1 Jan 1999

Using guilt motivation

Submitted by theshovel
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Hello bro,

There is this little game we learned growing up in our respective backgrounds that suggests that we MUST be nice. Of course, the nice thing to do would be to grant the request of those who ask of you. The belief that you and I need to respond on the superficial level forces us to be superficial along with them.

With Dave’s request it is no different. I’m sure you are wondering, What does he really want?. Don’t allow yourself to be forced into playing his game because of some kind of guilt feelings that you are being divisive and mean; for that is not what is really going on here, is it? Why not just confront him on this request and ask him what’s really going on? Remember, you’ve already come to the end of his issue with you and you realized it was a dead end road. There is no need to even discuss it with him or to allow him to come in and bring up that issue OR another issue.

Just remember that Paul of Tarsus wrote some pretty confrontational stuff about cutting off such situations. But we tell ourselves that it sounds too harsh — and maybe even legalistic — so we ignore those perceived opinions Paul had for we are obviously more gracious than he was!! Yeah, right! The simple fact is that when these little games are confronted and dealt with they will appear to our civilized morals as wrong. But Paul dealt with REAL communication and interaction. Our stinking culture convinces us that being superficial is the right thing to do.

You have been made alive and have been given the eyes of the Spirit. Do not be afraid to find out what is behind the facade, and refuse to fall into the lie that you must respond with the rules of death we learned in this world.

Love, Jim

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I really liked this and wondered what sort of scenario brought this forth?

theshovel's picture

Early on, I was so overly concerned with a requester’s anonymity that I would often not post any of the email that spurred the response … and that’s what happened here. Shortly thereafter, I merely edited the Question part of the Q&A in order to provide a better framework to understand my responses. There have been so many Daves in my life that I’m not sure who this is, but just thinking on it might trigger something. If it does, I’ll let you know. :)


Well, okay! [said enthusiastically]

Again, I really thought this was some gut level and very valuable expression.



theshovel's picture

Alrighty then, Adam … I remembered what triggered this response while I was sitting at lunch today.

Back around 1999, my friend and I were being “examined” by this guy who fancied himself as having the gift of discernment. Basically, what that meant was that he would be the one to declare us as either being of God or of the devil. Yeah, he was conducting a one-man witch hunt. So he sent us emails with the questions by which he would determine this.

Now, he didn’t initially make those intentions known, although, on more than one occasion he had spoken of his God-given ability to determine the nature of a person’s spirit — that is, whether it was of God or not — so I was pretty sure where he was coming from. My friend, however, was troubled by the pressure, as he felt obligated to respond to the questions as posed. So, he wrote and asked how I was going to handle it.

And just so you know, I had grown pretty close to the guy who was examining us. It was not something I took lightly. It was a rather painful time for me.


I see, this I think will bring more color to the writing for sure. Isn't it funny that while we assume that being firm with others is a rule breaker when it comes up against the “nice” standard that we have set up in the world?

l  saw this play out today in the local Walgreens on my break today. It was actually a very serious matter.


Thanks Jim,



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