by Karen Ehman
You know, the twist reporters put on a story to slant it a certain way.
Or the explanation a coach gives for the team’s heartbreaking defeat.
Yep. We women spin.Or the tone of voice and word choice we use when talking about another person. We speak in a way so as to entice our hearer into thinking what we do about that person and usually, the way of thinking is not positive.
I have been guilty of it at times. And, I have been the victim of spins on other occasions.
You know where I see women spin the most, attempting to paint others in a bad light? In two areas.
Whether we work outside the home or not.
And how we educate our offspring.
I know there are people who read strong mandates in their Bibles when it comes to these two issues. They are passionate about their stance and resulting decisions. Some even go as far as to assert that if you don’t ‘do it their way’, you are not living biblically.
Now don’t jump to conclusions and assume I am only thinking of one side of the issue. No ma’am.
I’ve had Christians attempt to convince me that working outside the home is unscriptural, citing verses from the Bible. And others have tried to convince me that working outside the home is scriptural, again citing verses from the Bible.
I’ve had some who say it is never, ever, EVER okay to send a child to a public school. (Even if a mom of a half-dozen kids dies and her widowed husband feels overwhelmed just trying to figure out meals and laundry.)
I’ve had others who insisted if you did not send your kids to a public school, you were disobeying God’s command to be salt and light and to ‘go therefore into all the world…” (commonly referred to as the Great Commission.)
Once, a fellow church member of mine (whom I didn’t know real well, but with whom I was becoming friends) decided, after years of homeschooling her kids, to put a couple of them into the local elementary school that was just across the street from my home. I called her just after lunch on the first day of classes.
When I told her who it was, she stopped me. “Uh….” she mumbled, “I hope this isn’t another call from a homeschool mom asking how in the world I could ever disobey God and send a child to a public school. That I’ve ‘sold out’. “Cause if it is, I am not gonna be able to talk to you.”
I was dumbfounded.
“No….actually”, I gingerly answered. “I was just calling to say I heard your kids were going to the the elementary school. I was gonna offer this: Why don’t you put my name down as the back-up emergency contact person for them in case the school can’t get a hold of you, since I live right across the street from the school and I’m home during the day? In fact, I can see your kids playing on the playground right now.”
She nearly cried. (And please…that is one situation in which I made the right call. Other times, I have not. In fact, I’ve either started the spin or joined in when it began.)
What a fine line it is to walk: to have both personal convictions and grace; strong beliefs for your family and love for those who do life a little different. To decide what God is telling your family to do. And then NOT to paint your way as Jesus-stamped and theirs as wrong.
I am not talking about someone who is living in outright contradiction to a biblical mandate and yet calls themselves a believer. We are told how to handle those tough cases. (See 1 Corinthians 5)
I’m talking about those subtle spins. The way, by painting another in a particular light, we suddenly shine a spotlight on ourselves in an “I-would-never-do-that” appearance of godliness.
Let’s stop doing that.