Haters Can Ride Out

Nothing is more annoying than naysayers. This guy comes to our Bible study semi-regularly. He’s got his own church that he’s semi-committed to, and he’s semi-serious about his walk as a disciple of Christ. Semi-anything is a good place to be for a naysayer. It supposedly gives you a right to run your mouth, but no responsibility to fix anything.

So he comes in to our study late. The movie is already playing. He pulls me aside and tells me that the one we’re showing can’t be bought in China. Funny, since I bought it down the road from my house. I tell him this. Well, I must have the wrong translation. Never mind everyone else tells me they understand the subtitles just fine. Next time I turn around, he’s got my wife aside asking her how much the house costs (that’s just part of the culture here; kind of weird, but you get used to it) and telling her what a waste it is. And of course giving her ideas on how to turn our waste into a not-waste. This all during the Bible study, of course.

He says our group cannot grow any larger (which he also said when we had half as many) without problems. Even though he tells me his church is twice as large. He says we can’t hope for any good results because we’re in China, and things are illegal and difficult. None of this would really bother me, except for the fact that he’s the most flagrantly Christian student at the study, but he’s a model of so many things we don’t have any desire to promulgate. He tries to paint himself as a leader and tells me that he comes to our Bible study as a ministry (meaning he tells the students to go to a different church if they really want to learn the Bible).

I struggle with how to deal with this guy (and the ones just like him that are sure to come later). Not sure I do it right. He really doesn’t do as much damage as I feel he does sometimes. Hurts my pride more than anything. Drives me crazy that he doesn’t see me as a competent leader, a teacher on par with his own pastor. I also try to realize that he’s got lots of growing to do as well, and someone who will love him enough to tell him he’s wrong to his face and try to help him change (like someone has done for me many times). When I talk to him about his semi-commitment to his church, his witnessing, and his personal walk with Christ, he shows signs of genuine conviction. I think he really loves God. He always talks about interest in our leaders meeting, but he can never come as his church meets on the same night.

After the movie the other night, we had a number of our leaders sitting around to talk with me. He joined us. He said something about our plans being “impossible because this is China.” I interrupted him and told him that he could go hide in a hole if he wanted to, but our Bible study isn’t going to be built on fear. He told me later on, “I think I’ll come to your leaders meeting tomorrow.” I told him not to come and to go to his own church. Two reasons. I really don’t want to deal with his naysaying at both of our meetings. Just yet anyway. And his problem isn’t a lack of commitment to my Bible study. It’s a lack of commitment to Christ. Switching Bible studies doesn’t solve that problem.

So, we’re finding out that, even in China, there’s a fair share of naysayers. And it’s something I’m trying to learn to handle. I sure don’t get it yet.

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One Comment on “Haters Can Ride Out”

  1. Demetri October 8, 2007 at 5:37 pm #

    I remember taking a personality test along with my fellowship group. In any group, there’s a good amount of “cautious” naysayers versus the compliant group. Although it’s expected, I pray you continue to minister as He leads you.

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