Sawdust or a Plank?

by: 

Kathryn E. Darden
Sep 30, 2007



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I've always been a bit suspicious of anyone who is overly outspoken about their happy marriage when flirting suggestively with someone else. One of the strangest cases, on a political board I used to frequent, was the case of Christine. Much like the car of Stephen King fame, Christine was the stuff of nightmares. She had been posting on this particular board for about four month, and had already been through seven ID's that we knew of.

When she left the board the first time, she asked that all her posts be pulled because they were so blatantly sexual. A married woman, Christine spent her first month pursuing a single man and posting suggestive, lustful comments to him, all the while purporting to be a Christian. After that ID was pulled, she returned 6 more times, and each time managed to not only attach herself to the same man but also flirt with much sexual innuendo with other men on the board. With each return her posts more and more loudly proclaimed how happy her marriage was, bringing to mind the classic Shakespearean, "Methinks thou doth protesteth too much."

I was one of the people privy to some email conversations with this woman in which she confided her dissatisfaction with her marriage and her close bond through phone calls, emails and private messages to her online paramour. After spending several weeks praying with her and counseling with her, when she returned to the the same pattern the third time, I told her I felt like I was enabling a dysfunctional relationship and that if she returned a fourth time, I would no longer be able to support her. She did return a fourth time -- with another new ID -- all the while claiming she was NOT on the board. As promised, I replied to one of her emails that I felt like it was time we parted ways saying, "I will not be able to support your return to the forum, so it is probably best if I wish you and (your spouse) the best. God bless you."

From this point on this woman sent me vitriolic emails to the point I had to block her email accounts. She began to try to suggest that, I, a single woman, was a "hypocrite" for having at one time had a mild interest in another single poster. She hounded my heels on the board, posting snide comments in reply to my posts. She baited me, going so far as to quote a line from one of my personal emails to her as her public signature on the board.

Eventually I left that particular board (I belong to several aothers and even moderate quite a few myself where that kind of behavior is not tolerated). When I last saw her, she was still looking for opportunities to try to drop hints and innuendoes about others in a classic case of psychological projection* without seeming to realize how many people remembered her previous posts. As much as she tried to point her finger at others accusing them of "lust" and "wanting what they cannot have," she did not see the four fingers she had pointing straight back to herself.

Jesus said it best when He said, "Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother's eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, 'Brother, let me take the speck out of your eye,' when you yourself fail to see the plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your eye, and then you will see clearly..." Luke 6:41,42.

The lesson here is to be careful with whom you counsel and how much you share. Be sure the person really wants to change the behavior they have you praying about and are not just using you to try to smokescreen God. There is a difference between forgiving the sinner and enabling their dysfunctional behavior. The sooner you can discern between the two, the more grief you will save yourself.

Chat rooms and discussion boards add a whole new range of opportunities for dysfunctional behaviors by offering people anonymity. People who talk the Christian talk in person may become a different person entirely when allowed to post behind a fake name.

There is another lesson for single men who let a woman with sexually agressive conversation lead them into an ungodly online relationship. Sometimes Satan stalks you with a keyboard, typing enticing words. Guard your hearts.

* Projection: Projection is one of the defense mechanisms identified by Freud and still acknowledged today. According to Freud, projection is when someone is threatened by or afraid of their own impulses so they attribute these impulses to someone else. For example, a person in psychoanalysis may insist to the therapist that she knows the therapist wants to have sex with a particular person, when in fact the client has these urges herself.



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Kathryn Darden is editor and publisher of ChristianActivities.com and a former political forum junkie.




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