Asking for Your Patience

A very good friend of mine told me he thought I had said too much about some really sensitive topics regarding the school shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary, Abortion and Gun control. As I reflected on his comments and took a little inventory a few thoughts came to mind that I think are worth sharing and reflecting on. First, this past week things hit close to home. A day before the Sandy Hook shooting, our neighbor killed her boyfriend by stabbing him to death. While we made a few attempts to get to know them it never worked out…so it wasn’t deeply personal (like losing a close friend or loved one) but it hit close to home. What I took away from that event was that we have to be more connected as a community. Follow that up the very next day with what happened in Connecticut and last week was an eye opening week for me, as it was for the rest of our nation as well.

So I got a little worked up last week and I said some things that were pretty matter of fact. Some people probably got offended by that. I believe what I have said is accurate and true or else I wouldn’t have said it. I don’t apologize for the message. But if my attitude and tone have been wrong and I have (what I sincerely believe to be) truthful things in an unloving or disrespectful way then as Paul would say I am just as good as a clanging gong or resounding symbol…those things produce nothing.

I want all of you to know the purposes of several posts here on the blog and on facebook is not to create enemies or to push people around or strong arm people. The goal is to speak the truth (hopefully in love). If some get offended at the truth (it happens…even to me sometimes, right?), that cannot be avoided. If some are going to get offended because I didn’t communicate with a loving attitude toward those I disagree with then that is on me. If that has happened I apologize. Last, I want you to know that I really am listening. I have certainly made up my mind on some things but that doesn’t mean I don’t listen to those I disagree with. I love you all and want you to know that I respect you and hopefully we can continue to have respectful, loving and productive dialog on this blog. This is where I am coming from in all of this and I want you all to know that.Be

About mattdabbs
I am a minister, husband, and father. My wife and I live and minister in Saint Petersburg, Florida. My primary ministry responsibilities include: small groups, 20s and 30s, involvement, and adult education.

5 Responses to Asking for Your Patience

  1. Paul Smith says:

    Matt, I read your posts, and unless you spoke some words that were more harsh in tone than what you wrote, I cannot see where you were unchristian, unloving or harsh at all.

    Read the prophets – were they afraid of being up front with their condemnations? Even telling the residents of Jerusalem that they would end up eating their own children, eating their excrement and drinking their own urine? Such words are indescribably harsh to our ears today, but I am sure they were equally harsh to their original audiences.

    I fear that modern day “prophets” and preachers have been far too soft. If the kind of writing you have done over the past few days is harsh, then how in the world will people ever be able to hear the words of Scripture?

    Please do not misunderstand – I appreciate your candor, and your willingness to apologize where apology is needed. But, if we are not able to speak with passion and with conviction when we see unspeakable horror, at what point will our words have any meaning at all?

    Keep preaching and writing, brother. You write sane and well composed articles. If passion seizes you and you write from your heart, well good for yer. That means you are human, that you care, and that you take being a watchman on the wall as a serious obligation.

    Here is hoping you get another million or so reads over the next year or so!

    Paul

  2. One thing about blogging that is tough – you don’t get face-time and moments to pause and let someone ponder a thought while having a conversation. Sharing ideas together in the same room you get so much more personal (and hopefully there is patience and respect but in both arenas it can be one-sided…)
    Knowing Matt personally when I read these blogs I can picture the sincere heart because I see you talking to me. But it’s still just letters on a page – I don’t get a chance to give a nod, interrupt to clarify, or give you an indication I need a moment to process or even a hug before we proceed into truth I have to hear.
    I find that hard sometimes even when reading God’s word – like a blog or newspaper article by someone I don’t know personally I have an easier time getting defensive, or just plain ignoring…but if I can picture Jesus – THE WORD – and seek His presence when hearing the truth, and hold up my hand in need (and pray with a friend who may help hold my hand in place of Jesus to give me more personal support)…then that word may cutto the heart with better precision and outcome.
    Patience…for all of us. You are right Matt – patience and personal connection – even in times of disagreement and hurt.
    Barb

    • mattdabbs says:

      Barb, I love this comment because it really reflects who you are and whose you are. You have such a heart for God and for others. You truly embody the two greatest commandments and I want you to know how much I appreciate that about you and Vince, too.

  3. Paul R. says:

    Matt,

    I appreciate the humble leadership you show in this post. While you and I, and others, may not feel you were unloving in your words (even if we don’t agree on every position), we at can least acknowledge the sensitivity of the subject at this time. I feel that among my many weaknesses, one major one is a distaste for accepting criticism. I’m much quicker to entrench my position and defend myself, especially when I feel I’m not in the wrong. Then I like to sulk. Then I like to complain to other people about how I’m not in the wrong. It’s great to see you accept fault where you may not even see it. It certainly is a great example of humility and disciplining the tongue. Speaking with this sort of humility and love is what creates such productive dialog on the blog, and it is what is needed for productive dialog in our churches to meet the many emerging challenges we face. I appreciate your thoughtfulness and your example, and not just in this post. Merry Christmas,

    Paul

    • mattdabbs says:

      Paul,

      Thank you brother. That means a lot to me. Dialog is important. It is part of being a community and it is important that we are all willing to learn from each other. I am still learning and still trying to listen and humble myself and let God guide me, oftentimes through the wisdom of others, even those I disagree with.

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