Theology

Christians understand your feelings better than you

[content note: fundie-speak about “conviction”]

As you all know, a little while ago I attended The Reformation Project’s conference, and it was an experience I appreciated and enjoyed. It wasn’t completely sunshine and roses for me, as Friday morning a couple protestors showed up outside the church. I ignored them every time I walked past until I was coming back from lunch and had an hour to kill, so I stopped to listen to a conversation one of the other conference attendees was having with the “leader” of the two.

I’m not sure how long I just listened, but eventually I got roped in and the other woman left after a few minutes. I stayed and continued to talk, mostly just asking questions because what he was arguing I found honestly confusing for a while. Eventually I figured out that he was saying “openly gay-and-in-a-relationship people can’t be Christians because it’s impossible for a Christian to live in unrepentant sin,” but that followed statements like “Christians aren’t proud,” which I found hysterical and really just said this man is a little out there and not living on the same planet as me.

There were even a few upsides to the conversation– it became clear to me early on that he wasn’t as familiar with the Bible as I am and that he couldn’t really deviate from his homophobic script much and that he also didn’t really understand things like cultural context very well. I think I even managed to get him to go “huh– I’ve never seen that before” at one point (I pointed out the “born eunuchs” passage to him, which I don’t think he’d ever read before while wearing his “I’m thinking about non-hetero-cisgender-conforming people” cap).

Eventually, though, my hour was up and I had to go in order to get to the panel discussion I was attending, so I started extricating myself from the conversation, and this is where our discussion went south in a hurry.

As I started to leave, he told me that the only reason I was leaving was that I was being convicted. I knew I was denying God’s truth, and I just wanted to avoid the pricking of the Holy Spirit on my conscience.

I honestly don’t know if what I did next was smart or not, but I’m a little proud of myself for being able to do it. I took my sunglasses off and looked him dead square in the eye and told him that no, I am not being convicted, I know what you’re doing, and that is not ok. And then I walked away, barely making it inside the church atrium before I broke down. I barely made it to the bathroom–my legs gave out a couple times– but I knew what was happening. I’d been triggered.

I was triggered because “you’re just being convicted” is one of the most powerful ways spiritual abusers controlled me for my entire life. And, as I’ve been thinking about what he said for a couple weeks, I’ve realized why that particular phrase caused the reaction in me that it did.

It’s an absolutely hideous thing to say to someone for a few reasons. First, when a fundiegelical is talking to someone, and they’re being a homophobic or sexist bigot, and the person they are talking to becomes frustrated or otherwise visibly emotional, a frequent go-to response is “you’re being convicted, I can tell.” They are completely confident that your response has nothing to do with them being mean or aggressive or even downright nasty and vindictive. It is not their fault if you become angry, even– that’s only proof of your “conviction.” It relieves the fundiegelical from any responsibility not to be an asshole. They can be an asshole all they want and when someone gets upset, they don’t have to feel guilty.

Second, it is erasure. I wasn’t actually upset with this particular person until he said this– I was just amused and then I had to leave because I was busy— but I cannot tell you the number of times I’ve been legitimately and appropriately upset and been told that I haven’t been hurt by their words, I’m just feeling the Holy Spirit. These people take my natural emotional response and say no, that is not what you are experiencing. I know better than you, and what you are feeling isn’t anger with me. It’s anger with GOD. I had a pretty simple motivation for leaving, like “my panel starts in a few minutes, bye,” but even if I had been upset with him, that would have been a legitimate reason for me not to want to talk to him anymore.

It is an odious thing to do. I am me, I understand what I’m feeling and most of the time I understand why I’m feeling that way. No one has the right to assume they know more about me than I do, especially a self-righteous stranger standing on a street corner. No one should ever erase someone’s motivations for an action and substitute their own.

Photo by Haldean Brown
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  • Thank-you…

  • Reblogged this on …..temporary…..

  • How many times in my life did I say the same, or think the same thing? Thanks for this. It reminds me why I left fundievangelicalism. How many did I hurt before I left? I am so sorry for my past attitudes.

    • I’ve probably said this to people, too.

      • If guy-who-didn’t-know-the-Bible-well is where you are now in five or ten years, he’ll be doing much better than anyone could reasonably expect in his spiritual/moral journey.

  • Nine

    I think this particular word/phrase is, for most people who use it, another part of the script… It’s simply what fundamentalist Americans have been taught to say. It’s practically reflex, along with “don’t be bitter” and “don’t be a stumbling block”. Rather than consider the actual content of what someone says, they just read from the appropriate card, like a telemarketer.

  • toninamdc

    Wow, that’s a really convenient response for a fundiegelical! Not only does it absolve them of the blame if they’ve been nasty or cruel to someone during such a discussion, but it also gives them one more handy tool to kill any seeds of doubt from the other person’s argument before they can germinate. “You’re being convicted” = “See, I’m right and your reaction proves it! No need for me to worry about any of those logical, well-sourced arguments you’ve made, because I AM RIGHT!”

  • I feel we will be very good blog friends. Another kindred discovered. I wonder why they never preach about divorced and re-married people as people incapable of being Christians as that is directly spoken in the Bible many times whereas monogamous committed gay relationships are never mentioned. I do believe it’s because the “over there” sin is easier to deal with. Exactly as it was easier for him to tell you you were being convicted rather than feeling like shit because he probably was. I have only once had such a reaction- leaving, feeling my legs give out, lots of tears- to a particularly horrible sermon. I’ve yet to give another church a shot. Still a Christian, but my faith simply can’t handle churchianity.
    Blessings on your journey!

  • What exactly does “convicted” mean in this context–God’s already judged you? Or does he mean convinced?

    • Nine

      When evangelicals say “convicted”, the word describes an intense feeling of correct judgment. It means that the person “feeling convicted” has suddenly and powerfully realized that God is speaking to them through the words of the evangelical, and that the listener’s actions/beliefs are in the wrong.

      It is a sly and effective tactic because it allows the evangelical to re-label feelings of guilt, panic, or confusion as realization of divine judgment, causing the listener to doubt themself.

      • minuteye

        Thank you for that very enlightening definition.

      • catherine

        Great definition. I’d also add that evangelicals use the word to describe their own decisions, ie, “I feel convicted to share the gospel with that person,” “I used to smoke a pack a day until God convicted me,” or “I felt the Lord convicting me to get up earlier for my quiet time.”
        So people in this culture are already accustomed to using the label “convictions” rather than “decisions,” which lessens the feeling responsibility for their own decision…in fact, it frames the decision-maker as very passive: “I had to do it because God told me to! Not because I wanted to, or decided to!” And this goes along very nicely with other evangelical-speak to distance people from their own thought processes and instincts, teaching them (in my opinion) to distrust their emotions and/or seek alternative, more “spiritual” explanations.
        It’s not a big leap from that to “That feeling of guilt/panic/frustration/fear must be God convicting YOU to…(fill in the blank).”

        • YES, distrusting emotions, feelings, needs, desires, etc are central to this brand of fundyism. Unless you are the ultimate spiritual authority of course. Anyone lower on the totem pole can’t trust themselves to know what they are thinking or feeling or what’s good for them because that’s probably just your flesh talking and what do you do with flesh? CRUCIFY it. And then go ask your parent/pastor/spiritual leader what you REALLY want/need/feel.

      • KP

        That’s interesting. As far as I can recall, the brand of evangelicalism I grew up in (in the midwest/Illinois), the word “convicted” didn’t have this meaning of relabeling negative emotions as the Holy Spirit’s prompting. People did talk about “being convicted by the Holy Spirit” meaning being convinced that what one is doing is sinful (though I never heard it in an accusing manner as discussed here, like “those feelings of anger your having now is the Holy Spirit telling you that you’re wrong”), or “having convictions” meaning having very deep-seated assurances that whatever one thinks is true (usually only used for theological ideas). It makes me wonder if this is a denominational difference in usage (I went to a blandly evangelical church, and we certainly thought of ourselves as not as strict as “those fundamentalists”, though our theology was probably almost as conservative as theirs), or if it’s a regional difference in how fundagelicalism is practiced.

    • I’ve always heard it as meaning the Holy Spirit is always with you and constantly “reminding” you that what your are doing, saying, thinking is wrong. But it really is kind of pasive aggresive. You arent saying or doing something brcause you’ve chosen to, you’re doing it because God “convicted” you. I believe in having convictions about things. But they should be personal decisions you have made according to your values, not a blind thoughtless following God just because “he said so.” And also as an obedient Christian, God “convicting” you to enlist in some kind of spiritual warfare to save souls and take back our country from those immoral atheists and liberals.

  • Oh god, I’m glad you brought this particular phrase up because it has been used as a weapon against me too and it’s awful. Sorry if I get a tad bit lengthy, but I want to share a story if it’s okay.

    When I had first come out as gay, I was living overseas from my family working on my Masters degree in Astrophysics. Needless to say, I was already under a lot of stress, even before dealing with my family keeping me up til ungodly hours on the phone arguing, or sending me books and articles and pamphlets about how I am deceiving myself into thinking that I can be gay and Christian and about how lesbian relationships are all just co-dependent and unhealthy and guilting me into reading them. (And yeah, according to these sources, gay relationships are all about lust and sex and lesbian relationships are about emotional codependency. I can’t even start to unpack that sexist and homophobic load of shit).

    Anyway. My family had become more and more emotionally and spiritually abusive and I would often go to church to find some solace and comfort. One Sunday morning, they called me and we had an argument that ended in them telling me “we don’t even know you anymore.” I was really upset when I took the train down to church immediately after. During the worship service, I tried to hold things together, but I just broke down and started sobbing uncontrollably. One of the women in the pews noticed me and very kindly asked if I was okay and if I needed to speak to someone. I had a friendly relationship with the current pastor, so I said that I would like to speak to him, thinking that maybe I would admit that I was gay to him and tell him what was happening and hoping that, even if he disagreed, he would be loving and supportive in the difficult time I was having. However (as is common in churches) women are apparently only supposed to seek counsel from women, so I was directed instead to the pastor’s wife, whom I had never really spoken to. This left me feeling a bit scared and vulnerable, but I followed her to a back room where she sat me down and got me a glass of water and tried to make me comfortable so I could talk to her.

    I was still sobbing and was a bit scared about coming out to a total stranger, but I slowly calmed myself enough to begin trying to speak. “First, there’s something you should know about me. I’m gay, and I’m dating a woman,” I said. I then began to tell her that I had just had an argument with my family that had gone really badly, but she was not looking at me anymore but flipping through her bible. She opened it to Romans 1, and then tilted it a little so I could see it while she watched me talk without listening. I started to get shaky and nervous again, trying to ignore it. I kept talking but I felt I wasn’t really being heard. And indeed, as soon as I paused, she interjected and began to tell me that I was living in sin and that god was disgusted with my lifestyle. She asked me if I’d read Romans 1. I said yes, but that I didn’t interpret it the way that she clearly did, that I hadn’t come here to talk about whether or not homosexuality was a sin, and that I didn’t believe it was wrong to be gay.

    “Yes you do,” she said.

    “No, I don’t think it’s wrong,” I stammered, rather flabbergasted.

    “Yes you do. You know it’s wrong. Otherwise you wouldn’t be crying. You’re crying because God has convicted you and you know you are guilty.”

    Nevermind the stress and anxiety I was under. Nevermind that my family was pressuring me. Nevermind that people I loved and trusted were attacking a deeply important part of me. Nevermind that my family had just told me that they didn’t know me anymore. No, I was apparently crying because I had been convicted. And, you know, I half believed it, because when you’re that mind-fucked by your family and your church and everyone around you, it’s hard to have any sort of perspective besides “well, everyone is saying it so maybe they’re right.” You lose your ability to judge your own feelings and values. It’s disorienting.

    So I felt like the breath had just been sucked out of me and I mostly just sat there for the rest of the next hour while she read me Romans 1, she talked to me about how I was disappointing god, my relationship was disgusting, I needed to stop running from the truth, etc. I put up a few weak arguments here and there, but I hadn’t come here to argue about sin. I just wanted advice and comfort and safety.

    I never really trusted a church to be safe ever again.

    If anyone ever tries to tell me that I’ve been “convicted” again, I swear I’d lose it. Just… ugh. Thank you for bringing this up.

    • Oh my goodness, I’m so sorry this happened to you. Sending internet hugs. And a kitten. http://www.omgsocute.com/2011/11/15/daily-hug-yin-yang-hug/

      • Awww cute kitten! Thank you. This all got me more worked up than I expected.

    • Laura

      Of course, if the pastor’s wife had been showing emotion, it would have been “righteous anger” or some such thing, but if you are showing emotion, you are being “convicted.”
      I am so sorry that this happened to you. I hope that you have been able to find communities you find safe to replace this toxic environment.

      • Yes, ditching religion and subsequently realizing that I didn’t need to engage with their moral fuckery anymore helped a lot. I now am free to surround myself with positive influences and be a positive influence myself without constantly having to doubt that reality is reality and that my feelings are my feelings. I can be conscientious, thoughtful, introspective, and question a lot without having to cross the line into self-torment and gas-lighting. Of course, there are plenty of people who reach the point of doing this while still holding onto their faith (I think Sam probably falls in that category) and that’s perfectly fine too. This is just what works for me.

    • Abby Normal

      Good gravy, what she did was fucking awful. I’m sorry that happened to you.

      • Thank you for that kindness! Yeah, it took me a couple of years of distance to be able to look back and realized how fucked up it was. At the time, I had been drilled repeatedly with “you need to consult and submit to spiritual authority” over and over and over, so I submitted to the mistreatment and still kept going to that church and made myself pretty miserable. I have left that all behind now though, even if remembering it still makes me feel just a tad queasy.

        A very similar repeat happened some months later at my sister’s church, which she had strong-armed me into going to in an attempt to convince me to break up with my girlfriend. She talked me into speaking to an elder that she trusted and having that person pray for me. Again, I tried to explain to this woman that I was dealing with a difficult family situation (at that point my parents had threatened to expel me from ever coming back to their house) and that I could use some prayer or guidance. But again, as soon as she heard “gay” she stopped listening and started telling me to pray for god to “release me from this sinful relationship that had a hold on my life.” I told her that I wasn’t going to pray for that because that’s not what I felt was needed, and this was suddenly proof of my hard-heartedness and rebellion against god, and she would not be swayed otherwise and just wanted to badger me into praying for the strength to “give everything over to god.” I half-heartedly did so eventually because I was tired. At least in this situation, I was less emotionally vulnerable, so I mostly felt frustration and disappointment. I guess that’s what you get when you keep believing people who tell you that a “spiritual authority” will know how to fix your problem and you can’t possibly know how to handle it yourself or be trusted to find your own support.

        Anyway, sorry for continuing to rant at you, haha! I guess I still have some feelings tied up in this.

  • The “Christians understand your feelings better than you” is one of the foundational pieces of the Christianity I was raised in, and I’ve written about this on my blog a lot. Christians know that deep down, everyone believes in Jesus but just doesn’t want to obey him, so they pretend to have intellectual objections to Christianity. Christians know that all non-Christians are living unsatisfied lives and have a “God-shaped hole” and aren’t truly happy. Christians know that gay people are rebelling against God. Christians know that everyone who gets an abortion regrets it. etc etc etc.

    As it turns out, this “I know your life better than you do, complete stranger on the internet” philosophy is not love, so I’ve concluded that Christians should have nothing to do with it.

  • Wonderful post.

  • Hi Samantha–for reasons of my own, your post today REALLY resonates with me. I could feel frustration boiling up inside me as I read it. (I would have released it with a good long, loud scream but that would have terrified my cat.) I am confused about something though–I don’t come from a specifically fundiegelical background so I don’t understand what the word “convicted” means is that context. I only understand “convicted” in the “I-was-tried-for-a-crime-and-my-defense-lawyer-sucked-so-now-I’m-going-to-jail” sense. 😉 What does the word mean when fundiegelicals use it, exactly? Thank you–peace and blessings!!!

    • “Conviction” the way they use it means that I’m supposedly experiencing God telling me that what I’m doing is sinful. Not sure where it came from.

  • Thanks, Samantha–chances are that this particular meaning of the word was originated by fundiegelicals in order to absolve themselves of responsibility for the hurt and trauma that their words and attitudes inflicted on others. As usual, it’s convenient to blame God.

  • I really, really felt this piece. I find that phrase rage-inducing, myself, because it takes me right back to all of those years when all of my doubts and questions were written off and any guilt I had over that conflict between how I had been raised and that internal struggle was just a sign that the spirit was working on me.

  • I too have a story about this “being convicted” thing. When I was around 13 I worked on the bus ministry in my church along with another girl who was a bit older than me. One day we both got brought to the office with the pastors wife and our mothers and were told that we had to take a break from working on the bus ministry because we had bad attitudes. I’m pretty sure I cried. And I eembet being told I was being convicted of having a “bad attitude”. What exactly they thought I had a bad attitude about I have no idea. To this day I still have absolutely no clue what it was that I was in trouble for. I just assumed it was another thing that I wasn’t good enough for.

    • *that was supposed to say remember. Not sure what eembet is…

  • Abby Normal

    Ah, yes, I remember having my head scrambled by this notion during my youth group years.

    I heard quite a bit about “conviction” at the time–in the context of “being convicted” by the Holy Spirit when you’re doing something wrong. At the same time, I was also being taught that, in the context of “spiritual warfare”, Satan will often try to thwart someone who’s on the “right” path by convincing them that they’re doing something wrong–even to the point that the more right you are, the more Satan will push back against you.

    So, if I’m doing something that just strikes me as really wrong, I either feel that way because it is wrong and God is “convicting” me, or it’s actually right but Satan is trying to discourage me from doing it.

    A person just can’t win against logic like that!

    • Crystal

      It’s not logic, my dear. It’s twisted, convoluted ravings.

    • KP

      But there is someone who wins with that logic: whoever is trying to emotionally control someone else with this tactic.
      But on the plus side, you could take advantage of the logic’s loophole and claim that the negative feelings are always Satan and never the Holy Spirit. Wave goodbye permanently to religious guilt!

  • jamesbradfordpate

    Reblogged this on James’ Ramblings and commented:
    Preach it.

  • Crystal

    Well, I wanted to say something about this. I was taught all my life that being “convicted” meant getting a nudge from God to tell me that I was doing something that went against the Bible. But does it not say in the Bible “Come let us reason together” and “Love the Lord your God with your mind”?

    I have always been told that conviction came from God and made you broken over sin, and that it came from the Holy Spirit. But condemnation (which can come in any shape) was pointed at you to accuse you and MAKE YOU FEEL BAD (and people are plenty capable of making someone feel bad although they’ve done nothing wrong). According to what I have been taught, you experienced condemnation, not conviction. I know some of my views have been a bit of a hair raiser for you but I still want to show compassion and say how SORRY I am that that happened to you. You were being condemned, NOT convicted! When someone points the finger at you and says triumphantly “You were convicted!” they have just condemned you, and condemnation is of the devil, not of God.

    I think people have a right cheek to think they can speak for God and the Holy Spirit like that. Sometimes someone says something and the Holy Spirit can use it – but the person has no right to tell you that you are being “convicted” because well, they’re not God and they don’t know your heart and circumstances. God does. However, I have read some of the other remarks on the platform and I believe that the one that says people should do things based on their own belief system rather than the nudge from above is right, although you need a gentle nudge sometimes to warn you of danger, I think.

  • I get triggered by being shut down like this too. It’s awful, because the group I used to be in, Maranatha Campus Ministries, was very fond of this tactic and used it all the time.

    I might mention, though, that I have had this done to me by atheists too. They didn’t use the word “convicted,” but they out-and-out told me that the reason I was upset at their attacks on my religion, and on myself as a follower of that religion, was that I knew deep inside they were right. That I knew deep down there was no God, etc. Quite frankly, it doesn’t feel any better when it’s done by non-Christians. Maybe they were doing it in retaliation for having it done to them by Christians– but that didn’t make it any less painful.

    • I don’t think retaliation was necessary; “Your negative reaction shows that you know I’m right” is one of the fallacies humans are very prone to. It just has a bit more kick when it can be “your negative reaction shows that God is telling you I’m right.”

      • Tim

        I think this is a good point. “Your negative reaction shows that you know I’m right” is a human fallacy, not necessarily confined to the evangelical community, because projection in general is a human fallacy.

    • KP

      With that kind of combative atheist (certainly not all atheists are like this), it seems that they see themselves as the bastion of reason, and of course emotion is opposed to reason, so to them, your showing of emotion is obviously a sign that you’re being unreasonable in your beliefs. And yet it’s that same kind of atheist that gets really angry and trollish on message boards and get irrationally angry about all religious people and shout at them…

      • krwordgazer

        I have also interacted with many considerate and respectful atheists online, yes.

  • ArtK

    It’s an old schoolyard debating technique, wrapped up in fundamentalist jargon. “You’re getting mad — that proves that I’m right!” Heads, I win; tails, you lose. You either openly agree with me or your disagreement is evidence that you actually agree.

  • Fee

    I hope this isn’t too off topic but it reminds me of a time when a well meaning fundamentalist thought she knew my emotions better than I knew myself, although conviction was not necessarily mentioned. When my husband and I got married we moved across country so he could go to seminary. Easter was the first major holiday away from my family and I sorely missed them. I started crying at church and a nice lady asked me what was wrong. I told her about missing my family and she gave me a hug, held my hands and asked, “Do you think it also might be because it is Easter and you are sad that Christ died for your sins?” How do you say no, not really to that? So on top of missing my family, I now had guilt for not properly experiencing this sacred holiday and appreciating the sacrifice that Christ had made for me. Good grief! I will never forget that. It took a long time to realize how messed up some people’s beliefs were at that church and I’m glad we finally left.

  • LL

    I’m currently leaving fundamentalism and it’s been a more complicated process than I expected-partially because I didn’t even really realize I was in fundamentalism…
    I think it’s interesting how they’ve taken the Holy Spirit and turned Him into a weapon. I’ve learned more about Him and His work this last year than I have my whole life.
    He’s pretty amazing. A helper and comforter. Not a tool to be used by a person to shape a “sinner” into their own image.
    Funny the things I never saw.

  • I’ve noticed a few questions about what the word conviction means in the comments above. It has roots in the Latin word for convince, convincere. That is how we use the term typically. We posit that the HS convinces us of a needed change or action. That is what we call conviction. I’m not defending anything just attempting to explain usage. In addition, I acknowledge that I cannot know what is in the heart of man, and whatever that may is between him and God only. Therefore, It would be wrong for me to assume anyone was being convicted. To put it plainly, Sam, I agree totally with you on this issue.

  • It’s really not hard to understand that it has nothing to do with a Christians pride as to whether or not the Bible says that a believer cannot be living in unrepentant sin. The Christian is believing and quoting the Bible. It has nothing to do with thinking they are better. As for this man presuming you were “convicted” yes that would be frustrating to say the least.

  • Allison

    I have often heard fundamentalists teach that if you feel guilty, it MUST be because you are sinning. It’s ironic that fundamentalists are so big on not listening to your emotions, but guilt is treated as gospel. If you point out that not everyone feels guilty about XYZ then they will say that those people’s hearts are hardened and their consciences are dulled. Or if it’s a “disputable matter,” that it’s not a sin for them because it doesn’t make them feel guilty. Argggggggg. .

  • Pingback: Betrayal and Conviction | Cynthia Jeub()

  • I seem to be way behind here… ha – I don’t have a blog, I’m not gay, I’m just an old straight broad who found Samantha’s wonderful posts because I was trying, yet again, to have my feelings validated by reading about other’s experiences dealing with toxic people. I hope you see this comment Samantha, because it is way past the November ’14 date when your post and the comments were made.
    I’m sick to death of people telling me how I feel, and when they cloak this with how God WANTS me to feel, ARRRRGHHHH…. there’s that scream someone talked about in the comments – I don’t have a cat, so I didn’t scare anyone by screaming. I love your verbage, with the fundiegelical, and etc.
    What always irks me to the core is how some bible thumpers so quickly point out, and obsess on the issue of homosexuality.
    Even if we were to believe that it is a sin, WHY would we focus more deeply on that, than, say – women wearing pants, divorce, remarriage, adultery, etc. The reason, to me, seems to be that gays are in the minority, and the others aforementioned are quite common. Therefore the fundiegelical folk can feel more assured that they are “siding with the majority”, and feel so free to be a big mouth about gay lifestyles, and further try to push minorities in the corner as bigots do.
    I tell some folks that they love playing ‘bible politics’, as their twisted and damning “convictions” show.
    Ha! I just thought of something. What ‘office’ are they going to run for – GOD? That is indeed what they do, when they tell others exactly what God wants for them, describing in great detail what is right and wrong. Hell, I have the feeling some days that a total stranger will walk up and tell me that God doesn’t want me to wear black shoes, I should wear blue ones!
    They will open their bibles to some scripture talking about shoes, and twist the context so morbidly that you won’t even recognize it. I am SO sick of people trying to gaslight others by using God’s name. They really are taking His name in vain.
    (Exodus 20:7). I never thought of this before writing it down today, in the context of taking God’s name in vain! Epiphanies come easily when I read such enlightened and intelligentwords – Samantha, you are such a talented writer, with verve, honesty, and validity! And good for you for staring that idiot square in the eyes letting him know that what he did was NOT okay!