When People are “Too Much”

Generally speaking, I get along with people pretty well—despite the angry-looking picture of me that Donn Arms recently placed on the web! But there are sometimes when—as I’m sure you will agree—people are too much!

Now, that’s not when they disagree with me. Over the years, I have held hundreds of pastors’ conferences. In them, there have been any number of persons who disagreed. I think that if they were objective about it, they’d tell you I treated them fairly, tried to give their viewpoint a hearing, and made an effort to answer politely. Yes, seldom—very seldom—such Q&A discussions got rather heated—but, frankly, it might be up for question as to who was the cause.Why am I going on about this matter? Just to give a bit of background for the point I wish to make. Though most people deserve a hearing—and you and I ought to see that they get it when possible, there are some people, at some times, who don’t. Let me describe the sort of person that I have in mind.

He asks you a question, these days on email. You respond briefly, and to the point, giving your viewpoint on the subject or passage. You simply don’t have the time to do more. He strongly disagrees—sometimes in several new paragraphs. You respond again, saying that you told him what you believed, hoping it might be helpful, but that it isn’t possible to go into a long discussion of the matter. You hope that this will end the conversation.

Now, if you thought the last epistle that he winged your way was long and feisty, look out for the next. In reams, it seems (note the poetry), he takes you to task. First, you are obviously uncaring because you failed to give a long, detailed argument for your position (even though you may have already done so in the book to which he was objecting in the first place—and his arguments prove he didn’t read it carefully), Secondly, if not uncaring, you are clearly unable to answer his powerful rebuttal of your views.

Now, we are all ready to hear a reasonable argument when there is time and the circumstances permit. And there is none of us who cannot learn from another brother. But this bludgeoning of others is another matter. The only answer I have found to it is either to gently say I don’t have the time to take on a correspondence (which is true), or if the writer is especially vehement in his words, to simply ignore it. Now, if you want to rebut this article—too bad! Donn doesn’t allow discussion of it on this blog.

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