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The following is presented as part of The Columbian’s Opinion content, which offers a point of view in order to provoke thought and debate of civic issues. Opinions represent the viewpoint of the author. Unsigned editorials represent the consensus opinion of The Columbian’s editorial board, which operates independently of the news department.

Letter: Show others the light

By Steve Friebel, Vancouver
Published: September 14, 2023, 6:00am

A recent letter from Mr. Schimelpfenig (“Repent before it’s too late,” Our Readers’ Views, Sept. 9) caused, yet again, a painful disconnect between my head and heart. I determined that this was due to his constant and stony-hearted use of guilt, shame, fear, threats, etc., for the purpose of persuading “sinners to repent.”

I was extremely fortunate to spend a career in public education working with some wonderful and, at times, very difficult, disconnected and dysfunctional students. I quickly learned that using these tactics never persuaded them to change their approach to making decisions in their lives. In fact, many times this approach backfired and resulted in deleterious consequences for them, their friends and families.

A different tactic is provided by Madeline L’Engle: “We do not draw people to Christ by loudly discrediting what they believe, by telling them how wrong they are, and how right we are, but by showing them a light that is so lovely that they want with their hearts to know the source of it.”

It occurs to me that this tactic was used quite liberally by that Jesus guy at the specific direction of his Dad.

We encourage readers to express their views about public issues. Letters to the editor are subject to editing for brevity and clarity. Limit letters to 200 words (100 words if endorsing or opposing a political candidate or ballot measure) and allow 30 days between submissions. Send Us a Letter