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Response to one of your writers QUESTION from Kalua October 26, 2000 I have studied your site for about 2 months now and I've read every entry as I was hungry. I posted Tarot/Fascination because I really want to quit completely. I don't want to post but I thought that you'd find it interesting to read a dialog I had with one of your writers. I've posted before and Christianity is a struggle for me but I've really said it best in this email I sent to one of your subscribers. She said that there are errors in Catholic church, whatever, I'm tired of fighting. I thought that what you all need to know is that not all of the people who read your site are devout Christians. If you would be kind perhaps you could change their minds. Just a thought. [transcript of dialog omitted]
ANSWER by John-Paul Ignatius, O.L.S.M. on December 17, 2000 Dear Kalua:
Dear, I am kind. And MANY people have changed their minds because of my words. The problem is that people think kindness is avoiding the truth. Kindness is not avoiding the truth. Sometimes the most loving thing a person can do is to slap em up side the head.
This is not just my opinion. This is the opinion of Jesus, John the Baptist, Apostle Paul, St Jerome, St. Bonaventure, St. Augustine, St. Teresa of Avila, St. Francis de Sales, and bunches and bunches of more saints and doctors of the Church.
Consider these words of the great and very gentle St. Bonaventure, words that are frankly surprising coming from this sweet gentle saint, but words that needed to be said to a person he was confronting: impudent, calumniator, spirit of malice, impious, shameless, ignorant, impostor, malefactor, perfidious, ingrate!
As the Bible itself says, There is a time a and a season for everything under the sun.
There is a time for gentleness and a time for a slap in the face.
But when people backseat drive, it is hard for them to see the road in which I, as the driver see, and thus they cannot see and know that a slap is the appropriate thing given the circumstances.
By the way, I have had MANY people write me with words to this effect: John-Paul you insulted me last week. I was offended and hurt, but after I calmed down I realized that you were right. You changed my life. Thank You.
I might add that science also proves that the slap in the face is needed at times. In the last five years there has been great advances in understanding how the brain works. We have discovered a certain mechanism in the brain that affects what we believe and how we change our minds about what we believe.
The left hemisphere of the brain contains what could be called a library of your believes. What is written in this library is written on stone. It is VERY difficult to change what is in this library.
When a situation comes up, you mind checks this library for the answer. Whatever is store in the library is the answer you will believe and articulate. But what if that information is wrong? What if erroneous information was store in the library? It doesn't matter. As far as you are concerned whatever is stored in your library is FACT and TRUTH.
This is where we get the old saying, I have already made up my mind, don't confuse me with the facts! That is the left hemisphere library talking.
So how do people change these written in stone beliefs that may be in error?
Well most of us know of people who have had to hit bottom and once they hit bottom they FINALLY discover that they need to change their thinking. This is often the case with alcoholics for example. Many times they have to lose everything and hit bottom to finally admit they have a problem and do something about it. That is why the LOVING thing to do is what some would call the unkind thing -- to kick them out of the house if they don't get help. To allow them to stay in the house is UNLOVING because it only encourages them to deny their problem. This is called tough love.
Most of us have also experienced the phenomenon where we get in a heated argument with someone. We part from that person mad and disagreeing with his opinion and maybe even insulted by some of the things the person said to us. But later, once we calm down, we might discover that the person was right afterall. Now we might not admit that to that person, but nevertheless we know within ourselves that the person was right and we were wrong. Thus we change our minds on the topic.
This phenomena involves the Right Hemisphere of the brain.
In order to get the written in stone information in the left hemisphere that may be erroneous changed with new information that may be correct, the Right Hemisphere must be stimulated to insert that new information into the library of the left hemisphere. In other words, the Right Hemisphere can re-write the information in the library to correct erroneous information, but ONLY IF the right hemisphere is stimulated to do so.
How does the Right Hemisphere get stimulated, or motivated, to correct erroneous information in the left hemisphere's library? By being slapped in the face, as it were!
The Right Hemisphere must experience a trauma, a great stress, a slap in the face in order to be stimulated to change the information in the library.
What kind of trauma or stress is needed? Well, things like a drunk losing it all with face in the gutter. The Prodigal Son finding himself taking care of pigs and his face in the slop. (remember it was only when the Prodigal Son hit bottom that he realized that he needed to come home to papa).
Also, the slap in the face phenomena. Getting insulted, angry and mad can and does knock the Right Hemisphere to its senses to realize that one's beliefs are in error and thus will change the information stored in the Left Hemisphere's library.
Bottom line: it is human nature that we sometimes have to be slapped in the face before we come to our senses, or before we will change our minds.
That being the case, if we are always kind we do people a dis-service. We allow them to stay in their error.
If a baby is about to poke his finger into a light socket, do we kindly say, son you shouldn't do that. please do not put your finger in the socket cause it will hurt you. No. that would be stupid. By the time we were all nicey with him the kid would be dead from electrocution.
Rather, we will YELL at the kid HARSHLY to keep him from poking his finger in the socket. The kid may cry because we were so harsh. But he is alive.
It is NO DIFFERENT in dealing with people's souls. Many people are heading for hell. They are on a road heading for a bridge that is out. If we are all nice and gentle and the person doesn't listen, they will go over the cliff and die. Sometimes we have to yell and slap the person into reality to make them realize that the bridge is out and if they continue down that road they will die. We sometimes have to be harsh to make the point that the person's error cannot be given the same dignity as truth. We CANNOT give respect to all opinions. That is a demonic lie to suggest that we respect all opinions. We CANNOT, because we cannot play error in the same level of dignity with truth.
Jesus was harsh at times, the Apostles were harsh at times, John the Baptist and the Apostle Paul were beheaded largely because of their rudeness. The Apostle Paul ticked off so many people that he had to run for his life from several towns. Once he was lowered in a basket from the city walls to escape the crowds who were offended by his preaching.
Dear, I am kind. I have the kindness and love that is defined by GOD. But if you are to judge me with the standards of the 60's flower child, then no I am not kind or loving. In fact, I will run over a flower child anyday. They are a blight on the land. They are people who rape the truth and allow evil to triumph.
I will not do that. I will confront error and confront evil. If harshness is needed, I will not hestiate to use it.
Now, with this said, do I ever approach someone with a warrior mentality when I shouldn't? Yes, sometimes I do, but I try to be sensitive to the Holy Spirit and make the appropriate response in the appropriate manner -- what is appropriate is sometimes harsh, sometimes the appropriate approach is gentle.
But backseat driving will not reveal which times are appropriate for a given situation. I am the driver on this Forum. I have to make the decisions. And, I will stand before God accountable for those decisions.
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