I was just about to turn the key to my apartment and my neighbor wished me. She has invited me many times in the past to the church and I went once to her church. But now my husband doesn't like her preaching to us so much. For me she has been my neighbor for more than 2 years but still I feel bad when she tries to say things like "you are a good girl" and if only you were a Christian then you would be "saved". And today again she invited me and I said I am not too keen and she ended the conversation by saying "I will pray to God to forgive you".
I mean what have I done that I need forgiveness for? I have been a good daughter, good sister, good wife and will try hopefully to be a good mother too. If I have not accepted Jesus is that meant to be sin? She is in her 50's and I don't want to hurt her (especially sometimes at that age people may become slightly cynical too). My husband totally ignores her but I don't know how to politely tell her that I feel bad whenever she says something like that. I know this post may seem like a rant to few but I am feeling bad now and just wanted to get it out of me
Have you tried just politely but firmly telling her that your faith is your business and you find her comments hurtful and offensive? Then end it with, "Please stop."
It's a formula: "When you _______, I feel______. I want you to ______." It works for anything.
So for your case, it would be, "When you impose your religious beliefs on me I feel disrespected and invaded. I want you to stop bringing up your religion to me. Thank you."
I've used that formula for lots of uncomfortable situations. It's nice because you can be firm but polite at the same time. It doesn't always work, but it often does.
Good luck with her. She sounds like a real pain.
Ignore her ,she doesn't understand god and has been brainwashed.You husband is intelligent, tell him I said that
This is how their religion works - guilt and fear.
They just do not seem to understand how offensive this is. I have tried to explain to them.
I don't know if I would classify it as "offensive" as I think of her as a "motherly" figure and maybe overly concerned about my welfare.
Well - I guess the question to ask yourself is why you feel bad after she speaks to you.
Once you understand what is making you feel bad - you will have taken power of that feeling and might have a clearer idea of the intention of some one telling you that you need to be forgiven when you think you do not.
I don't know what to say. Sometimes when she says that it makes me feel bad that I am not "complete" and sometimes I feel that since she is a lonely lady she must feel good being concerned about me like a mother(and praying for me). Does that answer your question?
I am not the one that needs to ask the question
And only you can answer it.
Why does it make you feel bad that she thinks you are not "complete"?
Ok I thought you were asking me to answer you (besides introspecting). Anyway the reason I feel in spite of trying to be a good daughter and a good wife I am still not "good enough" or my life is incomplete unless I accept"Jesus as my Lord and Saviour". I have nothing against her beliefs and just wish elders also respected our views.
I guess maybe it makes feel inadequate in some way hence I feel bad sometimes when she says those things but I am not feeling bad anymore(it was another one of my impulse posts).
Well, this too shall pass. Now ask yourself how your hypothetical 7 year old daughter will feel when she gets told the same thing....
Only you can allow yourself to feel bad when people say these things to you. Having said that - when you are bombarded with it, it is hard to cope with. I almost never watch TV any more because this is exactly the same marketing technique used by most ad companies.
Your hair is too gray, your penis is too small, your breasts are not firm enough, your home is in danger, your car is too old, that brand of footwear is out-dated, you are inadequate if you do not accept Jesus christ as your personal savior.
Being aware of it and why it makes you feel bad is the first step in dealing with it.
Thanks for a wonderful lesson on introspection. And I never pondered over TV ads and now I will try to be a bit more discerning. I know I will have to deal with lots of issues being first generation immigrant parent and hopefully do a good job of it too. Thanks for taking so much time to sort out my issue.
Tell her Jesus supposedly came to India and learned about god.
Jesus visit to India is still debatable and more ever she is elder to me and I don't like to be confrontational to elders.
Truth is all powerful and then it doesn't make a difference who is in front of me.You are too polite and I guess nothing is going to change for you with her
Try showing her the similarities with Hinduism and Christianity, you will only be helping her in getting a better understanding of the spirit.
Even if I do indeed know the "truth"(which I don't) will the truth make in roads if I don't know when and how to say it? I do try to avoid religious topics as much as possible with her. FYI I am only officially Hindu but I am way too skeptical about many things and consider myself agnostic now. Good Night.
Okay good night which part of the world are you in?
If you feel that you are an agnostic then dealing with such situation should not be so big a problem. Well fine I do understand that you really respect elders a lot (I do that too) but don't you think there is a limit to everything. You get respect only if give some. It is not a one way road and just because she is very senior to you does not mean she can keep hurting you while you take all responsibility of maintaining good relationship between you two. I am not asking you to be rude and speak to her bluntly but then a line has to be drawn. You have to speak, how? That you only have to figure out.
And yes please don't tell her that you are an agnostic or else get ready for some big lectures and headaches. I too am an agnostic and I never hide that from anyone. I am what I am but I really had some difficult time with all believers. I had to write a Hub dedicated to my experience.
BTW, I hope your problem is solved but for that you have to speak because it looks like the old lady is in no mood to care about your feelings.
Seems like ignoring her won't work. If I were you, I'll talk to her to stop harassing you and to mind her own business. Be honest with her, try to tell her she's hurting you for being judgmental.
I mean otherwise she is a nice lady and sometimes she even gives me home made cookies. And I sincerely think she doesn't realize that she is being "judgemental" and in advanced years people tend to get hurt much more easily too. I guess I will have to try somehow to explain politely although I don't know how.
If she keeps it up after you try THAT, you can say, "Why are you saying these things to me?" and if she answers with some such thing about your soul or your niceness or whatever, ask another question, "How is that your business?" Then walk away.
Repeat as necessary.
Well she is a motherly figure and I can't imagine talking to someone who is even older than my mother like that. Well next time when I run into her I will try to tell her that it makes me feel bad and I will take it from there.
PS: Thanks for the wonderful advice as always
A few years ago, I had the same problem. An extended family member was harassing me to do things her way. I love her very much, but it got to the point that I couldn't continue on living that way and felt bad that all along I've been lying to her, acting as if nothing's wrong, that everything's fine, when it was not. So, I invited her to my house one time and we had a "heart to heart" talk. I told her gently where I was coming from, she understood. Our relationship progressed fine after that.
I know you will handle it beautifully. She's probably lonely, and when she sees how it bothers you, hopefully she will stop.
I hate to see people taking advantage of you, but you're so nice. I can't imagine she can keep it up once you talk with her.
You are right about her being lonely. And she once told me her life 's journey which was filled with so many problems and she said "thanks to God she found peace at last". Yes, I will try to explain that it makes me feel bad. Thanks Pam and I feel better already. I guess I was just ranting a little bit
Some times we need to be reminded that only God can judge us just tell her when it's time God will tell you. try to remind her that you don't have to go to church to build a relationship with god be blessed
Mohit- Will convey your compliments
BlackButterfly- Thanks for your blessings
Pam- Indeed I was a little tired and wanted to just relax (and ranting certainly helped a little bit)
...to many, this woman is a rant, a disturbance or even an intruder but she might be sent just to rescue your soul from an unending disaster to come soon,we don't know when. Please don't shout or make troubles with that woman, she is up to something good for you, unless... Goodmorning to you all!
Good Morning to you too. Thanks my friend for wishing the best for me but for now I prefer to lead my life the way I choose to(hope you understand).
I know you always have the best intentions for me
Like you always wished me too. Remember that you are the one that shaped me here on hp? Thank you.
Like you always wished me too. Remember that you are the one that shaped me here on hp? Thank you.
Like you always wished me too. Remember that you are the one that shaped me here on hp? Thank you.
I can't answer that question, just figure it out yourself, i have learnt not to offend people by my posts and comments, courtesy of Countrywomen, thanks CW!
I still wonder why Christianity that originated from the West is dieing so fast there, does it mean it is a false religion?
Do you consider present day Israel being part of "west"? And FYI Christianity is alive and doing well in US (I studied in Midwest and I know from personal experience). And again in matters of beliefs there never ever will be unanimity. And using terms like "false" religion or only "true" religion further complicates the issue. My take is as many people are there so many beliefs/views would be there. Let us all learn "to live and let live" after all we are humans first before any of these labels being attached to us.
I am praying to God
"Oh! God save me forever.If I have done any mistakes in past please forgive me..Whatever punishment you are giving me please stop doing that..I am very sweet girl n never done something bad..So JINDAGIKO SAVARDE MOLA......"
PP- That's Hindi.
Jindagiko = Life
Savarde= Improve(set right)
God improve my life
PS: Thanks for your thoughtful response earlier.
Mein Hindi bahut aachi tadah se janta hu par ye kuch jyada he sudh tha!!
WOW!! Your Hindi is too good. Btw it has a little bit of Urdu too hence not "shudh" (pure) Hindi. Btw it is "tarah" instead of tadah.
Sorry CW I beg to differ here that it is in fact tadah and not tarah. Wish I could type in Hindi here, I would have proved you wrong but if we start talking too much Hindi here then people will complain as this is an English forum.
Aur ha mere naam pe mat jaao as rightly said "What's in a name?"
You are burning out your negative karmas- look at it in a positive way- I do
Maybe you're feeling bad because somewhere deep inside you her words are being engrafted. They all it THE CONVICTING POWER OF THE HOLY SPIRIT. Right now, I sound as religious as hell too, right. I like this old neighbour of yours. She reminds me of these old time religious fanatics. And they're awfully nice too. They'll give you a cookie with one hand,and smack you with a bible with the other hand.
Hi countrywomen! I know the feeling you are talking about in your opening post. I have a friend I love dearly, but I have asked her not "pray for me" as I do not believe in Christianity, and find it offensive that she refuses to accept my personal beiefs (which are basically that my inner strength comes from with ME, not from some omnipotent force I must appease). I know your feelings were not as strong as mine, and that you have vented, but I do wish those who would puch their beliefs on others would just stop it. I have tried most churches, and have been left cold. I don't want to bear all the guilt for life's problems that visit themselves upon me, and then when I resolve them, have to give the glory to said omnipotent force. I don't like, or want the judgemental outlook of traditional Christianity. Any person with common sense will live by standards similar to those of the Ten Commandments, without fear of a fiery afterlife. I feel spirituality is a personal issue, and should remain that way, not something that is forced on everyone who crosses your path. I empathize with your frustration over this.
After I posted a comment yesturday I though about you all day. I use to go through the same thing with my grandmother and I realized that some people don't realize what they are doing, they don't know any better. To speak to and push you into her beliefs or her life is a motherly instinct,in that she made you feel like a child being scorn.Peace be still your first thoughts when she said what she said is how you should express it if you don't want to hurt her feelings try putting it in a card some people may need a spoonful of sugar to help the medicine go down.
As a non-religious person, I have encountered many "Christians" who want to convert me to their way of thinking. The things they said used to bother me, particularly the "I'll pray to God to forgive you for this sin..." thing. Ugghhh. I used to take care of one elderly woman who was genuinely distressed that I would not join her in heaven. She truly felt grief that she would never see me again after she died. Yikes!
Nowadays I feel a bit more practical about it, and I'm able to thank such a person profusely for her prayers. For one thing, if God really does care about the whole born-again, go to church, yada yada thing, then I need her prayers in order to have a shot at heaven (if it exists). So let her pray! It makes her feel good and it might just save me from an eternity of hellfire and damnation.
Secondly, it totally spoils her fun when you thank her for praying for you. Since a statement like that ("I'll pray for your forgiveness") is blatant manipulation that demonstrates an over-developed sense of self-importance as well a keen ability to throw out guilt trips, saying "thank you" deflects it and leaves her feeling unsatisfied. Which eventually causes her to knock it the h*ll off, since it's not satisfying or fun any more.
I also like PGrundy's formula: When you ____, I feel _____. I want you to _____. Nice!
Maguijo- Thanks for your advice and also Pgrundy indeed has wealth of wisdom to offer.
Blackbutterfly- I agree we need to mix the bitter with the sweet for the pill to be swallowed.
JadedPoet- Thanks for the empathy. And I will see what I can do. I will let you folks know whenever I have "that" talk next time.
countrywomen, I know the feeling that you're talking about. It's one of the reasons why I think I wind up "pandering" when I feel confronted about religion: I would hate to think that I made anyone feel the way that many Christians once made me feel.
This woman is misguided: God doesn't need to forgive you for your lack of believe in Jesus. As far as I know, not believing isn't a sin. I'm sure that what she meant was that she would pray for your salvation and that you would find Him.
Coming from someone like me (a Christian, that is), this is intended as a compliment. "I care about you and therefore I want you to find the happiness that I have found in Christ Jesus." To someone like you (someone not a Christian), it comes across as condescending and ultimately rude.
I completely respect your feeling of not wanting to stand up to this woman as your elder. I wish that more of us in the Western world were raised that way. We are going downhill fast with regard to basic respect and human courtesy. You are very gracious, and a kind woman. A role model
Mark is right, however: you have control over your feelings. It is often very difficult to take the bull by the horns (so to speak) and control the direction of our emotions but it can be done. This woman doesn't mean to be condescending (even if she comes across that way). Knowing that may or may not help you to take control -- that depends a great deal on individual personality.
I would like to honestly add here that as a Christian, I do *not* (big emphasis on not) believe that I am superior or better than anyone else. To state that one is praying that God will forgive your sin is to imply superiority -- that grates on me a lot. Jesus himself said that we should not point out the speck in our brother's eye when we are ignoring the log in our own.
Please don't feel obligated to extend your friendship to this woman. It is unfortunate that she is lonely, but you are not obligated to her. Having entered into marriage, I feel that it is best that you respect your husband's wishes and put him before this woman -- I personally believe you'll both be happier that way!
Sorry this was so long! Argh!
EM- Thanks for your kind words. I hope you didn't feel bad about my earlier posts in another thread (and I apologized for the same). Yes my husband indeed is very important but she has been my neighbor for more than 2 years(and as far as possible I don't like to let go of old relationships). I will try my best to politely discuss this with her. Thanks a lot for your concern. Have a great day.
countrywomen: I don't feel bad, and I appreciate it. I only know it's safer for me to not get involved in debate as I tend to get my feathers ruffled more easily than most.
LOL no, countrywomen! You are very respectful and I really enjoy reading what you have to say!
Oh dear god, what in the name of god is your neighbour trying to do to you. You are too kind to be true ya sometimes it becomes even more difficult to state the facts and say what you feel. Agreed she is a motherly figure but telling her in the right and affirmative tone will set things right and in place for her. Hope that it all gets settled.
Well i will have to pray for her so that she gets forgiven for putting a sweet gal like you into this difficult situation.
That's actually kind of what I was thinking!
You guys should phone her up and tell her you are doing so
Taste of her own medicine, Mark?
Oddly, I guess I tend to think like that! Shame on me, it's not very nice, is it?
Nice is not a word in my vocabulary. I don't know whether pointing out people's faults is good or not. I guess you could say you were helping her to grow and be a better christian?
Or you could find you are talking to a brick wall.
Thanks everyone for your kind words and suggestions. I would try to avoid a confrontation but politely convey that I feel bad when she says those things to me
Hello. Well this is my first posting reply and just cannot resist! Here's my nickle, please read my hub for explanation: We always have a choice: is your glass full or empty today? See it as full and you will be able to 'spill over' into this other woman's life with good thoughts and actions.
See her as: kind, caring and wanting to share herself, which is giving away her prayers and wishing the best to/for you! Say: Thank you and mean it; she has taken an interest in you, which is rare in a busy, busy world.
And tell her that you 'pray' for her well-being too, and do that!
Do not be out of sorts about what could be interperted as an 'empty' offering of forgiveness. She doesn't have to worry about your need for that; she CANNOT judge wheather you even HAVE A NEED for that. She may think she can but she needs enlightenment about that point.
Remind her--GENTLY--that Christians are instructed to love others, not judge them...and tell her that you care for her well being. Then go along your Own return path to God! Hope you find a bit of help herein...still Yowling!
Countrywoman - here is some advise from one in advanced years. Tell her you now pray to Jesus that she will leave you alone.
Even if I lie it wouldn't be sufficient since she would then keep expecting me to also visit the church and meet her friends. I went once and it was mostly elderly folks (and I am not particularly looking forward to another similar experience).
Countrywoman, you are just so darn sweet. I was just making fun.
Maybe you could tell her that you are Hindu (if you are) and how that is very important to you, it is your religion.
Certain Christian sects believe that 'selling' the religion is part of the religion, that they have to do this. We have a couple of them across the street but they are very nice and only occasionally pester but that seems like a kindness.
This neighbor of yours is starting to sound like a nutcase.
I should have known better that you were pulling my leg.
Come on please don't call her a "nut case" which even my husband sometimes mentions about her like that. She is an elderly lonely woman (and maybe all she needs sometimes is a patient ear to listen to her). Btw I am officially Hindu (but not very religious).
If I were you, I would tell her I believe the Bible is disrespectful to god and you don't want to burn in hell with her. JK, Just tell her you ain't down.
Countrywoman. I am older than your neighbor and would not appreciate it if somebody decided I was nutty and obnoxious due to age. I would rather have them think me just plain crazy!
She is a pest and should be put in her place. She had her say now she should just shut up. In her 50's is not old enough to get away with anything.
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