Friday, July 24, 2009

Stalking Happens Within the Christian Community Too

A few years back when I was studying at Seminary, I had the unfortunate experience of being on the wrong side of a prank that (as far as I was concerned) went too far. I had been getting these anonymous text messages for several days, which at first were quite innocuous; only later I thought they were a little more pointed.

At one point, having previously ‘let them go through to the keeper,’ I responded. (I would later find it would’ve been better not to.) I’d had enough of them and decided to argue the point, and that was a mistake, because it just fed this person.

The more it went on, and the more upset I got, the more I felt vulnerable, because I simply didn’t know who this was. This person was close to me; they knew names of my family and seemed to know me very well i.e. in a detailed way. I even had a friend doing some counter espionage for me to try and work out the identity of this person. It was causing me a lot of stress.

At one point during a particular day when the messages become quite threatening--and with very intelligent use of language I’ll add--I entertained it was Satan himself who was the thorn in my side! I was so anxious I went and made a report to the Police; it was getting way out of hand.

Days later, I found out the identity of the person, and that at least one other trainee ‘pastor’ knew about it--it was a big joke, of course. I was both upset and relieved, but challenged by God to forgive, and even eventually laugh with them (figuratively speaking).

Only recently I read the author of a blog I occasionally read incensed about a certain anonymous commenter soliciting ‘bold’ comments without identifying themselves. This person has also commented on some of my blog posts--and I must say I’ve been intrigued as to who he or she was.

The point is, both of these instances have quite obviously left the person on the receiving end feeling victimised, even stalked. And these are in the so-called Christian world of ‘love your brother and sister as yourself.’

Perhaps the worst thing from my own personal experience of being stalked is you begin to doubt everyone in your midst, and trust is seriously tested. Because we don’t know the identity of the person we can begin to assume bad of everyone.

Being stalked is no fun. It takes the person feeling victimised in this way through a range of emotions, and they’re all negative, and all based in fear, which is something any proper Christian person is keenly aware of--to negate or avoid promoting it in others, and certainly from ourselves as the source.

Copyright © 2009, S. J. Wickham. All Rights Reserved.


servus said...

Thanks for penning this article. Excellent, as usual.

Since traffic is being directed from another blog to this particular article, I thought I would offer you a few parting encouraging words, before “Servus” is “raptured” [to a loud chorus of “brilliant” & “Praise the Lord” from a few], evaporating into the blogging ether.

As one of the many millions of blog readers out here [it is claimed there were 31 billion searches on Google last year alone], you tend to stumble across a multitude of various Christian websites & blogs.

Most who know their stuff would acknowledge that in the quality writing department, your site is right up there. Not to mention a brilliant thought provoking resource for preachers & youth pastors. It just gets better & better as the days go by.

As a sinner in need of daily forgiveness from Christ for all my daily sinful actions, word & deeds, this is the type of material a sinner like myself needs to hear [on the net, or from the pulpit].

The Word simply preached.

It draws my heart because your articles are consistently:

* thoughtful but not jargonistic
* well researched but not overly theological
* transparent but not narcissistic
* humble but not self-opinionated
* focused but not distracting
* holy but not unreasonable
* submissive but not introverted
* self regulated but not simplistic
* accountable but not undisciplined
* purposeful but not self promoting

It never ceases to amaze me how you manage to turn out the daily volume of high quality material that you do.

My plea is that you continue in this wonderful endeavour. I am sure it is a great encouragement to many, and that your silent readership will grow.

Just this week I have been in contact with someone who has suffered a relationship breakdown, & has hit new depths. They have been struggling to cope with the load of running their business while adjusting to sole parenting at the same time. It was a real blessing & encouragement to be able to simply share with them your article “The Spiritual Experience”, which we have been able to talk & share about.

It is interesting to note that your blog in particular generally doesn’t cause me to react or flare up – hence the generally positive comments that I have contributed to this site over the past months.

In reflection, if a few more blogs followed your excellent example, there would be little reason for the “Servus” readers out here to register complaint.

As God is our judge, let’s just see what the many years ahead will bring.

Best Wishes & Goodbye

S.J. Wickham said...

Thank you for your response. I found it very gracious; indeed I needed to check my article to ensure it didn't malign you. (My hope is you didn't feel maligned. If you did, I apologise.)

I believe your comments on my articles have always been intelligently and prudently put, and hence personally edifying (as I have mentioned).

I'm indebted to you for your encouragement and pray God's blessing over your life.