Working with children in Bible Club three days a week has led me to create some rules that clearly explain my expectation for them. One of the most foundational ones (after zipping up) is “ignore the silly people.”
When I began Bible Club there were children who enjoyed coming by and disrupting the lesson in any way possible. My first response was to stop teaching, and make sure they moved down the road so things could continue uninterrupted.
Then one day It occurred to me….
that’s what they wanted me to do!
Basically they were trying to play a game of Catcha (Vincentian for tag) that involved distracting me till my patience ran thin, and then running down the road when I stopped teaching
Now of course they were wrong, but my playing “their game” was a much bigger problem.
So I changed the game…
now they are ignored and usually leave in about six seconds, or don’t bother me at all.
Sadly there are “silly people” in the world who take a huge amount of joy in making other people angry. In extreme cases they will say or do specific things to Christians just to get a response.
It would be easy to respond with righteous outrage at their words or actions…but then we would be playing their game.
After Church every Sunday I put a chain up in front of the Church where I serve. This keeps cars from using the Church area as their personal parking space, and men from a local bar to congregate in front of it. Recently they have started asking me why the chains up, and telling me that’s a very unloving thing to do. Since I ignored this they decided to become a bit more extreme.
Yesterday afternoon I was driving a member to our ladies Bible Study and saw some of the men drinking and smoking weed along the wall about five-feet away from the Church chain.
They went out of their way to get as close as possible to the Church while still staying on the main road so I couldn’t say anything. Just to make sure I got the message they all gave angry glares as I drove by.
I responded with a smile
I could have (and should have) stopped the car and given them a lecture about smoking weed so close to the Church and their disrespect for the house of God. But that was what they wanted.
So instead I ask the Lord to convict their hearts and recommitted myself keeping the chain up. Fifteen minutes later they had moved farther down the road.
There is definitely a place for confrontation of sin, but we must make sure the people are willing to listen instead of just trying to stir us up.
Ignoring the silly people can be illustrated by two rules for social-media that come from Ben Sasse that I shared last week.
1. Not every bad thing in the world requires a response from you.
2. Not every mean thing said to you requires you to acknowledge it