Monday, April 11, 2011

Being Appropriately Unkind

Tonight I went to my third to the last class of Biblical School.  The lectures are absolutely riveting.  Imagine someone making Revelation make sense!  It is a Revelation!  

There is a woman in my class who sits next to me every week.  She is older than me and appears to me to be lonely.  I have spent the greater part of the year being "nice" to her.  Even though she mumbles throughout the class and when I have tried to find out what she is saying, it is usually something negative about the instructor or the Bible (WHY is she in the class?) or something political.  She also whispers questions during the lecture and tries to conduct conversations.  During prayer, she is usually banging her books shut or open, slamming pencils and pens, and groaning!  Oh, and always breathing loudly.  

At the Peter Kreeft presentation, I actively avoided sitting next to her.  I expressed my guilty feelings to another friend who told me that it is not required that I be nice to everyone.  I have the right to go to a class or a seminar and listen to the person I have paid good money to see and hear, not someone mumbling and complaining to me.  

So for the last month or so, I have ignored her questions and conversation attempts during the lectures.  She has turned to the woman on the other side of her and they conduct conversations during the instructors lectures.  I turn to the front of the class and focus, like a laser, on these last morsels of wisdom from these four years.   Just like Ezekiel who ate the scrolls and found they tasted sweet as honey!  

You know, now that I think of it, I don't even think that IS unkind.  She would be better served if NO ONE talked to her while she should be listening to someone who can teach her something.   But it is difficult to do something we have been trained from birth to believe is "rude."  

I can't believe I have only two more of these lectures.  And then a dinner, then a day long retreat, then a graduation ceremony.  And I think I will buy a new dress for it!  

And to think I started this just to impress a man!  God truly can write straight with crooked lines!


  1. I agree with your friend. Sometimes the "kindest" thing to do is not cooperate with bad behavior. I would tend to be that one trying to nice the person to death and hope to influence their behavior that way, but there are some who could and would say something to her. I am not able to do that--yet. lol. I heard something a long time ago in reference to kindness vs. truth that went, "don't let the tyranny of kindness get in the way of truth". NOT meaning to go around bashing people over the head--but to not sacrifice truth in order to avoid ruffling feathers. I don't live this very well...
    I do hope you will be able to do whatever is necessary to get every ounce out of the rest of your time at the class. It sounds really wonderful!

  2. I wouldn't call it unkind, I would call it appropriately firm. Some people make it their business to try and suck the soul out of others. Good for you for putting a stop to it.

  3. LOL, when I was in school I always prefered to sit right up front. I hated distractions. I don't think what you did was unkind. I would have moved my seat too. It probably felt unkind because you might have waited to move after so many weeks sitting by her. It might have been less dramatic if you had moved earlier on. But sometimes we just can't foresee how things will pan out.