On The Other Hand with Jamie – A Response to Nice Is Not A Virtue

Posted by admin in February 9th, 2021
Published in Blessings, faith, obedience

If you’re a regular reader here, you’ll know that I’ve invited Jamie McCarthy to do a counterpoint to my posts – to give readers a different perspective and to illustrate that we don’t have to think exactly alike to love one another and to enjoy each other. Today’s post you’ll see why I asked Jamie to do this. You’re going to love her post! I certainly do! Great job Jamie!

After reading your article about Gladys Aylward I think my counterpoint question boils down to one.
Should Gladys have responded differently when Ingrid Bergman was so compelled by her life story that she asked to meet her?
 I think Gladys was a very powerful instrument in the kingdom of God. Knowing what we know about her she seems like a woman who had extremely strong convictions and faith.
On some level I can understand why this type of person is compelling. There is something beautiful and challenging about someone who is so deeply convicted they let their faith dictate every decision of their life. That is beautiful. However, my experience with people who are never in doubt about what they think, feel, or believe is that they carry a great deal of that absolute assurance with them when they meet new people and it can come across as arrogance even when the subject is far from Christ himself.  I think that’s what draws me to Christ as a believer. It is first the forgiveness of his blood and how he loved us enough to readily come here to this cesspool to begin with but it’s also the fact that we can look to him as a model and when we grow unsure about something or someone, he said that we would be able to recognize those that know Him—while we are still on this side of heaven—“By their fruit….”
 It’s great to encourage people to stick to their principals because that’s hard.  I think we need to encourage one another to do hard things. To stretch the natural comfort zone of our faith. But being nice to people when you think you’re right (and they are wrong) is hard.
To use your example (or rather a mirror image of what you stated) about Paul when he publicly reprimands Peter for “leading others astray… with his hypocrisy”.  You said he isn’t  being “nice” or flexible but he was taking a stand for truth here In Galatians 2:11-13.
But I wonder if the hero in this story might be Peter.
We always point out Paul in this story as a way to “make it okay” to criticize or “call one another out” on truth that “needs” to be said and yes I do believe what Paul did was brave. Peter had just come from being with Jesus. Isn’t that noteworthy? I don’t know about you but if I had just come from spending extended time with Jesus and then Paul starts reprimanding me….and in FRONT of people- no less….I would have a hard time responding without my pride and anger. But if Peter had responded that way at that time- it could have deeply damaged the Church. Peter didn’t respond that way. He responded with humility and dare I use another fruity-type word…meekness. Being humble when you think you’re right is hard. But it can change the literal coarse of people’s lives. I think part of the beauty- on the other side of free will if we can be bold enough to see it, is that Christ can use all things according to His riches and glory for His purpose and we can rest assured and take Him at His word on that.
I respect your reasoning for not meeting with the talk show host to raise money for missions like you referred to in your last post. I think that is very different than Gladys refusing an invitation from Ingrid. Ingrid was asking for a personal meeting. Individual. I think there are scores of times where Jesus literally goes out of his way to meet people individually who are living in sin. The woman at the well is just one of many. And quite honestly she is the one I thought of when I read of Ingrid Bergman. Jesus never didn’t meet with them.
The woman at the well in the middle of the day was living in sexual sin and infidelity just as Ingrid Bergman reportedly had been but we know that the woman at the well is famous not because of who she was, but who spoke to her. She went to the well at midday to avoid being seen in public, and despite the heat Jesus made a special stop, out of the way just to meet up with her. Someone blatantly living in sin and everyone in the city new this about her. Jesus knew too. He asks her to draw Him some water and they begin a conversation about the one, true gift of God the Father and living water…Isn’t that how all divine interventions start?
First, An openness to go, a willingness to hear, and then a conversation. I think we need the Gladys Alworth’s of the world and they are saints because God uses them– not because they are inflexible and seldom think they are wrong. (aren’t nice)
Teresa of Avila was a beloved Saint in the 16th century. She loved Christ, she loved others and she was constantly on the move and readily available to people of all walks of life. She once said, “Let us look at our own shortcomings and leave other people’s alone; for those who live carefully ordered lives are apt to be shocked at everything, and we might well learn very important lessons from the persons who shock us.”
So I keep asking myself what any missionary would, what if no one else ever told Ingrid Bergman face to face about the rich and scandalously redemptive love of Jesus?  No one could have done it quite like a faith giant such as Gladys would have been able to— but we’ll never know. Ingrid never got that meeting with Gladys since she refused to meet her.
May joy transform you today,


4 users Responded In This Post

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56310. Create71 said,
February 9th, 2021 at 10:02 am

When you align yourself with someone, you give them your endorsement in the eyes of others. Jesus didn’t align with the pharisees. He also didn’t meet with everyone who requested a meeting (John 12), you could argue it would have been the perfect time to evangelize to these Greeks who sought Him out…instead, He went about His business. God gives different people different gifts, some have the gift of discernment or prophesy, and need to be strong minded for the task God has for them to do. Others may be more soft hearted, and have a gifting of hospitality or mercy and have a different role to play. These days, when everyone values unity, they too quickly condemn the one who stands alone for the truth. They value peace at the expense of truth, or at least, a little less of the truth…to keep unity. Jesus did not practice this nicety. Matt. 10:34 “Do not think that I came to bring peace to the world, I did not come to bring peace, but a sword.” Also, I think that the instance of Teri not accepting the interview showed great integrity and I think the same of Gladys. You thought of the woman at the well, but interestingly, I thought of King Herod, who also wanted to see Jesus, but was refused the chance until Jesus ‘trials. We need more Gladys’ and Teri’s in the church. We, the church, is out of balance.

56312. sakoellner said,
February 9th, 2021 at 2:29 pm

Good points Jamie. I do agree… I think Gladys should have met with Ingrid, too, and it’s a different situation than Teri’s appearing with Richard Roberts.

56322. leklund said,
February 10th, 2021 at 1:23 pm

Beautiful words by both of you. What’s even more beautiful is the way that God uses each of us in different ways. Grateful for different parts of the Body working together to spread truth and love.

56359. Angela said,
February 12th, 2021 at 10:59 am

Interesting to read both points of view.
As I read this story, Gladys was a woman who walked closely with God and had the conviction (courage) to say no, when all were doubting her and tellingher to say yes. I would imagine she was seeking the Lord for wisdom every step of the way, wanting to please Him. So with that same conviction and discernment she decided not to meet with a Hollywood starlet. Remembering that this is a woman who overcame many hardships to go to minister to women – I imagine that the Lord must have given her discernment not to meet with Ingrid.
Of course, we don’t know, but judging by her fruit, I would be more willing to trust she had a very good (God) reason not to.
Without knowing all the details, I am learning to try and refrain from judging the actions of another Christian.

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