of conversation and helps in "hearing" ideas expressed.