My Christian Dilemma

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Pat_man
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My Christian Dilemma

Post by Pat_man » Mon Dec 24, 2012 4:35 pm

For most of this year I have had problems with whether I'm the right sort of person to follow Christ. I've mentioned before on here that I find the community aspect of being a Christian very difficult. I have hardly any people skills at all.
I try to convince myself that I have a "simple" faith, that doesn't need me helping out with jumble sales etc., but I've come to the conclusion that maybe I'm just fooling myself.
To emphasise my point, I have a cousin who is in prison because she beat up her elderly neighbour.
She has a terrible past of drug abuse and prostitution, and has been told when she comes out of prison, she cannot live in her own home, but has to live with a relation.
Now, if I was a "proper" Christian, I would invite her to stay with me. But I don't want to be anywhere near her.
Like I say, maybe calling myself a Christian is just fooling myself.

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Karen
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Post by Karen » Mon Dec 24, 2012 7:07 pm

Being part of community can be tough at times. Maybe you are good at praying. Or sorting out rotas. Or making the boiler work. Those are all vital skills for any community that don't really involve talking to people much.

The situation with your cousin sounds difficult. You have to work out for yourself whether it is safe for you to have her to stay or maybe find another way of supporting her if she stays with another member of the family.

:votive1:
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Joyce
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My Christian Dilemma

Post by Joyce » Tue Dec 25, 2012 11:50 am

Pat_man nobody is obliged to have a dangerous person under his or her roof. Being a Christian has nothing to do with it, neither has it anything to do with a blood-relationship. Every criminal has relatives. It would not be the responsible thing for anybody to do unless they had the capabilty, resources and time to supervise someone like that.
If you think you could cope and make a good fist of assisting in her reform then that's another kettle of fish. Otherwise give some thought as to how you could help another relative, if there is one,as Karen suggests.
Sometimes the pressure of being in a community can be a deterrent from becoming an active member of a church. It can even be distracting. Some Christians have found that if they want to worship but not get involved in the fellowship side of things, making a journey now and then to a large church or the nearest cathedral helps. They can go in,follow the service and come away again just like going to the cinema or theatre. It can be a nice respite from the choir, the PCC, the jumble sale and the tea urn.
From my own experience of the last few years when injuries and so on have made it difficult to go out and join in anything much, I can state that the old sayings about needing to interact in person with other Christians in order to follow Christ 'properly' are not necessarily true.
Just because something is helpful and suitable for most people doesn't mean it's essential for everyone all the time.
Certainly the company of other Christians can be enhancing. Moreover,for those who like social life the desire to mix with non-Christians tends to wane anyway so that in time one finds oneself socialising with others who love God. However, whatever one's personal tastes it does happen that the Lord finds some way of making use of you.Karen has made some suggestions. I can add to those that if you prefer to stay at home while still having the Christian experience, if you have the internet,a TV and a radio you have access to all sorts of ways,such as this one,of functioning as part of the body of Christ.The Holy Spirit is everywhere for you.

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Josie
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Post by Josie » Wed Dec 26, 2012 9:55 am

Hello Pat_Man. I can relate to how you feel. I'm just a new Christian and I find myself wrestling with trying to live a good Christian life and the feeling I'm just not good enough. I'm a very reclusive person and prefer to withdraw from community rather than involve myself with it.

I am trying to do better, although I have rough time and find it hard to attend community events. I'm not at the stage where I can be a help at these events. But I'm praying for strength and courage that one day I can.

I pray and give thanks everyday that God loves us for who we are not what everyone expects us to be. I try to remember that Jesus and his message came first to the lowly, weak and worthless not the strong and righteous.

Love, peace and prayers,
Josie
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Isobel
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Post by Isobel » Wed Dec 26, 2012 4:47 pm

St Paul made it very clear that the body of Christ needs a wide variety of people but it can be easy to forget that. So I am sure that, as others have said, there are ways you could be involved that use your strengths.

Jesus seemed to reserve his strongest criticism for people who behaved in a hypocritical manner and judged others, and he regularly demonstrated compassion for people's genuine weaknesses and faults. He sought out the company of all sorts of people who weren't part of the conventional religious establishment.

I don't know what the solution is to your cousin: it sounds like a very difficult situation. Your reaction sounds very natural to me.

In my experience a lot of people who might look like rather intimidating 'proper' Christians have their own doubts and difficulties when you get to know them.

:votive1: For your journey

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Ernest
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Post by Ernest » Thu Dec 27, 2012 7:41 pm

Hi Patman,

Your dilemma is one that can face anyone of us. We all want to do the best that we can, for ourselves and for those around us.

Firstly, you speak of not having many people skills - but you are able to engage here with us. I don't claim to have that many people skills either, being probably an introvert, whatever exterior I display to the world. But the one thing that I have learned is that trusting your instincts is reasonably reliable.

Certainly, in a church context, you are among friends, all of whom are human beings with strengths weaknesses. Most of us are not as self-aware as we like to believe. But if you take things slowly, get to know people a little better, being prepared to share a little of yourself and your time, I believe that you will find that people will react well towards you and will make you feel more welcome in their company.

Others have made equally valid points on that, so I will say no more.

The situation with your cousin is a bit more difficult. Again, Joyce and others have proffered some good advice. You are under no obligation to take the risk that her living with you would represent. Because, despite good intentions, we all tend to relapse and you could encounter many difficulties if this were to happen. It will depend on the nature of your relationship with her and whether you feel that you could actually deal with her living with you on a permanent basis.

There are however other ways to help her - finding her alternative accommodation, perhaps through social housing and seeking advice and counselling for her through the the Probation Service, or even via your church.

Most Vicars will have access to a wide range of support networks, which may be able to offer a placement and financial and rehabilitation support for her until she finds her own way.

I suspect that the major issue for her will be adjusting back into civilian life, caring for herself, finding how benefits work and even seeking employment opportunities. There may be a need for her to undergo some form or compulsory work experience or training to prepare her for a return to employment. It will be a time of uncertainty, instability and worry about finances and personal safety and security.

Off course, she will be need to be willing to accept that help, because if she isn't, it might result in her remaining in the circle of habits and behaviour that led to her current situation in the first place.

In the meantime, prayers that you are able to resolve all of these situations :votive1:
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Coriander
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My Christian Dilemma

Post by Coriander » Sat Feb 16, 2013 8:21 pm

I don't think this has anything to do with being a 'good' Christian. I considered very seriously whether to have my brother to stay when he finished his prison term of 10 years and shared with friends who prayed with me. What happened was actually best for him. He stayed with another man who helped him into a routine, got him back into a regular way of life, and my brother eventually got a job.

It would not have been right for our family life to have that sort of stress, and having the back-up of others was a must for the chap he stayed with. Because my brother completed his full sentance he did not have to have a probation officer, but luckily he found put he could ask for one voluntarily, and the probation officer was a big help.

We all have roles in life, and have to be careful that we do not take on one that we have not got the necessary skills to take on. If you don't fell able to do it, don't hit yourself over the head, it means you know your limits, so stick to them. Be kind to yourself, there will be a solution out there somewhere. My friends gave me the best guidance. So glad I let God sort it out rather than interfering myself. I do love my brother very much too. I just did not have the capacity to help and God kindly showed me that.
:votive1:

rolyn
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My Christian Dilemma

Post by rolyn » Sun Feb 17, 2013 10:05 am

From what you say it sounds like the Lord provided you with very wise counsell in this matter.
There are times to step forward and there are times to stand back.

PTL for the gift of discernment :minicandle:

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Ernest
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Post by Ernest » Sun Feb 17, 2013 6:26 pm

Coriander,

You have faced a difficult and stressful situation and have thankfully had the right outcome for your brother and for your whole family. Royln has said that thanksgiving for your discernment of God's will in this situation is appropriate. I agree, but also believe that you used your own faculties, intelligence, knowledge of your family relationships to pretty good effect as well. Well Done!! :thumbs:
Where there is hope and love there is life!
God is Life!
God is Hope!
God is Love!
God Is!!

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Joe Parrish
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Post by Joe Parrish » Tue Feb 19, 2013 3:32 pm

:praying: Praying for those facing various difficult family issues :praying:
Peace and blessings,
Joe

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Beth
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My Christian Dilemma

Post by Beth » Tue Feb 19, 2013 5:26 pm

I'm glad your brother got a job and things worked out for you both. :votive1:

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