Seeking Feedback from My Christian Friends

 

Since I sometimes have a tendency to meddle in other people’s business, and not always artfully, I decided that I might benefit from getting the input of others about an idea of mine. The action I’m contemplating may or may not be helpful, but if it is heretical, I’d just as soon keep quiet.

Some of you may remember that I have a hairdresser whom I’m very fond of. She is a devoted Christian, and we have had many discussions about religion, and we have loved learning from each other. She’s a Conservative, too, and periodically we commiserate about the state of the world. She also saw me through some of my cancer issues, including the shaving of my head. So, I think it’s safe to say we are relatively close.

At the end of last year, Karen was surprised to learn she had to have heart surgery. In a sense, she wasn’t too surprised because heart disease runs in her family. Still, she was impatient about getting past her recovery time so that she could go back to work. A couple of weeks ago she gave me my first post-chemo haircut.

Although Karen is regaining her strength, her progress has been limited due to her reticence about starting physical therapy. I’m assuming that there’s a part of her that resents, is perhaps even angry about, having to give up the time and make the effort to exercise. So she’s put off scheduling her sessions. When my husband (who also goes to her for haircuts) and I have tried to gently encourage her, she nods her head and agrees, but so far, no dice.

I have this idea that I’m considering to give her a nudge to move forward. Let me say first that I have spent the last several years trying to abstain from giving advice; it’s a bad habit I practice and although I’m still not free of it, I’ve done much better. If I have a suggestion that I just can’t resist, I ask permission to offer it, prepared to have the person say no. (My husband and I have agreed to this approach, especially since my suggestions are sometimes ill-timed. It works.)

So here’s what I’m thinking of offering to Karen. First, I will ask if I can offer a suggestion about her physical therapy. Although she’s likely to say yes just to be polite, I’m ready for her to say no. I’ll let the idea go at that point. Second, I will offer my suggestion. It could take a couple of different forms:

How about asking Jesus to go to physical therapy with you? or

How about asking Jesus to go with you to your appointments?

I have no idea how she will react; at first, she might just open her eyes wide and either laugh or be miffed. I will let her determine the direction of a discussion, or her decision to reject the idea. But I so much want to be helpful in a loving, caring way.

If she asks me if G-d exercises with me, I will tell her yes. I suspect he doesn’t do leg stretches, but especially recently, I know he’s there. Would I make the suggestion to a Jewish friend to invite G-d? If the person was religious, I would.

What do you think? Am I nuts? Do you think I should or shouldn’t proceed? Do you have any suggestions for wordsmithing or strategy?

Published in Religion & Philosophy
This post was promoted to the Main Feed by a Ricochet Editor at the recommendation of Ricochet members. Like this post? Want to comment? Join Ricochet’s community of conservatives and be part of the conversation. Join Ricochet for Free.

There are 52 comments.

Become a member to join the conversation. Or sign in if you're already a member.
  1. Doctor Robert Member
    Doctor Robert
    @DoctorRobert

    Hi Sue, great question.  I answer as a committed Baptist.

    How about asking God to go to physical therapy with her?

    And I don’t see any way you can give offense.  Even if you invite Jesus, well, he was a good Jewish boy. This is indeed loving and caring of you.

    Good luck.

     

    • #1
  2. Gary Robbins Member
    Gary Robbins
    @GaryRobbins

    Great question.  I would substitute one word, “God” for “Jesus” as you and her worship the same God of Abraham.    

    You could say, 

    “How about asking God to go to physical therapy with you?” or

    “How about asking God to go with you to your appointments?”

    If true, you could say that this worked for you. 

    When I feel lost or overwhelmed, I close the door to my office, get on my knees and ask for God’s guidance and protection.  That has worked every time.

    If using the Lord’s name is taboo for you, then you could refer to his Angels, if true for you. 

    My point is for you to come from your experience and let her know what you did that worked for you.  Once you have said that, you could mention that you could suggest Jesus’ name as an alternative to God or Angels.

    • #2
  3. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    Doctor Robert (View Comment):

    Hi Sue, great question. I answer as a committed Baptist.

    How about asking God to go to physical therapy with her?

    And I don’t see any way you can give offense. Even if you invite Jesus, well, he was a good Jewish boy. This is indeed loving and caring of you.

    Good luck.

     

    That’s a good idea, too, Doctor. But I want to motivate her to go. I was thinking that if she invites Jesus, she’ll have to show up!

    • #3
  4. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    Gary Robbins (View Comment):
    My point is for you to come from your experience and let her know what you did that worked for you.  Once you have said that, you could mention that you could suggest Jesus’ name as an alternative to God or Angels.

    Good suggestions, Gary. There’s nothing wrong with my using Jesus’ name; he was a real person, after all. Or I could say G-d or Jesus to her; she could take her pick. Thanks.

    • #4
  5. The Great Adventure Coolidge
    The Great Adventure
    @TGA

    Agree with the first 2 folks – great idea.  I would not be put off by someone suggesting either God or Jesus.  

    • #5
  6. Percival Thatcher
    Percival
    @Percival

    She already knows that He is always with her, even to the end of the age.

    • #6
  7. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    Percival (View Comment):

    She already knows that He is always with her, even to the end of the age.

    True. But I wonder if she thinks about that fact when physical therapy comes up; this step might remind her that even in an activity she finds unpleasant, he’s willing to be there with her, too. 

    • #7
  8. Percival Thatcher
    Percival
    @Percival

    Percival (View Comment):

    She already knows that He is always with her, even to the end of the age.

    She will be touched, I think. I would be.

    When I lived in Georgia, two sweet little old ladies were out in the parking lot of the grocery store applying God’s blessings in an indiscriminate manner with a firehose of cheerfulness. They asked me if I knew Jesus. I replied that I surely did: I had been speaking with Him just that morning. Their smiles got even bigger, which didn’t seem possible until I saw it. They told me all about the nearby Baptist church’s services, and we blessed each other halfway to perdition.

    Made my day.

    • #8
  9. AUMom Member
    AUMom
    @AUMom

    Perhaps you can do all your verbalizing in prayer. Your intentions are loving.

    I would not receive them well if they were directed at me—to the point it would permanently change our relationship. Please factor that in before you say anything.

    I especially resent using my faith as a prod, even a gentle one. Someone close to me used it as their go to manipulation weapon. My antennae go up quickly when someone else seeks to do the same.

    • #9
  10. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    AUMom (View Comment):

    Perhaps you can do all your verbalizing in prayer. Your intentions are loving.

    I would not receive them well if they were directed at me—to the point it would permanently change our relationship. Please factor that in before you say anything.

    I especially resent using my faith as a prod, even a gentle one. Someone close to me used it as their go to manipulation weapon. My antennae go up quickly when someone else seeks to do the same.

    This is very helpful feedback, AUMom. Even well-intentioned, my efforts could backfire. Thanks.

    • #10
  11. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    I wonder if anyone will be bothered by the fact that I’m a Jew recommending an appeal to Jesus to a Christian? I’m trying to imagine if the shoe were on the other foot: a Christian suggesting to me that I make an appeal to G-d. I’m not sure the two situations are similar enough.

    It brings to mind a situation when I met with two Christian evangelical pastors, interviewing them for my book on religion. When we finished, they asked if they could pray for me; I assured them I could use all the prayers I could get. It was an amazing experience. They each put a hand on one of my shoulders, then took time praying. My recollection is that they appealed to G-d, but didn’t include Jesus. It was a timeless and blessed experience, and I was most grateful.

    • #11
  12. AUMom Member
    AUMom
    @AUMom

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    I wonder if anyone will be bothered by the fact that I’m a Jew recommending an appeal to Jesus to a Christian? I’m trying to imagine if the shoe were on the other foot: a Christian suggesting to me that I make an appeal to G-d. I’m not sure the two situations are similar enough.

    It brings to mind a situation when I met with two Christian evangelical pastors, interviewing them for my book on religion. When we finished, they asked if they could pray for me; I assured them I could use all the prayers I could get. It was an amazing experience. They each put a hand on one of my shoulders, then took time praying. My recollection is that they appealed to G-d, but didn’t include Jesus. It was a timeless and blessed experience, and I was most grateful.

    Someone, Jew or Christian, praying with me is priceless. Most Christians choose the Creator, rather than Jesus, to doubly, triply insure we don’t offend. 

    • #12
  13. Jim McConnell Member
    Jim McConnell
    @JimMcConnell

    Susan, knowing that you are always tactful and considerate of others’ feelings, you might refer to the similarities between your recovery process from cancer and hers from heart surgery, both life-changing events, and explain how your relationship with God helped you through the especially tough times. (I consider Jews to be my “older brothers and sisters,” since your covenant relationship with God precedes mine as a Christian.) 

    • #13
  14. Percival Thatcher
    Percival
    @Percival

    AUMom (View Comment):

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    I wonder if anyone will be bothered by the fact that I’m a Jew recommending an appeal to Jesus to a Christian? I’m trying to imagine if the shoe were on the other foot: a Christian suggesting to me that I make an appeal to G-d. I’m not sure the two situations are similar enough.

    It brings to mind a situation when I met with two Christian evangelical pastors, interviewing them for my book on religion. When we finished, they asked if they could pray for me; I assured them I could use all the prayers I could get. It was an amazing experience. They each put a hand on one of my shoulders, then took time praying. My recollection is that they appealed to G-d, but didn’t include Jesus. It was a timeless and blessed experience, and I was most grateful.

    Someone, Jew or Christian, praying with me is priceless. Most Christians choose the Creator, rather than Jesus, to doubly, triply insure we don’t offend.

    Yes. Common ground (at least as far as we are concerned “). 

    So, let’s see … Old Testament … continuing on through adversity.

    Ah, I’ve got it.

    But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.

    — Isaiah 40:31

    i go to that one all the time.

    • #14
  15. Vince Guerra Member
    Vince Guerra
    @VinceGuerra

    I don’t recommend it. The best thing you can do is pray for her and love her, what Christ taught as the second greatest commandment.

    As a follower of Christ she has full access to the prompting of the Holy Spirit, she’s likely just not listening to Him right now.

    If a non-Christian asked me that I’d probably scoff and chuckle, and the enemy would probably use it to breed division.

    A better question would be this:

    Hey Vince, “What does Jesus say about this situation? What is His remedy for it?”

    That would be the good kind of slap in the face that would get me back in the game. Or at least it would get me cracking my bible again.

    • #15
  16. Doug Kimball Thatcher
    Doug Kimball
    @DougKimball

    Perhaps it will help, but is ones relationship with G_d really that intimate?  I tried many times to quit smoking, never successfully, until I dedicated myself to the memories of loved ones who died because of their habit.  Perhaps I was calling on angels to help me?  My addiction was over.  I never desired another cigarette.  

    • #16
  17. Bryan G. Stephens Thatcher
    Bryan G. Stephens
    @BryanGStephens

    I would not be offended. 

     

    • #17
  18. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    Jim McConnell (View Comment):

    Susan, knowing that you are always tactful and considerate of others’ feelings, you might refer to the similarities between your recovery process from cancer and hers from heart surgery, both life-changing events, and explain how your relationship with God helped you through the especially tough times. (I consider Jews to be my “older brothers and sisters,” since your covenant relationship with God precedes mine as a Christian.)

    This is a lovely idea, Jim. Thank you.

    • #18
  19. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    Vince Guerra (View Comment):

    A better question would be this: 

    Hey Vince, “What does Jesus say about this situation? What is His remedy for it?”

    That would be the good kind of slap in the face that would get me back in the game. Or at least it would get me cracking my bible again. 

    I like it! Thanks, Vince.

    • #19
  20. Gary Robbins Member
    Gary Robbins
    @GaryRobbins

    Bryan G. Stephens (View Comment):

    I would not be offended.

    I would be touched and moved.

    • #20
  21. Mark Camp Member
    Mark Camp
    @MarkCamp

    Deciding whom to recommend inviting– G_d or Christ–is always important when offering advice to Jewish hairdressers.

    But with your friend it’s all the same thing, so just pick one.

    • #21
  22. Front Seat Cat Member
    Front Seat Cat
    @FrontSeatCat

    I think it’s a very sweet and thoughtful suggestion – after that she has to decide so let it be after that. You might throw in how helpful your following your doctor’s orders helped you get back on track.

    • #22
  23. Doctor Robert Member
    Doctor Robert
    @DoctorRobert

    Gary Robbins (View Comment):

    Bryan G. Stephens (View Comment):

    I would not be offended.

    I would be touched and moved.

    I would too.  I’ve had Docs pray for me right there in the exam room, and I have (rarely)  done the same.

    • #23
  24. JoelB Member
    JoelB
    @JoelB

    Susan, it seems to me that the Spirit may be prompting you to bring up your friend’s PT sessions in this way. Take some time in prayer (or a little more time) and ask G d about this. If you still feel a leading to do this, go ahead and ask  when the time seems appropriate. This sounds like the kind of thing that many of my Christian friends might consider to be a “nudge” from G d. Sometimes a timely question can be more effective than all the reasoning we can muster.

     

    • #24
  25. Phil Turmel Coolidge
    Phil Turmel
    @PhilTurmel

    I wouldn’t invoke Jesus in that form.  I would expect that to stir more rebellion.

    Consider just expressing that you are worried about her, due to her avoidance of PT.  I might go so far as to say I’ve been praying for you to get over this personal barrier.  (Assuming you have/are, naturally.)

    • #25
  26. Flicker Coolidge
    Flicker
    @Flicker

    My take is a little different.  She already knows Jesus, and presumably the Bible.  You might point out that something the Bible says, that “1 Timothy 4:8 says ‘For bodily exercise profits little: but godliness is profitable unto all things.’ You already have godliness in your life, now maybe you can bodily exercise a little.”  :)

    • #26
  27. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    JoelB (View Comment):

    Susan, it seems to me that the Spirit may be prompting you to bring up your friend’s PT sessions in this way. Take some time in prayer (or a little more time) and ask G d about this. If you still feel a leading to do this, go ahead and ask when the time seems appropriate. This sounds like the kind of thing that many of my Christian friends might consider to be a “nudge” from G d. Sometimes a timely question can be more effective than all the reasoning we can muster.

     

    Great suggestion, Joel.  I won’t see her for a couple of weeks, so I will ask G-d in prayer. Thanks.

    • #27
  28. Vince Guerra Member
    Vince Guerra
    @VinceGuerra

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):
    I wonder if anyone will be bothered by the fact that I’m a Jew recommending an appeal to Jesus to a Christian?

    Not at all. We love opportunities to discuss matters relating to Jesus openly with others regardless of the context. 

    • #28
  29. Lawst N. Thawt Coolidge
    Lawst N. Thawt
    @LawstNThawt

    Seek first to understand. 

    As an example of this, I’m one who is more inclined to let someone stumble and fall on their face even to the point of the last time (okay, I might say watch out for that tree root if I thought it was going to be the last time). 

    So in my quest to better understand why Susan would venture into this other person’s personal space, I might ask something like: Stepping away from the question of beliefs, is there something that makes this part of her life your responsibility?   

    So then Susan and I might have a conversation about why Susan feels like she needs to intervene.    We don’t have to do this.  I’m just using this example of me trying to understand first before doing something.   Something I could have done might have been to encourage your action or perhaps discourage, either of which might be the best option.  But I’m just guessing unless I first seek to understand.  

    After Susan and I discuss it, I may still not know, but I’ve at least been there. 

    Being there is often the best answer.

    • #29
  30. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    Lawst N. Thawt (View Comment):

    Seek first to understand.

    As an example of this, I’m one who is more inclined to let someone stumble and fall on their face even to the point of the last time (okay, I might say watch out for that tree root if I thought it was going to be the last time).

    So in my quest to better understand why Susan would venture into this other person’s personal space, I might ask something like: Stepping away from the question of beliefs, is there something that makes this part of her life your responsibility?

    So then Susan and I might have a conversation about why Susan feels like she needs to intervene. We don’t have to do this. I’m just using this example of me trying to understand first before doing something. Something I could have done might have been to encourage your action or perhaps discourage, either of which might be the best option. But I’m just guessing unless I first seek to understand.

    After Susan and I discuss it, I may still not know, but I’ve at least been there.

    Being there is often the best answer.

    Thank you for your thoughtful response, Lawst. First, I don’t feel responsible for her. Instead, I often struggle with loved ones who are suffering and I feel compelled to try to help them. That isn’t necessarily a good thing, but I think that’s my motivation. I also relieve my own suffering when theirs is relieved. I will ponder your comment. Thanks.

    • #30
Become a member to join the conversation. Or sign in if you're already a member.