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.